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President Buhari appoints Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu as GMD NNPC and Professor Umaru Garba Danbatta as CEO of NCC.

After weeks of bated breath, President Muhammadu Buhari finally approved the appointment of Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

He formally took over from Dr. Joseph Dawha, who was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan last year, at NNPC’s head office in Abuja on Tuesday.
Talk of Kachikwu’s appointment was rife in the oil and gas industry for weeks, but the president was reported to have taken his time to do a thorough background check before approving his appointment.
Others considered for the job included Mr. Reginald Stanley, a past Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), who clashed with former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke over payments to NNPC for kerosene subsidy claims.
In addition to Kachikwu’s appointment, Buhari also approved the appointment of Professor Umaru Garba Danbatta as the new Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Danbatta replaces Dr. Eugene Juwah whose five-year tenure expired last week.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Kachikwu, who was the Executive Vice-Chairman and General Counsel of Exxon-Mobil (Africa), hails from Onicha-Ugbo in Delta State.
He is a First Class graduate of Law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the Nigerian Law School, where he was the best graduating student and multiple awards winner in both institutions.
The new NNPC chief executive also has Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Law from the Harvard Law School.
He started his working career with the defunct Nigerian-American Merchant Bank before moving on to Texaco Nigeria Limited where he remained for about eight years before joining ExxonMobil.
Kachikwu, who assumed duty shortly after the announcement on his appointment was made, expressed gratitude to his predecessor, Dawha, for his hard work in holding the corporation.
He also pledged to work assiduously in achieving the president’s growth aspirations for the oil and gas industry.
In addition to Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electronic Engineering and Telecommunications, the new NCC boss, Danbatta, holds a Doctoral degree in Electronic Engineering.
The new NCC CEO is a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and has had a meritorious career, during which he rose to become a professor of Electrical Engineering and Electronics at Bayero University, Kano, specialising in Telecommunications Engineering and Information and Communications Technology.
Before his new appointment, Danbatta held top management and leadership positions at different times including Head of Department, Dean of Faculty, Director, Centre for Information Technology, Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (Kano Branch), Deputy Vice-Chancellor and acting Vice-Chancellor.
His appointment is for five years in the first instance.
Reacting to Kachikwu’s appointment, stakeholders in the oil and gas sector yesterday lauded the appointment of a private sector-based professional to drive NNPC’s operations.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Emmanuel Iheanacho, Managing Director, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, called it a welcome development.
“While I congratulate him on his new appointment, I also urge him to reform the corporation and ensure it is corruption-free.
“The new man is a well known, experienced oil and gas captain of so many years; he will use his good experience to reform the corporation,” Iheanacho said.
Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo said that the era of impunity in the corporation was over, adding that the oil and gas sector would begin to experience a rebirth in the hands of a private sector-driven person.
Okoronkwo said: “That is the change the people had been clamouring for. Buhari understands the system and he is the man for the job”.
A source at NNPC told NAN that the appointment was a welcome development, adding that Kachikwu would address the issues of corruption and dubious accounting practices in the corporation.
The source said Kachikwu, who had been scheduled to perform a wider role, was a very well respected technocrat with an impeccable record.
The source said that the new GMD would be expected to use his vast experience to restructure the NNPC, pursue creditors and recover missing funds. He is also expected to reposition the NNPC into a world-class corporation, among other tasks.
But as Kachikwu assumed office on Tuesday, he was confronted with yet another report, this time by the New York-based Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), which claimed that Nigeria lost over $32 billion oil revenue due to the mismanagement of domestic crude allocations (DCA) by NNPC, as well as the opaque revenue retention practices and oil-for-product swap agreements signed between the corporation and some oil traders.
The report also recommended the overhaul of how NNPC sells its share of crude oil output to save billions of dollars in wasted and lost revenues.
About half of Nigeria’s 2 million barrels per day (bpd) crude output goes to NNPC. NNPC sells about half of that oil to its subsidiary Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) for the country’s refineries.
The poorly maintained plants are however unable to process the bulk of the oil and over the years this allocation has devolved into a “nexus of waste and revenue loss,” the report by NRGI, a non-profit body, said.
The other half of NNPC’s oil share is mostly sold to “unqualified intermediaries”, earning significant margins for little or no added value, rather than directly to the end-users, NRGI said.
A summary of the report signed by the Director of Communications of NRGI, Mr. Lee Bailey, which was made available to THISDAY, said: “Some buyers of this oil are unqualified intermediaries who capture margins for themselves while adding little or no value to deals.
“Several contracts, including oil-for-fuel swap agreements, are opaque and contain unbalanced terms, researchers found.”
Oil sales are Nigeria’s biggest revenue stream, but management has worsened in recent years, said NRGI
“By our estimate, just three of the problematic provisions in a single swap contract may have cost the government $381 million, or $16.09 per barrel of oil, in a single year (or over $1.9 billion between 2010 to date).
“The combination of a new government and the current budgetary shortfalls offers Nigeria its best chance in years for overhauling NNPC’s oil sales. The status quo is unaffordable,” said one of the authors of the report.
Bailey added: “Everyone from trading companies to Nigerian citizens is waiting to see how the new government will approach these transactions, including the allocation of new export or swap contracts. Our research maps the current state of play, and we suggest what issues reformers in Nigeria ought to urgently address.”
This is aside the fact that NNPC channelled Nigeria’s precious crude — worth $35 billion – to swap deals between 2010 and 2014, the recent OPAs containing unbalanced terms that did not efficiently serve Nigeria’s needs and interest.
NRGI said it sent couriered letters, faxes and e-mails to the NNPC and several of its subsidiaries, informing them of the report and asking detailed questions but they did not respond.
NRGI observed that the national oil company’s discretionary spending from domestic crude oil sale revenues has skyrocketed, exceeding $6 billion a year for the 2011 to 2013 period  (over $18 billion in three years).
Specifically, the NGO said in the report there was no evidence that NNPC, between 2004 and 2014, forwarded to the treasury any revenues from sales of Okono crude with volumes of over 100 million barrels, with an estimated value of $12.3 billion.
THISDAY last June had exclusively reported that the Department of State Security (DSS) had opened a probe into the crude oil swaps and offshore processing agreements (OPAs) entered into by NNPC and oil traders.
But the traders claimed that the probe was a witch-hunt instigated by one of their competitors in the industry and argued that swaps and OPAs were covered by irrevocable standing letters of credit for the value of the crude oil lifted or petroleum products scheduled for delivery to PPMC.
The traders also explained that a quarterly reconciliation process is carried out by NNPC to ascertain under or over-deliveries of product cargoes, following which refunds are made to the corporation or vice versa.
Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu
Professor Umaru Garba Danbatta

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