The debacle between the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and Dr. Maikanti Baru, GMD, NNPC with the attendant salient issues of corruption and administrative lapses must not be sacrificed under the altar of political expediency, the Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has said.
“We have followed the events that have been generated by the letter written by Kachukwu to President Muhammadu Buhari on “matters of insubordination and lack of adherence to due process perpetuated by Baru”, and before the dust settle we want to oppose any attempt to sweep the core issues raised in the letter and response of Baru under the carpets.” Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of CACOL said while stating the position of the Centre.
“While we appreciate the President’s role in interceding, we consider the issues thrown up in the episode as grave. It is a situation that logically requires thorough investigations by the relevant anti-corruption agencies with a view to establish their veracities basic on the economic sensitivity of our oil sector.
“The altercation between the duo of Kachukwu and Baru, with the way the drama is playing out, this is no clear indication that this saga will not go the way some similar cases appear to have apparently gone. Nigerians were treated to a part of the ‘cover-up’ show in the name of reconciliation at ongoing National Economic Summit yesterday in Abuja where Kachukwu and Baru were posing for media cameras.
“The President is quite aware of that there are backlog of cases involving public officials; both elected and appointed that has not been resolved. And as these cases pile up, the more the Federal Government’s fight against corruption led President Buhari loses credibility.
“Unresolved cases bordering on corruption, misconducts and abuse of due processes involving high profile public officials still litter the ground and they are not indications pointing to their resolutions. That the cases of Babachir Lawal, suspended Secretary General of the Federation, SGF, Lt. Gen Abdulrahman Dambazau, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai etc. remain unresolved judicially is totally distasteful, so the President must take decisive steps to ensure that this episode is immediately investigated and those in comatose’ should be reactivated pursued to legal and logical conclusions.”
Adeniran consequently, we called on the President to immediately give directive to appropriate anti-corruption agencies and other security agencies for the commissioning of a comprehensive investigation of the allegations that border particularly on corruption and the administrative lapses.
He said “with what was revealed about the oil sector in their altercations are similar to the tradition that has characterized the management of our petroleum resources prior to the coming of the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress FG, a government with a ‘serious’ anti-corruption agenda. All hands must be on dock to halt the tendencies that sustained corruption in NNPC.
“Prior to this time, specifically on 13 September, 2017, CACOL had made a call to President in an open letter to make changes in his cabinet; Kachukwu was one of the topmost on the list of names we recommended to be sacked including Raji Fashola and Kemi Adeosun. Thus we are we once again reiterating the call for Kachikwu to be sacked or asked to resign.”
“There are no concrete achievements to showcase 2 years after the inauguration of this government, by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources under the superintending Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu. All the lofty promises of performance including making the refineries functional within 6 months and building of new ones given by the Minister at the assumption of duty has fallen flat on their faces, just as Nigeria sadly still import refined petroleum products. At this rate, the situation will persist till this tenure lapse, which will be totally unfortunate and unacceptable.”
“Quintessentially, we also reiterate our call on the President to relieve himself of the position of the Minister of Petroleum Resources immediately. This is to allow him to concentrate fully on the wholesome administration of the government. This clearly needs be done conscientiously against the background of a National Assembly that apparently lacks diligence in its oversight functions preferring the mundane for the significant, it becomes expedient. Buhari should concentrate energy on supervisory roles over all Ministries and the Presidential leadership of the country while a substantive Minister is appointed for the Petroleum Resources Ministry.”
In concluding and speaking on Baru, CACOL’s Chairman said, “the apparent personality clash in the saga is not as important as the business of the NNPC. Statutorily, the NNPC boss knows who he should report to. If the allegations leveled against him are confirmed, then he may be punished. But as long as the job gets done, the person he reports to should not be made a sentimental issue.”