By K. A. Familoni, PhD
An Act to dissolve the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and to establish the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation empowered to engage in all commercial activities relating to the Petroleum industry and to enforce all regulatory measures relating to the general control of the Petroleum sector through its Petroleum Inspectorate department.
This is coming against the backdrop of power struggle between the NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr. Maikanti Baru and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu.
1st April 1977
Part I: Establishment of the Corporation
- (1) There shall be established a corporation by the name of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (hereinafter in the Act referred to as “the Corporation”) which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue or be sued in its corporate name.
(2) The affairs of the Corporation shall, subject to Part II of this Act, be conducted by a Board of Directors of the Corporation which shall consist of a Chairman and the following other members, that is-
(a) The Director-General, Federal Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;
(b) The Managing Director of the Corporation; and
(c) three persons to be appointed by the National Council of Ministers, being persons who by reason of their ability, experience or specialised knowledge of the oil industry or of business or professional attainments are capable of making useful contributions to the work of the Corporation.
(3) The Chairman shall be a Minister in the Government of 1979 No. 44 the Federation to be known and styled as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
(4) The supplementary provisions set out in the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect with respect to the tenure of office of the members of the Board (other than the Chairman), proceedings of the Board, certain duties of the members thereof and the other matters mentioned therein.
It is very clear from the provision of the NNPC Act(Part 1), quoted above, that the affairs of the NNPC shall be conducted by the Board of Directors, with a Chairman who shall be a Minister appointed by Mr. President.
It is irrelevant whether the Minister is Senior or Junior so long as he is a member of the Federal Executive Council.
In effect, by appointing the Minister of State as the NNPC Board Chairman, it is ultra vires for the GMD (who is also a member of the Board) to circumvent the Board and its Chairman in the conduct of the affairs of the NNPC.
By his appointment as Chairman, the President has delegated the authority of the Minister of Petroleum Resources to the Minister of State, as Chairman, with respect to the conduct of NNPC corporate affairs, simplicita.
All arguments to the contrary are futile and pure balderdash.
The GMD and his partners in the Presidency who have illegally constituted themselves into an Oil Cabal and usurped the authority and powers of the NNPC Board are guilty of economic crimes and sabotage and should be prosecuted by the EFCC without any delay or rigmarole. The War Against Corruption, Indiscipline and Economic Sabotage should have no room for such deliberately plotted illicit and corrupt behavior.
Mr. President must clean the Augean stable and save the reputation of the Presidency. The Cabal has been able to sidetrack the NNPC Board on the pretext that the President is the Petroleum Minister and is therefore the substantive Chairman of the Board. This pretext is false, self-serving and symptomatic of kleptocratic governance.
It is in the better interest of the country for the President to divest himself of the Petroleum portfolio and appoint someone from one of the major oil producing states as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.