“Over the next five to six months, you will begin [to] see emerging a new NNPC,” Mr Kachikwu told reporters in the capital Abuja last week. Reforms are expected to cover corporate governance to revenue retention, which has become even more important amid lower oil prices
The administration has to strike a delicate balance when appointing the critical managers who oversee and regulate the activities of Nigeria’s most lucrative industry. The oil and gas sector provides more than 70 per cent of government revenues.
Rolake Akinkugbe, head of energy and natural resources at FBN Capital Limited, said the leadership had to be comprised of “those who are more technocratic and those who are more politically savvy”, who can negotiate and deal with bureaucratic obstacles.
“It’s possible there could be further changes,” she said, but for now “maintaining people who understand political navigation” is essential.
The challenge of installing the right mix of people has been evident this summer as Nigerians, foreign investors and governments await the announcement of Mr Buhari’s cabinet. He has said this will be in September, more than three months after he took office.
The president has already rejected several recommendations for important government postings on the grounds that they were not of the right calibre and were too familiar with the previous president’s practices, one person familiar with the matter said.
“[Mr] Buhari has a difficult political situation to navigate when it comes to the composition of key government bodies,” said Jean Herskovits, a research professor who has written on Nigerian politics for more than 40 years. “He shouldn’t underestimate how difficult this reform is going to be.”
| ● Emmanuel
Kachikwu, group managing director — a Harvard-trained lawyer, he was
previously executive vice-chairman and general counsel for US oil major
● Maikanti Baru, group executive director, exploration and production — an NNPC veteran who until several years ago was general manager of NAPIMS, the NNPC’s largest division, which manages the government’s investments in the upstream oil and gas sectors.
● Isiaka Abdulrazaq, group executive director, finance and services — another NNPC veteran with years of experience on the finance side of the company, not in oil or gas.
● Dennis Nnamdi Ajulu, group executive director, refining and technology — an engineer who has served in various roles within NNPC.
● Babatunde Victor Adeniran, group executive director, commercial and investment — holds a PhD in Geology from Justus Liebig University Giessen, in Germany, joined Total’s Nigeria subsidiary (then Elf Petroleum Limited, Nigeria) in 1992 and was most recently general manager for Total’s commercial operations.