The Miseducation of Maikanti Baru

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BEHIND THE FIGURES: BY IJEOMA NWOGWUGWU,  Email: ijeoma.nwogwugwu@thisdaylive.com

Exactly a year ago, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), by its Establishment Act, tried to introduce a National Code of Corporate Governance. Had it not been suspended by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment a few months after it had come into effect, the three-in-one code sought to provide a new code of corporate governance for the private and public and sectors and not-for-profit organisations, including religious bodies. The code was all-encompassing and sought to unify, harmonise and would have superseded all the existing sectoral corporate governance codes in Nigeria such as those regulating licensed pension operators, banking, discount houses, telecommunications and insurance.

But the minute it came into effect for the private sector and not-for-profit bodies, it hit a speed bump. It was rejected by the private sector for being in conflict with the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), would have led to the exit of several CEOs who had spent more than 10 years as heads of their companies, the downsizing of the number of executive directors allowed on a board, and the appointment of new directors. Despite the reservations of the private sector, it took the announcement by Mr. Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) that he would be stepping down from his position as head of the church in compliance with code, for the code to be suspended. Adeboye’s announcement also led to the sack of the Executive Secretary of the FRCN, Mr. Jim Obaze.

Personally, I saw the suspension of the code as very unfortunate. Any concerns over certain aspects of the code that may have deterred investments or impeded the smooth running of private and public sector organisations including NGOs, could have been modified through stakeholder engagement until a code that is acceptable to all was fashioned out and a consensus reached to review the code every three to five years to ensure that it remains in consonant with the times. That Obaze was sacked and the code suspended because Adeboye, the head of a powerful church, was to step down from his exalted perch was unacceptable.

If private and public sector organisations are expected to abide by corporate governance tenets, the same tenets must, as a matter of urgency, be extended to NGOs and faith bodies which take funds from the public. They must be made to adhere to the same rules and not excluded from being made accountable and transparent just because they provide humanitarian and spiritual services. Churches and mosques, after all, own and operate schools, hospitals, tertiary institutions, shops and businesses that are profit-oriented. Some even lease their private jets to the federal government to convey millions of dollars in cash to procure arms for the military from the black market, so why should they be made exempt from accounting for their sources and application of funds. The danger of entrenching a culture of opacity in the administration of churches, mosques and the NGOs is that they could engage in illicit arms, drugs and human trafficking and funding terrorist activities in plain sight and keep getting away with it. It has happened in other countries, so Nigerians should not delude themselves into thinking that similar illicit activities cannot be replicated here.

Unsurprisingly, the Nigerian government’s mishandling of the National Code of Corporate Governance has been replicated in the last two weeks in its handling of the letter written by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to President Muhammadu Buhari highlighting the absence of due process in the award of contracts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the appointment of senior executives of the corporation. Instead of rebuking the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru and ordering him to adhere to the chain of command and take his contracts and the relevant appoints to the NNPC Board for proper oversight, it deviated from the issue of governance, which was the substance and essence of Kachikwu’s letter. Rather, what we have been regalled with are sheepish, misguided and diversionary attempts by the presidency and Baru to engage in a popularity contest to defend the indefensible.

Starting from the beginning, the presidency was embarrassed that Kachikwu’s letter, which also highlighted the minister’s inability to get audience with the president, was leaked. For a government that has championed a Whistle Blowing Policy and whose legislature is in the process of enacting a law to give legal teeth to the policy, the reaction of the presidency deviated from the principle of encouraging whistleblowers to bring to light actions and activities that encourage and throw the doors open to impunity and rent seeking. It would be disingenuous for the administration to think that whistleblowing should start and stop at exposing fraud and outright theft from the treasury. The spirit and legislative framework for the Whistle Blowing Policy should also encompass due process, encourage transparency and oversight because where these are ignored impunity and corruption will forever remain entrenched in the Nigerian psyche and culture. Fighting corruption is not limited to catching, exposing and prosecuting looters of the treasury. It is also about installing the right institutional framework to ensure that corruption does not thrive.

