Fingers have pointed to the direction of a former Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, and former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Prof. Ibe Kachikwu, as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is still in search of a Minister in the oil and gas sector.
Reasons for this are not far-fetched. During his days, as the head of the crucial sector, Kachikwu championed and executed the repricing of refined petroleum products and indeed as at then removed the subsidy.
The Nigerian populace were very accommodating of his steps then because it stopped the fuel shortages almost instantly. More importantly, it dramatically transformed the balance sheet of federal income returns and probably was the singular act that saved the country from the looming financial crises the Government faced in 2015.
However, the country is presently at a juncture where the price modulation policy that was part of the product repricing introduced, is choking Nigerians. This is why stakeholders in the sector are begging for Kachikwu’s appointment.
Prof. Ibe Kachikwu’s position on the subsidy removal policy of the current government is that it is the right policy action. On assumption of office as NNPC’s GMD in 2015, the former President had asked him to re-position the operational direction of the corporation by tackling problems such as poor profitability index; loss of business transparency and focus and its poor perception.
Kachikwu, a former ExxonMobil vice chairman graduated from the Nigerian Law School with First Class honours. He emerged “best student” at Harvard University, where he did his master’s degree with specialisation on Energy and Petroleum Law and Investment.
Prof. Ibe Kachikwu is a law graduate from the University of Nigeria Nsukka and Nigerian Law School,” the article read. “He bagged First Class degree in Law and was best graduate and multiple awards winner from both Institutions.
He bagged a Masters in Law (LLM) with special focus on Energy and Petroleum Law and Investment and a Doctorate Degree with specialization on Petroleum and Investment Law Strategies from Harvard Law School, USA where he was the best graduate with Distinction and in the process set a record time for completing Doctoral Thesis.”
In tackling the challenges, the Minister in the 11 months as NNPC GMD, he was able to cut operational losses; deregulate the country’s downstream petroleum sector; initiate a creative means of meeting the corporation’s Joint Venture (JV) contributions; ensuring that the Corporation meets its statutory payments to the federation account among others.
He focused on getting the refineries to work at all cost because that will ensure long term product delivery and stable pricing sustainability. In this it was and still will be important that government refineries are positioned to compete with private refineries and provide regulatory agencies with pricing data to check profiteering.
The former Minister’s acclaimed revolutionary achievements in the Oil and Gas sector of Nigeria can be attributed to deliberate collegiate system of administration and not an achievement singly brought about.
No doubt, the former Minister got a vibrant support from the former President, Permanent Secretary, Heads of Agencies, Directors of the Ministry, his Advisers and Assistants.
In or out of govt, he has always been around as a support voice and advocate for the best way to go in the Oil and Gas sector. As the Minister of Petroleum Resources led transparent policies, which produced no queues at fuel stations, consultations and peace in the Niger Delta with attendant increases in the barrels of oil produced for the international market, bringing respect to Nigeria’s position in OPEC and the World’s Oil and Gas sector and more.
Prof. Kachikwu’s expertise supported by the Technical Advisers and Assistants he brought to the Ministry revolutionized the work delivery of the regular staff of the Ministry.
Prof. Ibe Kachikwu came to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and impacted not only policies and programmes but persons and work processes and will be missed even for the temporary exit from the Ministry.
Kachikwu undertook deregulation at the time nobody thought was possible and if there is anything he left for the industry, it must be the legacy of that deregulation.
Under Kachikwu, the evidence of the turnaround that was recorded in NNPC in the 11 months he was at the helm of affairs was the fact that the Corporation recorded a profit of N270 million in May, 2016 for the first time in many years.
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper