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Tenure the post of NNPC’s GMD, limit political interferences—Esele

Former president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for two terms from March 2007- June 2013 and President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) between April 2006 and 2008, Comrade Peter Esele, has opened up on the best way out the excess political interference bedeviling the operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

In a media chat with top publishers and Energy Editor in Lagos, he revealed that due to ease of political interference, crafters of NNPC Act did not tenure the post of the Group managing Director.

Explaining more on the scenario, Esele averred that “Do you know that it is only NNPC boss that does not have tenure? FIRS boss has tenure; CBN governor has a tenure; even quasi-ministries and parastatal agency of governments do, but NNPC GMD has no tenure”.

“He could wake up today and he is gone. So, he would want to do everything that will keep him in his job.

But the former labour leader argued that “When he is tenured, you give him the responsibilities. Let the politicians stay away; let them face politics and allow the man to play his statutory role”. “Given the situation today, corruption thrives in an atmosphere where there is confusion and crisis. So, it is all these things we have now. Nothing is done properly and it is in the interest of those who want to make money for the system to fall into crisis.

Continuing, he recalled that “In the last 18 years in this political dispensation, from 1999 to date, there has been too much political interference. Olusegun Obasanjo was the minister of petroleum and president of Nigeria which ought not to be. The same thing is happening now, whereas it was not so under the administration of President Umaru Yar’Adua”.

“It appears that the political leaders want to know what is going on in NNPC; they resort to influencing what is happening in the NNPC; they want to keep their boys in the NNPC; they don’t want to follow due process.

“I will give you an example. I was in the office of one of the GMDs and one powerful man’s wife called in telling the NNPC boss that they have already given her 10 metric tonnes of kerosene and that was why she had called. So how do you expect the GMD to function? A couple of times I have visited NNPC, one of the things you get to know is that the GMD hardly sits in the office for one or two hours without getting a call from the Villa. I am not talking about now. I am talking about the time past.

“Sometimes, the GMDs themselves lament all of these, and that they don’t even have time to do what they are supposed to do, summoning them from right, left and centre. The NASS will also try to do their own. So, there is always too much pressure on the boss of NNPC. At the end of the day, instead of being allowed to do his job, he will want to please those who put him there, so professional competence suffers,” former TUC boss revealed.