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How Kyari Emerged 19th GMD of NNPC

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, 20th June 2019 confirmed the appointment of Mr. Mele Kolo Kyari, as the new Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Mr. Kyari until his appointment was the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD) of the corporation, and also doubled as Nigeria’s National Representative to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC since 13th May 2018.

A geologist by profession, Mr Kyari who hails from Borno state, succeeds the incumbent GMD, Maikanti Baru, who is due for retirement from the NNPC next month.

He is the 19th GMD of the National Oil Company and boasts of a profile of professional and service credentials

A crude oil marketer with prerequisite certification and outfield pedigree in Petroleum Economics and crude oil and gas trading, Mr Kyari has in the last 27 years, traversed the entire value chain of the Petroleum Industry.

Mr Kyari holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in Geology and Earth Science from the University of Maiduguri in 1987.

He did his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) with the Directorate of Foods, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) between 1987 and 1988.

Mr Kyari worked with the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency between 1988 and 1991, before joining the NNPC subsidiary, Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), where he worked as a Seismic Data Processing Geophysicist in the Data Processing Department.

In 1998 he was moved to the National Petroleum Investments Management Services (NAPIMS) – Exploration Geophysicist Production Sharing Contract (PSC) before becoming the Abuja Operations Manager of the NNPC in 2004.

The new GMD was Supervisor PSC, Crude Oil Marketing Department (COMD) of the NNPC in 2006. He became the Head of PSC, Crude Oil Marketing Department (COMD) of the Corporation in 2007 while in 2014, Mele Kyari became the General Manager, Production Contracts Management, Crude Oil Marketing Department (COMD).

His last position before he was recently appointed GMD was NNPC’s Group General Manager, Oil Stock Management, Crude Oil Marketing Department (COMD).

Mele Kyari is not related to Abba Kyari, President Buhari’s Chief of Staff. While the former is of Kanuri tribe, the latter is Shuwa tribe.

The NNPC said Kyari would be bringing to his new appointment, more than 27 years of experience in the Petroleum Industry. Also appointed were six Chief Operating Officers and Chief Finance Officer.

Mr. Roland Onoriode Ewubare, COO Upstream

Mr. Roland Onoriode Ewubare who hails from the South-South region of the Country and is appointed Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, was until his new appointment Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investments and Management Services, (NAPIMS), a Corporate Services unit of the corporation headquartered in Lagos. Before his NAPIMS’ appointment, he was Managing Director of the Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), a seismic data acquisition company of NNPC based in Benin. Mr. Mustapha Yinusa Yakubu hails from North Central region of the Country and is newly appointed as Chief Operating Officer, Refining and Petrochemicals. Until his new appointment he was the Managing Director of National Engineering and Technical Company Limited (NETCO). Mr. Yusuf Usman hails from North East and is Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power. Until his new appointment, Engr. Usman was Senior Technical Assistant to the Group Managing Director of the corporation. Ms. Lawrencia Nwadiabuwa Ndupu, from South East, is newly appointed as Chief Operating Officer, Ventures. She, until her new

appointment was the Group General Manager, NNPC Oil Field Services, established to provide technical services to players in the Industry. Mr. Umar Isa Ajiya, from North West region of the Country who holds the new position of Chief Financial Officer, was until his recent appointment, the Managing Director of Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) of NNPC, a Downstream arm of the corporation. Prior to holding the position as the Managing Director of PPMC, he was the corporation’s Group General Manager Corporate Planning and Strategy (CP&S).

Mr. Yusuf Usman, COO Gas and Power

Mr. Adeyemi Adetunji, who is from the South West region of the Country, holding the new appointment of Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, was until his new appointment the Managing Director of NNPC Retail Limited, a Downstream Marketing Company of NNPC. Prior to his position as the MD of the Downstream Marketing Company, he was General Manager, Transformation Department, a Think-tank unit of the corporation. Mr. Farouk Garba Said who hails from North West and holds the new position of Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services, was Group General Manager, Engineering and Technology Division of NNPC. Mr. Said would be taking over from the present occupier of the office who retires statutorily on 28th June, 2019.

Mr. President has directed that the new appointees work with the current occupants of the various positions between now and 7th July, 2019 towards a smooth transition on 8th July, 2019.

OPEC and NEITI describe new GMD’s appointment as well deserved:
While congratulating the new GMD, the OPEC Secretary General, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo described Kyari’s appointment as well deserved.

“On behalf of the Members of the OPEC Economic Commission Board (ECB) and the staff of the OPEC Secretariat, may I convey our sincere congratulations on your recent well-deserved appointment as Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

“We wish you every success in this important and challenging role and many years of service to NNPC and the country.

