Barring last minutes change of mind, President Bola Tinubu is considering appointing, Ms. Olu Verheijen, Special Adviser on Energy to President Tinubu or Gbenga Komolafe as Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum company limited (NNPC limited) according to Imran Muhammad on X (Formerly Twitter) with knowledge of the plan.
This claim has however been given weight by the swift rebuttal of TheWhistler.ng, an online media platform that has always acted as “independent Public Relation platform”, used to defend and promote the media image and interest of Mr. Kyari’s NNPCL.
President Tinubu’s administration has made significant changes in the Nigerian oil and gas sector since his inauguration on May 29, 2023, including the removal of the petrol subsidy, a massive shake-up, forced retirement, and sack of some high-ranking NNPCL officers.
These are a part of broader reforms by the new administration to shore up the struggling finances of Africa’s largest oil exporter.
The NNPCL under Mr. Kyari’s leadership has a history of unremitted revenue to the federation account. The GCEO has faced criticism for its unaccountable and uncoordinated management, with several years of making zero remittances to FAAC, unpaid debts, and claims by the GCEO that the country owes NNPCL.
Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in its recent report claimed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and 13 other agencies allegedly failed to remit $9.85 billion in revenue to the federation account in 2021.
NEITI particularly mentioned that the NNPC did not remit $2 billion to the federation account in 2021 before transitioning to a commercial venture.
The report further showed that the NNPC failed to remit $1.95 billion (8.47%) of the total revenue realized in 2021 to the federation account..
The Senate, last week, threatened to sack and jail, Mele Kyari, GCEO of NNPCL and other top directors for failing to appear to make themselves available at an interactive session organized by the panel to discuss the over N12 trillion that has been spent on Nigerian refineries’ Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) projects, since 2010.
A source is who is also privy to the plan to remove Mr. Kyari has also blamed the NNPCL GCEO for not showing any sign of attempting to level up and make a concerted effort in the affairs of the national oil company beyond rhetoric and image-making being carried out by TheWhistler.ng and others.
He further mentioned that Kyari has long maintained the typical attributes of a poor manager who is always seeking legitimacy even when there is nothing to justify his continued stay in the office under the present administration.
Mr. Olufemi Soneye, Chief Corporate Communications Officer at NNPC Ltd, is not available to respond to Imran Muhammad’s claim about the plan to replace Mr. Kyari, as he has been unreachable to the media since he was confirmed as replacement for Mr. Garba Deen Mohammed in October 2023.
Imran Muhammad, a well-known figure on X (formerly Twitter), has claimed in a post shared on Sunday that President Tinubu plans to appoint either Mrs. Olu Verheijen or Engr. Komolafe as a replacement for Mr. Kyari.
Mr. Muhammad is known for his high accuracy in claims related to past and present administrations.
However, THE WHISTLER, known for its regular media PR for the NNPCL, swiftly rebutted Imran Muhammad’s claim, stating that he displayed inconsistency by naming two different people as potential replacements for the NNPC Limited Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari.
The unofficial NNPCL spokesmedia emphasized that there is no such plan by the President, citing findings that revealed the President is not contemplating such a move.
It claimed that Presidency sources confided to them on Sunday night that the President is not considering such a decision.