01 October 2015, Lagos – The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, says he has yet to commence the sanitisation of the corporation.
He said some of the positive developments being witnessed in the national oil company were functions of the new developments in its environment.
Kachikwu, who disclosed this in Lagos during an interview session, said, “I have not started my sanitisation process at the NNPC. Sometimes, people do the right things because the operation environment has created an enablement to do so. There are a lot of good people at the NNPC, but some might have done the wrong things because they were compelled by politicians to do them.
“One of the things I said at my town-hall meeting was that general managers and officers at the NNPC had lost the authority to ask anybody to do what is wrong.
“If I ask you to do what is wrong, you must refuse to do it, and that is the mantle I have handed over to every member of my staff. If I ask you to do something you do not agree with because it is wrong, please do not. If I insist, go and report me to the head of state.
“I would not take it when anybody makes a mistake knowingly because there isn’t a meeting right between what is right and what is wrong.”
Kachikwu said his team did not have a lot of time because so much harm had been done and so much needed to be changed quickly.
Also speaking on his new appointment as the corporation’s GMD, he admitted leaving his comfort zone to take up the NNPC job.
Having spent over three decades in the private sector, the NNPC boss said he never imagined he was going to end up in the public sector.
He said his first response to President Muhammadu Buhari when asked to come and join him (Buhari) in his fairly herculean task of cleaning the Augean stables and redirecting the NNPC, was that of fright, “because I have been used to a life where processes work and one can easily predict situations, while obviously knowing where you are headed.
“I wondered if the corporation was ready for the kind of sanitisation that we needed to do if I had to join the company. When I talked further with the President, I realised I never had any option because all of us would have to leave our comfort zones to come out and help.
“If we keep looking at our comfort zone, this country is not going to move forward, and we do not have the right to complain from the outside. I find myself put in this position of financial responsibility and I am very determined to make sense out of it,” he stressed.
He said his concern as the GMD of the NNPC was not how long he would last on the job. “I am worried about how well I can go with the time I have. If you see most of the actions that are coming from my table, you will know I am moving with a lot of speed, and I always take my time to do them,” he said.
He added, “I won’t forgive myself if I last here for one or two weeks and don’t take the decisions I ought to have taken. Every day, I look at the models of our business in a bid to finding out what needs to be done.”
He said the citizens of the country needed to take more serious the responsibilities the country imposed on them as Nigerians.
The NNPC boss revealed that he had spent the last 20 to 30 years in his career working with the NNPC from the outer shore, of which his impressions of the corporation were largely positive.
He said over the last decade, there had been a gradual dip in performance models in terms of perception of the public, loss expectations, among others, as far as the corporation is concerned.
He said, “The President has given us the latitude to bring our thoughts to the table, and he is giving me a free hand; hence the speed with which we are moving.
On the accounting systems of the corporation, he said the auditors who did the partial audit of the NNPC would be brought back to do a full audit.
He said, “I am giving them all the data they need because I need to know what the true financial position of the corporation and the treatment of funds are to date.
“For the award of contracts at the NNPC, we at the NNPC feel it is the right of every Nigerian to participate; but the contract model we want must be transparent with everybody having the same opportunities. In doing that, we would choose the best contracting models and terms.”