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The Capital NG exclusive Beneath every clash of giants, a wonderful tale of power and ego subsists – the plot and trajectory of each story, however, attains a life of its own or copiously re-enacts the intrigues of historical conflicts dotting the landscape and annals of human politics. Thus the recent power tussle between the Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, echoes deep-seated animosity reflective of the intrigues that led to the fabled Trojan war.
Ever since his appointment as head honcho of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) group’s board of directors, Kachikwu has been embroiled in a power tussle with the group’s Managing Director (MD), Maikanti Kacalla Baru. As the impasse aggravates, the oil corporation rumbles under the grievous weight of that action and counteraction that symbolizes the reciprocal struggle of discordant powers.
Sadly, Kachikwu has lost the bitter tussle for dominance and power to Baru, who happens to be the candidate of a northern cabal allegedly. The cabal reportedly sought to seize control of the NNPC at the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s radical reforms of the oil corporation.
However, just when Kachikwu sought the support of President Buhari, the latter allegedly deserted him to throw his weight behind Baru. Consequently, Kachikwu has been reduced to an ordinary figurehead; the northern cabal has effectively neutered him thus denying him appropriate command of the NNPC and influence in the decision-making process of the oil industry.
Prior to his emergence as NNPC chairman, the northern cabal had reportedly urged President Buhari to appoint Baru to head the corporation but Buhari refused their suggestion and went ahead to appoint Kachikwu. The latter was allegedly nominated for the position by Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, who convinced Buhari that appointing Kachikwu who hails from the oil-rich Niger Delta region would pacify Nigeria’s warring militants and douse tension in the delta area.
After his appointment, Kachikwu was “closely watched” by northerners including Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, Secretary General at the Finance Ministry, and Tajudeen Umar, a close confidante of Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano and former CBN governor.
After failing to get Baru appointed NNPC boss, the northern cabal hatched a devious plan to perpetrate hoarding in desperate bid to create artificial fuel scarcity and portray Kachikwu as incompetent. After that strategy failed to produce the intended results, the cabal enlisted the support of the first lady, Aisha Buhari, who used her position as the president’s wife to get Baru elected as NNPC boss last August.
Ever since Baru’s appointment as MD of the NNPC, he has been constantly at loggerheads. With the backing of Aisha Buhari and the powerful northern cabal, Baru has been causing his boss, Kachikwu, a nagging headache and sleepless nights.
However, in his letter to Mr. President recently, the minister also accused the GMD of awarding $25billion contracts without consulting either his office or the NNPC Board.
He accused Baru of alleged insubordination, lack of adherence to due process and running a “bravado management style.”
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