Although the sack of Engr Andrew Yakubu as the group managing director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), at the weekend, took him and his top management unawares, the Presidency took the decision when Yakubu's successor was appointed group executive director in April 2014, LEADERSHIP has learned.
Industry sources confirmed to LEADERSHIP that the working relationship between the petroleum resources minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and Yakubu had been frosty for nearly a year, leading to the recall of the new GMD from retirement to be appointed GED (exploration and production) in April this year. "Dr Joseph Thlama Dawha was on terminal leave when he was recalled to take office as the group executive director, exploration and production of NNPC, in April 2014," a source stated. The source further claimed that those who were privy to the goings-on were not surprised by Dawha's appointment because they knew that Yakubu's days as GMD were numbered.
NNPC staff and industry operators told LEADERSHIP that Yakubu's exit may be connected to his principled stance on transparency and accountability in NNPC operations and his position on retaining the scarce trained manpower in the industry instead of prematurely retiring them.
ĹEADERSHIP gathered that Yakubu disagreed with the minister over modalities for accelerating passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill. While the former GMD encouraged town hall meetings in Lagos and Abuja by civil society organisations, concerned citizens and industry experts to vigorously canvass quick passage of the bill, the minister was reported cold to this approach.
The new GMD, Dawha, is from Borno State. He had also worked as the managing director of Integrated Data Services Ltd (IDSL), a subsidiary of the NNPC.
Similarly, Muoneke , who is the new managing director of the NPDC, is from Anambra State. He recently resigned from the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) where he served as the executive director, finance and administration.
Muoneke was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985 and has over 29 years' experience at both local and international levels in the oil and gas as well as the energy and power sectors.
The erstwhile GMD, Yakubu, was appointed in June 2012 with a new group executive management team. He took over from Oniwon, who retired after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 60 in 2011.
Yakubu was the 15th NNPC boss. He is a 1979 graduate of Chemical Engineering from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, and joined NNPC 34 years ago.