Mr. Adeyemi Adetunji, Chief Operating Officer, Downstream

“This appointment has come as no surprise and is a testament to your exemplary record and exceptional performance over the many years you have worked for NNPC in a variety of strategic roles.

“You have earned the respect of your colleagues in the ECB where you conducted yourself with gravitas and greatly contributed to the discussions and decisions of this body.

“May I conclude by wishing you good health, happiness and a long-life of service to our great industry, to NNPC and to the country. I trust you will remain a life long member of the OPEC family, and will continue to be involved in the activities of this great organization.

Also, in his congratulatory message, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mr. Waziri Adio described Kyari as a well known Transparency champion who shared the principles which underline NEITI’s work and the global EITI on good governance of the oil and gas industry.

“As a member of the global EITI working group on commodity trading transparency, Kyari’s appointment has placed him in a vintage position to push the frontiers of openness and to work more closely with NEITI and the global EITI,” Adio concluded.

The Powerplay behind the Scene:
Nigerians may have been surprised at the announcement that a new Group Managing Director, GMD, of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Mele Kolo Kyari has been appointed to take over from Dr. Maikanti Baru, who is scheduled to hand over on July 7, 2019.

Valuechain gathered that Baru who is due to retire by July, had prepared for it long ago by putting some of his trusted allies in strategic positions at NNPC, such as Engineer Yusuf Usman, the Chief Operating Officer, COO, Gas and Power, who until his appointment, was Senior Technical Assistant to Baru. Usman also hails from the North East, as Baru. Few months ago, Usman was sent to head the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, NPDC.

In the last few months, Baru was said to have bared his fangs against his perceived enemies who may likely replace him or get to higher positions in the NNPC. One of the victims was Engineer Rabiu Suleiman, Senior Technical Adviser to former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who was issued retirement letter on June 18, 2019. Engineer Suleiman who was sacked along with Ogechukwu Olufunmilola Modie, who worked as the Chief of Staff (an unconstitutional office) to Ibe Kachikwu. Mrs Modie also worked with the former minister when he was the Group Managing Director (GMD). It was gathered that the former minister confirmed her appointment as a permanent staff of the Corporation when he was the GMD.

While many viewed the quarrel between Suleiman and Baru as purely struggle for supremacy between the two erstwhile top ranking colleagues, it may not be unconnected with the frosty relationship that existed between the GMD and the former minister, where Suleiman was said to be an inner caucus member of Kachikwu’s team.

In her case, the former Chief of Staff was said to have stepped on many toes among whom are top management of the NNPC and the Ministry. “She was so over bearing and disrespectful in her dealings,” said a source within the NNPC Towers. Valuechain observed that both junior and senior staff of the ministry were unsympathetic to Mrs Modie’s ordeal. The situation, no doubt, brought about tension at the NNPC Towers, which made some to think that Baru was paving way for his favorite candidate to assume the position of GMD, since it had become glaring to him that he might not secure a tenure extension from Mr. President as was granted to the current military Service Chiefs.

Baru and Rabiu Suleiman are speculated not to be in good terms since Baru became GMD. That may have informed the reason why he posted Suleiman to Kachikwu’s office, the same fate he (Baru) suffered when Kachikwu was the Group Managing Director/Minister of State. During Kachickwu’s time too, he retired some of the Executive Directors so as to be in firm control of the Corporation.

Rabiu Bello Babura, the Chief Operating Officer, COO, Upstream was initially assumed by many to be the likely successor to Baru. The assumption was based on the COO’s closeness to the outgoing GMD. Off recent, Bello seemed to be the one representing the GMD in most of the major Oil and Gas events. It would be recalled that he recently represented Mr. Baru at the just concluded OTC in Houston, United States. Apart from that, Bello was a close confidant of the GMD as it was gathered that both of them performed this year’s Ramadan Lesser Hajj together in Saudi Arabia. President Muhammadu Buhari too performed the Lesser Hajj within the period that the two were in Saudi Arabia.

According to an unsubstantiated report, Dr. Baru is being positioned for the post of substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, which President Buhari is said to be ready to relinquish, while a South-Southerner will be the Minister of State.

Reacting to the change in management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the President of the National Association of Petroleum Explorers, NAPE, Mr. Ajibola Oyebamiji stated that NAPE has a lot of expectations from the new management. According to him, “the expectations include increase in Nigeria’s exploration activities, ensuring passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, frequent oil bid rounds, search for oil in the frontier-cretaceous six sedimentary basins, appropriate legislations and incentives for gas flare down and encouragement of more indigenous participation in the acquisition of blocks.

However, making clarification on the changes, the NNPC said that the new Group Managing Director, Mr. Mele Kolo Kyari, who takes over from Baru, effectively on 8th July 2019, is until his new appointment the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division of NNPC. Dr. Baru would retire statutorily on July 7, 2019.