Second, Baru’s response to the issues raised by Kachikwu in the memo was laced with misinformation and errors and what many of us saw as a Freudian slip, which sent the presidency and NNPC into overdrive to make a distinction between a “loan” and a “contract”. In his bid, with Buhari’s approval, to dismiss the award of contracts without recourse to the NNPC Board, Baru informed us that Kachikwu had no business ascribing values to the Crude Term Contracts and Direct-Sale Direct-Purchase Contracts (which incidentally are oil swaps but were renamed by Kachikwu because of the sleaze associated with them under past administrations), just because they were not procurement contracts.

Let us be clear, all contracts, and there billions of them, have a value, be it material or monetary. Even a marriage contract between a man and women is premised on the vows that they have made to each other to love, honour and obey, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, till death do them part. When one party to the marriage fails to honour these vows, the other party could head to court to terminate the marriage contract. Even the Law of Contract states that a contract can only be deemed to have been formed when there is an “offer”, an “acceptance”, “consideration” and a “mutual intent to be bound”.

For this reason, I was bemused when Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), went out on a limb last Friday to make a distinction between a “loan” and a “contract”. Surely, as a highly regarded lawyer, the vice-president must know that a loan is in effect a contract. In this particular instance, an “offer” of loans had been made by a financial institution(s), an “acceptance” had been made by the international oil companies (IOCs) as NNPC’s joint venture partners, the IOCs would have been compelled to pay interest for the loans as the “consideration”, and both parties would have been bound by the loan agreement. Not stopping at that, Nigeria would have to repay the IOCs by permitting them to lift more crude oil than the Joint Operating Agreement (Contract) binding them to the agreement stipulates. Besides, all loans from financial institutions are covered by a loan contract/agreement stipulating the terms and conditions of the contract/agreement, effectively rendering Osinbajo’s clarification on what he actually approved – loan or contract – needless. It was merely an attempt at semantics and failed to hoodwink those who knew better.

In the same vein, NNPC’s crude term contracts and oil swaps have a value to them. When oil traders, companies or refineries are selected to lift Nigeria’s crude oil and either sell it in the international market or swap for petroleum products for one year, the quantum of crude that is assigned to all the traders put together can be computed and multiplied by the federal government’s budget benchmark for crude oil and the given period during which they are allowed to lift the country’s oil. From this, it is very, very easy to ascribe a value to both contracts, irrespective of whether they are procurement contracts or not. Moreover, if the federal budget every year is premised on a crude oil benchmark of a certain value and oil production output of a certain number of barrels per day, from which Nigeria earns more than 70 percent of its revenue, which is also included in the budget, what makes it impossible to ascribe a value to the crude term contracts and oil swaps that are assigned to oil traders on an annual basis?

As a corollary, no trader submits an expression of interest to lift and sell Nigeria’s crude oil or engage in swaps because it is a charitable organisation. The trader does so because it will derive a commission (or consideration). Should the traders divert the proceeds from the sale of crude oil or oil swaps, Nigeria stands to lose billions of dollars as revenue. Lest we forget, the Berne Declaration report from Switzerland in 2013 did allude to opaque oil deals and diversion by traders of Nigeria’s oil. It is for this reason the selection process for the appointment of traders must not just meet the procurement guidelines of the NNPC Tenders Board and the Public Procurement Act, but also the NNPC Board and the Federal Executive Council (FEC). That way, should any diversion take place and Nigeria loses billions of dollars in the process, it is not only the members of the tenders committee that can and should be held liable, but also the members of the Board of Directors of NNPC and the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

Another issue raised by Baru in his response is the fact that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) had provided the guidelines for the procurement/award of NNPC contracts, citing the make up and processes of the NNPC Tenders Board and the provisions of the Public Procurement Act that empowers the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to give a No Objection to contracts that meet a certain threshold. All well and good! But what he failed to inform us is where the rules of the NNPC Tenders Board and provisions of the Public Procurement Act preclude the NNPC Board from performing its oversight functions. The importance of this cannot be overlooked, because Baru’s position has set a precedent that affects not just the NNPC Board but all boards of agencies and departments of the federal government. Should we accept it, then the executive might as well dissolve all the governing boards of its agencies and departments, and the National Assembly proceed to amend their Establishment Acts to expunge the relevant sections that provide for the setting up of the boards.

