In the new board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which re-composition was announced Monday, the entire south-east geopolitical zone has been neglected. Of the nine people named, none is remotely associated with the zone. Some initially believed the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance (a civil servant who could be moved anytime) is from the south-east. Wrong. It’s Mahmud Dutse.
The continued marginalisation of the south-east in the government of Muhammadu Buhari has angered many from the zone.
A statement signed by spokesman Femi Adesina Monday evening said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the composition of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as provided for under Section 1(2) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Act of 1997, as amended.
“The new board is composed of the following:
A. Chairman–Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum
B. Group Managing Director- Dr Maikanti Kacalla Baru
C. The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance; and
D. The following six persons:
1. Mallam Abba Kyari
2. Dr Thomas M.A John
3. Dr Pius O. Akinyelure
4. Dr Tajuddeen Umar
5. Mallam Mohammed Lawal, and
6. Mallam Yusuf Lawal.
“President Buhari urges the new board to ensure the successful delivery of the mandate of the NNPC, ‘and serve the nation by upholding the public trust placed on them in managing this critical national asset’.”
Even the south-south people have felt cheated because Dr Kachikwu has been removed as the group managing director of the NNPC and replaced with Dr Baru.
Ethnicity is a touchy issue in Nigerian politics, but it is alive and well in the country.