…As GMD prunes aides
By Adewale Sanyaolu
THE dream over 500 staff of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to retire gracefully after attaining the mandatory 35 years in national service may soon be dashed as the gale of retrenchment sweeping through the organization may see them bid bye to its gates in the next few weeks, largely unprepared for that phase of life.
For many years NNPC was one of the best places to work in Nigeria because of its generous remuneration but today most of those to be retrenched in the unfolding drama may curse the day that brought them to the corporate.
The impending sack of the over 500 workers to be drawn from all NNPC subsidiaries is part of a renewed bid to clean up the corporation and position it for the challenges ahead.
NNPC has 13 subsidiaries which include the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC), Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), Port Harcourt Refining and Petrochemical Company (PHRC), Nigerian Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
Others are Nigerian Engineering and Technical Company (NETCO), Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), Hydrocarbon Services of Nigeria Limited (Hyson), Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), NNPC Retail, Duke Oil Services and NNPC Properties.
The reforms at the NNPC commenced about three weeks ago, with the sack of its Group Managing Director, Mr. Joseph Dawha, who was replaced by the Vice President, Exxonmobil Africa, Dr. Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu.
The corporation has over the years been discribed as a cesspit of corruption and riddled with inefficiency and the new GMD was mandated to put it on the part of sustainable growth.
Shortly after Kachikwu settled down to work, the President approved the sack of about eight Group Executive Directors (GEDs) and replaced them with four new GEDs, with the creation of four new directorates.
There is also the need not to retain disgruntled workers in an organisation primed for change and transformation as they can rock the boat.
But just last week, another shake-up carried out saw the sack of the chief executives of its subsidiaries and the retirement of about 38 management staff.
The latest move to send over 500 workers out of the system, according to a reliable source at the corporation, would affect all cadres of staff who are due for retirement from December this year and 2016. It is a decision that would see them proceed on forced retirement far ahead of their exit date from the corporation.
According to the source, panic has already enveloped the corporation and its subsidiaries as workers to be affected in the latest onslaught are worried that the policy will make them leave the service unprepared.
The first of such victim is the Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services Division, Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation (NPDC), Mr. Hamidu Namtari. NPDC is the exploration and producing arm of NNPC. He was billed to retire next year March, but has been asked to proceed on terminal leave, a decision that left him disgruntled.
The move to show Namtari the way out, according to the source, may not be unconnected with the appointment of Mr. Abubakar Mai Bornu as the chief executive of NPDC. Mai Bornu is far more junior to Namtari, who enlisted into the corporation in 1981 while Mai Bornu started his career in the Engineering and Technical Services Division (ETSD) of NNPC in September 1987.
Though there are still a couple of Mai Bornu’s seniors in NPDC, Namtari may have been sacrificed because he may not be willing to work under his subordinate being the most senior ED in NPDC, hence the decision to sacrifice him.
“Already, the appointment of Mai Bornu is generating tension in NPDC and NNPC as a whole. Besides being a junior colleague to most experienced hands, many believe he does not have the requisite knowledge to lead NPDC as he has never had upstream experience. “So, I don’t know how he will fit in here,” said an insider who prefers anonymity.
“He is just being favoured at the detriment of merit. He has worked with several MDs as Personal Assistant. And that may have been responsible for his latest appointment. But I am sure he does not have an idea of the workings at NPDC.
“NPDC as the cash cow of NNPC has been marginalised in all of these appointments. No single worker here was promoted in this re-organisation that is being carried out. We don’t know if this is deliberate.
“Check out all the list of appointments made in the last three weeks. NPDC is conspicuously missing and yet the company rakes in more than 70 per cent of the resources generated by NNPC,” the source noted.
“The GMD last week Thursday appointed 16 new Group General Managers to man some of its divisions but no one was promoted at NPDC. This lopsided appointment is capable of making workers function at cross-purposes with the intention of government.
“I just hope the President takes a second look at this and reverse some of these appointments in order to promote cordial working relationship among the workfoce,” the source reiterated.
And in line with the Federal Government’s aspiration to transform the corporation into a lean, efficient, business-focused, transparent and accountable national oil company in keeping with international best practices, Kachikwu has pruned down the number of his aides and fleet of official vehicles to fit into the mandate given to him.
Daily Sun learnt that the GMD met an office with 50 aides, 15 official vehicles and two houses. He has, however, decided to do way with the bogus number of aides and official cars to a reasonable number in line with his vision of prudent management of resources.
The GMD, since assumption of duty, has consistently said he sees his appointment as a serious national assignment that does not require frivolity.
But the corporation in a swift reaction decried attempts by a section of the media to politicize the recent appointments and retirements by imputing ethnic colouration to the exercise.
In a statement, released at the weekend,it clarified that the appointments were made with the express approval of President Muhammadu Buhari and in compliance with extant laws regarding federal character, while the retirement is without recourse to ethnicity or state of origin.
“The recent appointments, promotions, and retirements are all a part of the ongoing restructuring exercise aimed at repositioning the corporation into a lean, efficient, profit-driven organization in line with international best practices without regard to primordial sentiments” the statement said.
It however, advised the Nigerian public to discountenance any report aimed at denigrating the ongoing reorganization exercise in the corporation.
Source : SunOnline