Baru even went ahead to state that his decision not to seek the approval of his board stemmed from the fact that Kachikwu who was his predecessor had sought the same clarification from the SGF. The NNPC boss was not truthful; at the time Kachikwu headed the corporation and doubled as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, NNPC had no Board of Directors, so he sought and got all his approvals from the president. The NNPC board was only constituted when Kachikwu was relieved of his position as the corporation’s GMD.

Without citing the section of the NNPC Act that deals with the powers of the board, Baru needs to be reminded that the Act is very clear on the oversight functions of the NNPC Board and its powers to consider and approve the “work plans” and “budgets” of the corporation. I wonder how he expects the board to provide oversight to these two functions if the award of contracts and appointment of senior executives are not brought to its attention. The Act is even clear that the “fixing of the seal of the corporation shall be authenticated by the signature of the chairman and any person authorised in that behalf by the board”. In this instance, the position of chairman has been assigned by the president who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources to his Minister of State for Petroleum Resources. The same Act further states: “A member of the Board who has any interest in any company or other concern with which the Corporation proposes to make any contract or arrangement or any interest in such contract or arrangement shall disclose to the Board the fact of such interest and the nature thereof, and such disclosure shall be recorded in the minutes of the Board, and such member shall take no part in any deliberation or decision of the Board relating to such contract or arrangement.” How are members of the board expected to make full disclosure if all contracts – procurement, management, crude oil lifting, loan, agency, lease, conveyance, etc. – are not brought to their attention?

Even if we were to accept Baru’s argument that he obtained the approval of the president, who by the NNPC Act can appoint an alternate chairman, “provided that nothing in the foregoing shall be construed as preventing the exercise by the Minister himself of any power so delegated”, the question to ask is does the Nigerian Constitution allow Buhari to usurp and assign to himself the role of Minister of Petroleum Resources, or minister of any other ministry for that matter? Perhaps, it is high time lawyers who know their onions challenge the constitutionality of a president conferring upon himself the role of Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo did this for eight years; the late President Umaru Yar’Adua did likewise, albeit briefly, and now Buhari has continued along the same path.

Section 138 of the Constitution expressly states: “The President shall not, during his tenure of office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever.” Section 147(1) goes further to state: “There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President,” while Subsection 2 of the same section states: “Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.” Deriving from the above, I find it inconceivable that three presidents have consistently violated the spirit and letters of the constitution without challenge.

It is very clear in black and white that Buhari has no constitutional backing whatsoever to assign to himself the post of Minister of Petroleum Resources. Like Obasanjo before him, his injecting himself into the system has created governance chaos, including Baru’s admission and later denial that the president approved loans/contracts for NNPC when he was receiving treatment for his illness in the United Kingdom and had transmitted power to Osinbajo. If it is later discovered that there has been a cover up as to who actually approved the said loans/contracts, this portends a major constitutional crisis and is an impeachable offence. But I digress.

The NNPC Act also requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources, in this case Buhari, to submit the memos devolving from his ministry and its parastatals to FEC for final ratification. To date, I am not aware that FEC at the end of its meetings has announced that approval has been given to any NNPC contract whatsoever. Policies from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources have certainly been approved, but no contract approvals have been made public. If announcements on contract approvals for road projects, hospital projects, power projects, education projects, and so on, running into several billions of naira or dollars are made public at the end of FEC meetings, why are those of NNPC being exempted from the same treatment? Is there anything special about oil contracts that make them exempt from full disclosure?

The truth of the matter is that Buhari is acting with the same impunity started by his predecessors in office. Obasanjo as oil minister was known to give the same anticipatory approvals to his two NNPC GMDs – Jackson Gaius Obaseki and Funsho Kupolokun – without sending his memos to FEC for final approval. It was not until a few weeks before the end of his second tenure that the former president brought in the ubiquitous Ghana-must-go bags full of NNPC memos, for which he had given anticipatory approvals, to FEC for final ratification. This should not be allowed to continue unchallenged.

