There is no denying the fact that the nation’s oil conglomerate, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had had more than its own fair share of bad management as far as government agencies in the country go.
In the days of the locust, the agency was run as a piggy bank of sorts where all manner of persons in and out of government helped themselves to the revenue accruing from oil sales.
The humongous amount of money that the immediate past management under Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke is said to have cornered into their private purses tells a reprehensible tale of graft and insensitivity to the plight of ordinary Nigerians who pined away in penury and deprivation while a few corrupt individuals with access to the invaluable resource had a field day.
In those days no one knew for certain how many barrels of oil where extracted from the wells, the quantity that was sold, how much was paid into the treasury if at all and how it was utilized. There was a pervasive conspiracy of silence which provided a conducive environment for transparency and accountability to be insanely trampled upon.
The world lamented on behalf of Nigeria. Non governmental agencies like Transparency International and the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) raised the alarm at the malfeasance with nobody paying any attention at all.
But all that has changed for the better since the President Muhammadu Buhari administration assumed the saddle of leadership with a clear and resolute policy to sanitize the corporation that had been turned into the proverbial Aegean Stable.
Specifically, the present Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, as soon as he took over the mantle of leadership, keyed into the anti corruption mantra of the president.
But because of the level of rot in the system, some difficult to please highly placed persons are still not impressed by the profound job the Baru team is doing. They are even suggesting that only Angels can clean up the mess in the oil industry. But that in our opinion is a fallacy because Angels do not run human institutions. Human do. It is important to point out that it will take a while to put the corporation on the path of transparency and accountability. It is pertinent in our opinion to stress that already a legal framework that will bring this about is studiously being put in place. It is a fact the NNPC is collaborating with the National Assembly to ensure that sanity returns to the industry.
For the first time, under Baru, the corporation is run as a business enterprise to secure the entitlements of the federation to ensure that at the end of every morning Nigerians know how much volume the corporation will be entitled to, and that’s a very tedious process.
Because of the management processes introduced by Dr Baru, it is now possible to know the cost of operation, who is producing what, what are the leakages that are in the system, how much progress and losses there are.
We find disturbing the comments by some persons formerly in a position to know but who now still carry on even out of office with the misplaced swagger of authority. Such pretensions can only be diversionary intended to create the impression that they are still relevant when the contrary is the case.
This newspaper is enamoured by the attitude of the NNPC management which has refused to be deterred by such side comments that border on a tendency to be reckoned with.
It is from this perspective that we urge the Baru team to remain focused as it grapples with challenges it inherited. We are satisfied with the positive response to the good work going on in NNPC under Baru. In particular, we are encouraged to state that if the policies being put in place by the management of the corporation is allowed to mature and flourish, soon NNPC will be the bastion of transparency and accountability that Nigerians of all shade of opinion crave for.
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