Rumbles in NNPC over major changes

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Oil and gas stakeholder’s yesterday, faulted last weekend’s appointment and redeployments made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)  Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr. Maikanti Baru, stressing that due process was not followed before the announcement was made.

The NNPC boss had announced the appointment Mr. Ndu Ughamadu as Group General Manager,  Group Public Affairs Division, replacing Mr. Muhammed Garba Deen, who had been functional in that capacity since March 2016.

Ughamadu was coming back as NNPC’s spokesperson, 13 years after working in similar capacity in the organisation.

The negative stakeholders’ outburst came barely a fortnight after many alleged that NNPC management unilaterally adjusted the pump price of petrol at its retail outlets across the country from N141 to N145 per litre, without authorisation from the supervising ministry.

Commenting on the purported increase, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said, “First, I am not aware that the NNPC has increased price. I need to look into that. It is a bit of a surprise for me, because there are processes in doing this, if they have done that, it means they are doing it wrongly. Let me find out what the facts are,” he stated.

Daily Sun learnt that the NNPC boss in the latest changes in key management positiions also by-passed Kachikwu to get the President Buhari’s approval, a decision that did not go down well with the Minister and some of the affected staff in the corporation.

A source told Daily Sun that the changes, which the management said were in line with the realignment strategies of the organisation involved about 109 members of staff including Mr. Garba Deen, who has since been redeployed as General Manager, Communication Policy and Strategy.

A source in the NNPC said the realignment is designed to position the corporation as a world class state oil firm comparable to its peers across the globe.

Recall that in the last two years, the Corporation has had three spokespersons in quick succession, a development stakeholders say signals an uncoordinated approach of its media communication strategy.

‘‘I think something is wrong with the GPAD of NNPC. They keep changing the spokesperson. That tells me that they are not getting the right approach about their media communication strategy. I don’t want to believe this is politics related.

‘‘If someone that served in similar capacity 13 years ago could be brought back to mount the saddle, then that sends a wrong signal to both the internal and external publics of NNPC. And something should be done about this fast in order to stem this negative trend which I believe is not good for the image of the Corporation, said some stakeholders, who pleaded anonymity.

In April 2014, the NNPC had appointed ace broadcaster, Mr. Ohi Alegbe as its spokesperson. But by March 2016, he was named the Group General Manager (GGM), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and replaced with Garba Deen a former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).

The new spokesman had held the position under former Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mr. Jackson Gaius-Obaseki in 2002, but was relieved of his appointment by Funso Kupolokun, who replaced Obaseki in 2003.

Until his appointment, Ughamadu was the GGM, Government and Labour Relations, in the office of the GMD.

The new spokesperson had a long career in journalism. He was an economic analyst Management Group International, Lagos, 1982. Economic Reporter, News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) 1982-1993. Staff writer, Business Times, 1983-1986, Group Energy Correspondent Daily Times; 1986-1988, Business Editor, 1988-1990. Consultant, African Trade Promotions Organisation, Tangier, Morocco, 1991.  Advisor, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Lagos, since 1992.

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