Our attention has been drawn to the Editorial of Sunday 15 March 2022 of a supposed national newspaper; The Daily Trust entitled; ‘NNPC must come clean with Nigerians.’ The Editorial should have ordinarily been ignored without honouring the sinking newspaper house with a response but for the obvious distortions, deliberate falsehood, half-truths and a crass display of ignorance uncannily served unsuspecting members of the public with a main mission of hatchet delivery on behalf of their distressed paymasters as this is not their first tirade against the NNPC.
To state the least, the editorial board team, obviously drunk with their uncontrolled consumption of assorted alcoholic beverages sat down to concoct figments of their imagination in misrepresenting the NNPC that has done its utmost best to stave off product scarcity in the country in the past seven years of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as attested to by the vexatious editorial in its half-truth that “Until the return of this acute scarcity of virtually all petroleum products, from petrol and diesel to jet fuel, the Direct Sales Direct Purchase scheme of the government had kept the domestic supply of these products largely stable since it commenced in May 2017.” The question in the lips of most Nigerians today is; why go for the company’s jugular in the court of public opinion when the glitch in PMS supply has been overcome nationwide by the NNPC?
Since early February when the NNPC received adulterated supply from some unscrupulous marketers that were bent on giving the agency a bad name through their unpatriotic conduct, the NNPC management had risen to the situation, assured Nigerians of its avowed commitment to ensure round the clock supply of products across the country as the top management and staff left nothing to chance in dealing with the situation as products are currently available across the country today at the regulated market price.
As a responsible public institution, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, first apologized to Nigerians over the importation of the off-spec PMS. The group managing director of NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyari, himself tendered the apology to Nigerians when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Downstream and was widely publicized, he then assured that “the situation was completely unavoidable as the problem was not envisaged,” but however, assured that the distribution of petrol would normalize in the weeks ahead, a promise already kept.
The Editorial board members of DAILY TRUST instead of applauding the NNPC top brass and its various subsidiaries for their steadfastness and patriotism in surmounting the challenge, as could be compared to the nightmarish supply of products by previous administrations led by The DAILY TRUST paymasters, went ahead, like demented watchdogs that they are to ask a rather outlandish but amusing question; “So, why have the queues returned? The Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) has provided Nigerians with string of excuses..” Nigerians can’t be fooled by this set of pepper soup journalists whose pastime is to bring down individuals and institutions in their wild goose chase for “egunje” .
For the avoidance of doubts and to set the records straight, attempts to restructure the corporation in the past failed woefully. But with the present leadership in government and the NNPC, strident efforts have been made to reposition the NNPC for the Nigeria of tomorrow. With the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) the corporation would become a commercialized national oil company that entrenches transparency, accountability and performance excellence otherwise known as TAPE in NNPC. TAPE is widely promoted as a strategic roadmap for NNPC to attain efficiency and global competitiveness and profitability. It is also envisaged to transform NNPC and enhance its potential and capacity to compete with other National Oil Companies around the world.
This strategy is obviously designed by the Mele Kyari’s leadership to make the NNPC more operationally transparent, accountable, and benchmark NNPC against established global best practices and establish the right cost optimization structure among other derivatives.
The ill-educated DAILY TRUST editors find it hard to grapple with the fact the national oil company has been transformed into a more competitive and commercial entity, which would continue to deliver value and dividends to its shareholders as events unfold.
In August last year, President Muhammadu Buhari who doubles as Minister of Petroleum Resources, announced a Profit after Tax of N287 billion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 2020. The announcement was in further fulfillment of his promise to publicly announce the financial position of the NNPC. The net profit was the first in the 44-year history of the establishment. The DAILY trust can check its records, if it has any.
Lastly, the warped newspaper editorial writers recommended that the various positions in the NNPC, right from that of the Group Managing Director to the Graduate trainee should be thrown open for competitiveness, perhaps that’s what they really want NNPC to come clean with Nigerians and it is well taken. We hope that when that happens, all DAILY TRUST Editors will automatically become GMDs, DGMs, MDs of the NNPC. What a pipe dream?
Mr. Aizenohi Ohiro is a Public Affairs Analyst based in Benin City, Edo State.