By Jimmy Lace, Warri

Engr. Andrew Yakubu, new NNPC MD

Engr. Andrew Yakubu, new NNPC MD

THE Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) has hailed the recent change in the management structure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and lambasted Labour Leaders on their position on the matter.

President Goodluck Jonathan had on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 sacked the NNPC board including the former Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr. Austin Oniwon and three Group Executive Directors. The President then appointed Mr. Andrew Yakubu, an engineer to replace Oniwon.

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This development did not go down well with the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Petroleum and Natural Gas Worker Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) and some Civil Society Groups on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 condemned the frequent change in the leadership of the NNPC. According to them, this would not allow for stability in the oil sector.

TUC President-General, Comrade Peter Esele, described the sack of the NNPC board as “another change in the usual musical chair” at the helm of the national oil company.

PENGASSAN President, Comrade Babatunde Ogun on his part said the “incessant” changes in the management leadership of the NNPC will affect the ongoing reforms policy in the industry.

But Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change in a statement by its President, Nelly Emma; Secretary, John Sailor and Public Relations Officer, Stanley Mukoro said President Jonathan did the right thing in sacking the NNPC board including the former GMD, Mr. Oniwon, noting that the appointment of Mr. Yakubu is the best thing to happen to NNPC at this time.

Former MD of NNPC, Austen Oniwon

Former MD of NNPC, Austen Oniwon

The group flayed Labour for not seeing reason with President Jonathan in doing what he did and called on all and sundry to support the new GMD, Mr. Yakubu and his team.

The statement read in part, “The sacking of the NNPC board, including Mr. Oniwon is a welcome development; President Jonathan should not be condemned, rather he should be commended for taking the bold step; his action is for our national interest.”

“We have been disturbed over the issue of the rot in NNPC and we have been calling for the total overhaul of the corporation, now the process of that overhauling has started with the sacking of Mr. Oniwon and his team and our Labour Leaders should not entertain any fear that the new management may abandon the on-going Turn Around Maintenance and repair of the four refineries intended to put them back on stream to operate at their installed capacity. The new GMD of NNPC, Mr. Yakubu is not a stranger to the Corporation and so we are not expressing any fear that he will not deliver; the new GMD is up to the task ahead, he should be given the necessary support to succeed,” the group wrote.

While congratulating the new NNPC management team led by Mr. Yakubu, NDIMRC urged the team to move the Corporation to the next level and promote the Nigerian Local Content by encouraging indigenous Oil and Gas firms that have built capacity over the years as a result of their trust and hope in the Nigerian Content.

According to the group; “We believe in the capability of Mr. Yakubu and his team to deliver; he proved his worth while he was the Managing Director of the Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company (WRPC). He helped to bring back the WRPC to life when former President Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to sell it, he brought his experience to play in the affairs of WRPC without the refinery spending a kobo and this is why we are throwing our weight behind him because he is a professional to the core. He cannot allow NNPC to stay where it is today.”

They continued thus, “The new GMD and his team must work hard to improve on what is on ground and he should be determined to reinforce NNPC’s core values of transparency and accountability. Mr. Yakubu should give room to our indigenous firms to grow so as to reduce tension in the Niger Delta region and also want to remind you that other former Group Managing Directors have not be fair to the people from the Niger Delta region as they often threatened them with sack, but we are imploring you not to thread that path rather support Niger Deltans working n the Corporation by placing them in their rightful positions.”

The group also implored the new NNPC boss to see his appointment as a call to service, stressing that; “We urge Labour and all Nigerians to support Mr. Yakubu to succeed. The new GMD should know that President Jonathan who appointed him is not a partial man hence he appointed a man like him from Kaduna to head the NNPC and your appointment is the best thing to happen to NNPC at this time and so you must make good use of the opportunity as all eyes are on you right now.”