Brazen perfidy and deep-seated hatred run through the rift narrative between the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, and Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
Despite concerted efforts by the presidency to thaw the ice between the two eggheads in the wake of a leaked memo by the former accusing the latter of blasé impudence and gross insubordination, recent revelations have proven however that there is no end in sight to their long-drawn face off.
Sources in the mafia-esque oil sector contend strongly that Baru particularly has spat into the air and swore that until Minister Kachikwu is removed from his exalted office, he would not relent. In the Ministry of Petroleum Resources where Kachikwu holds sway as Minister of State and by implication the supposed de facto leader of the Nigerian petroleum industry, his authority does not seem to carry as much weight as the paper used in passing his authority to his subordinates.
Forget Kachikwu’s grandstanding, braggadocio and public show of superiority, Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is in charge and would go to any length to communicate his assertiveness. This much is depicted at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2018.
TheCapital has exclusively gathered that the leadership and staff of the NNPC are presently at the conference in Houston, Texas, in flagrant disregard for Kachikwu’s alleged order that no NNPC staffer should attend the event. According to an insider, Kachikwu had said that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, which is the overseeing ministry of the NNPC and other sister corporations, did not approve attendance of the event. Though he is the chairman of the Board of the NNPC, it was not stated in what capacity he made the directive, which also asked the leadership of the NNPC to rather strive towards hosting the event. According to our source, “the minister must have been ill-advised to come up with such a memo. On this one, he acted in bad faith.
“If he had factored in the cost of hosting OTC in Nigeria to measure up to what is annually obtainable and internationally acceptable, he would not have suggested Nigeria hosting it at a time like this.
“OTC2018 is organised to commemorate it 50th anniversary; and Baru has been slated to play active role as one of the conference speakers. Events such as OTC are not organised within days, months of preparations and huge resources go into it. The GMD got to know he would be a speaker months ago. You don’t just wake up on wrong side of the bed one day and decide to cancel a programme planned for months.
“There is no doubt the minister has an axe to grind with the GMD who on the other hand is not ready to back down and allow him to be dictated to in a manner considered condescending. We all know the importance of attending OTC,” said our source which pleaded anonymity
Kachikwu and Baru have been waging cold war against each other for some time. Their cat and mouse relationship blew open when a memo written by Kachikwu to President Buhari leaked to the public. In the same memo, Kachikwu upbraided Baru for his insubordination, lack of respect for due process in contract awards, among other allegations that revealed animosity between the duo.
Baru retorted by countering the Minister of State in a manner that showed he had little or no regards for the man who handed over to him as GMD. It took the intervention of the President to nip the festering rumpus in the bud. With this new development, it is clear that the presidential truce brokered between the two was just for the camera as both of them are yet to sheathe their daggers but only waiting for the slightest opportunity to drive it into each other’s heart.
Source: The Capital