NNPC Restructuring: Confusion Rocks Corporation

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and GMD, NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and GMD, NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu

THE restructuring exercise at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is apparently causing confusion at the national oil firm as some of its officials seem not to know who they were meant to report to as of Friday.

It was gathered that the mild drama was because many of the corporation’s employees were taken unawares by the major overhaul in the firm’s organisational structure that was announced Thursday night.

The national oil firm, had late on Thursday, announced a major re-organisation of its management structure, which resulted in 54 new appointments.

Our correspondent had tried to conduct an interview with some senior officials of the firm on Friday as regards issues pertaining to the persistent petrol scarcity and the recently suspended industrial action by the employees of the NNPC, but could not do so as virtually none of those contacted were ready to speak on the issues.

It was learnt that the re-organisation at the firm affected most senior officials at the corporation and most of them had yet to fully settle down to perform their roles, while others said they could not speak as they were yet to know who to report to in order to get clearance before speaking with the press.

Some labour union members and employees of the firm told our correspondent that the re-organisation was causing apprehension among the workers.

“We know they have promised that they won’t relieve workers of their jobs, but the way things are going these days and the sudden announcement of re-organisation in the NNPC, make most of us jittery,” an official who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said.

The restructuring exercise at the NNPC by its Group Managing Director, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Thursday night gave rise to the appointments of new managers into the corporation, as well as the redeployment of units’ heads.

A notice from the Office of the NNPC GMD sighted by our correspondent in Abuja on Friday, stated that the heads of business and services units have been redeployed, adding that the exercise was part of the recent re-organisation of the NNPC.

Since last week, Kachikwu has been talking about the planned restructuring at the national oil firm, in a bid to make it a profitable venture.

This development resulted in a nationwide strike by key labour unions in the oil and gas sector – the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria.

The one-day industrial action heightened the scarcity of petroleum products across the country and also impacted negatively on electricity generation by power producers.

While the NNPC had assured that it was doing all it could to address the petrol scarcity, the corporation in the notice announcing the latest appointments, said the appointees would fill key positions and that some others were on secondments.

The notice read in part, “As part of the recent re-organisation of the NNPC, the management of the corporation wishes to formally announce the following appointments, redeployments and secondments into key positions.”

Some of the key appointments, as outlined in the notice under Group Executive Directors/Chief Operations Officer, include Bello Rabiu, Head of Upstream Division; Henry Ikem-Obih, Downstream; Anobor Kraga, Refineries; Saidu Mohammed, Gas and Power; Babatunde Adeniran, Ventures.

Others still under the GED/COO category are Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq, Finance and Accounts; and Isa Inuwa, Corporate Services.

Meanwhile, the National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Obasi Lawson, has said the ongoing restructuring of the NNPC will sanitise the petroleum sector.

Lawson, who was on a two-day visit to the Calabar unit of IPMAN, said the introduction of any new policy was likely to attract opposition, hence the strike by workers’ unions.

He expressed hope that the current fuel scarcity would soon end as the Federal Government was on top of the situation.

Lawson, who was responding to a plea by the commissioner to assist government in ensuring stability of fuel in the market, said the situation might improve in the next few weeks.

He said, “The fuel crisis is worrisome, but NNPC is engaging in a pragmatic move to end it. In the next one or two weeks, the situation will improve. What is happening in NNPC will help sanitise the sector.”