Prior to the announcement of the present Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Ibe Kachukwu, Nigerians eagerly awaited the president to bring in someone with shrewd knowledge of the oil and gas industry coupled with a man of integrity and transparency. However, the pronouncement of Kachikwu brought succor to the minds of industry players and Nigerians at large because of his uncommon experience and managerial knowledge in the industry. Kachikwu rose from nothing to something in the oil industry and later became the executive director of Mobil Oil Plc. It was at the point of his employment as the GMD of NNPC that Nigerians and indeed the Niger Deltans began to believe in the anti-corruption campaign of President Buhari due to the many rots that used to reign supreme in the oil sector.
On resumption of duties, Kachikwu met with the president and submitted his plans of action for the oil industry and pronto, Buhari gave him a go-ahead on his reports. The resultant effect of this was that some heads of departments who were perceived incompetent and perhaps corrupt were asked to go back to the labour market while some departmental heads were reshuffled to pave way for a cleaner NNPC. During this period of time, Niger Deltans were very appreciative of the president for seeing one of their sons as a befitting GMD for the NNPC and they were also full of joy in their hearts not knowing that the “once a soldier, always a soldier” president had other clandestine motives.
Information trending in the media for now has it that the ex-military ruler has changed gear on this matter by allegedly planning to appoint himself as the minister of petroleum while demoting Ibe Kachikwu, a man blessed with pedigree and astute knowledge of the oil industry to the irrelevant post of Minister of State for Petroleum. This post, of course reminds one of the position of vice presidents or deputy governors in Nigeria who are perceived as mere handbags to their superiors. The only benefit this group of people enjoys is that they are close to power but never enjoy any other befitting benefit like the president does.
In some segment of the society, it is believed that if Ibe Kachikwu is removed as the GMD of NNPC and demoted to the junior portfolio, his name would gradually go into oblivion in the minds of Nigerians and his relevance would also be questioned in the industry. We also gathered that the president is allegedly planning to replace Kachikwu with a Northerner and this move, if successful will definitely infuriate Niger Deltans who are of the opinion that for now, Kachikwu remains the only son of the soil that represents them in the Presidency. However, what is brewing in the minds of insiders is if President Buhari use and dump Ibe Kachikwu to attain some certain things in the NNPC, most especially the anti-corruption battle which he embarked upon immediately he assumed office as the GMD.
Well, some Niger Deltans are also of the opinion that they will not be surprised if the president eventually acts that way because the APC government views the Niger Delta zone as a PDP-controlled zone since the emergence of democracy 16 years ago. Are they insinuating that some politics are going on here? Only time will tell as your soaraway Global News will be updating you as events unfold.