Kachikwu’s memo in the final analysis once again brought to light the opacity and poor governance structures in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. NNPC despite its pretensions at transparency by making public its management accounts, still fails to comply with its Establishment Act requiring it to audit its accounts. It is not just NNPC that is guilty of this violation. So many agencies of government are guilty of the same offence. That is why I am all for the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which has sat in the National Assembly un-passed for 10 years.

The problem is that NNPC has always been seen and used as a conduit for slush funds by successive governments. It is for this singular reason the sixth, seventh and eight National Assemblies have gone through the motions of legislating on the PIB, but never getting it passed. There are too many vested interests in government, the National Assembly, NNPC and among the IOCs that prefer for the rot to subsist and continue to fester. It is only through the PIB, paving the path to the balkanisation of NNPC, its proper corporatisation and the eventual sale of some its shares through a public offer on the stock exchange, that we can even begin to imagine a national oil company of our dreams.

  • frog2222

    poor article. nigeria copy copy. i think you’ve read this one on the punch a day before:

    title: ” NNPC’s disrepute for corporate governance ”

    http://punchng.com/nnpcs-disrepute-for-corporate-governance/

  • frog2222

    poor article. nigeria copy copy. i think you’ve read this one on the punch a day before:

    “http://punchng.com/nnpcs-disrepute-for-corporate-governance/”

  • frog2222

    poor article. nigeria copy copy. i think you’ve read this one on the punch a day before:

    http://punchng.com/nnpcs-disrepute-for-corporate-governance/

    • Elenugboro

      It’s ok. We’ve heard you now.

      • frog2222

        hehehe. nothing original from our journalists

  • Hah!

    “If it is later discovered that there has been a cover up as to who actually approved the said loans/contracts, this portends a major constitutional crisis and is an impeachable offence” – Now that it is plainly explained by the Presidency as to who actually approved the Loan what can you say again? Biased and prejudiced opinion!

  • jellybelly

    ….and people wonder why there are still no boards at parastatals.

    And the one parastatal with the board is ignored.

    One Man Government

    • FrNinja

      A government founded on the principles of Make Aboki Great Again #maga. Buhari is no different than Ahmadu Bello and his Northernization policy.

  • Olawunmi Ojo

    Ijeoma, thanks for the writeup. It is the best I’ve read so far but I want to draw your attention to where the constitution says the President cannot hold executive position or paid engagements while in office. Pls it not talking about political executive position like that of a minister of whatever portfolio. It is talking about the President being employed by any organization and paid for it while still in office. Intact, like the President did for 6 months on assumption of office, he can sack all the ministers and run the government singly. All ministers enjoy their tenure of office at the pleasure of Mr. President

    • share Idea

      If he sack all the ministers, the word ministers would not be used and president would not be accused of floating any section of the constitution.

    • Yemi

      Thank you, Any reasonable person can see this. Ijeoma and Olisa have their own agenda for pushing forward this ridiculous interpretation.

      • Igiligii Awka

        Dear Yemi,
        Mr Olisa has every right in his capacity as a senior lawyer to seek the interpretation of relevant sections of the constitution by our law courts, which definitely enriches the country’s jurisprudence.
        You have made very valid contributions on this piece, but your inference to a ‘conspiracy theory’ now tends to place your objectivity on the spotlight.

  • Maria Darego

    Now that we are into differentiating between “Loans” and “Contracts”, Nigerians need to go back and review all the investigations and Audits of the NNPC all through the Deziani Maduekwe years. The only approval that Deziani is facing investigations in multiple jurisdictions is the Strategic Alliance Agreement that she approved for NPDC. That Agreement from beginning to end was a Financing (Loan) Agreement in which a company was supposed to provide financing to NPDC and get repaid with Crude Oil. There is no difference between that agreement and the ones approved by Osinbanjo. The alleged crime committed by Deziani was not following due process in the approval of that agreement as Minister of Petroleum Resources. Osinbanjo is looking at exactly the same scenario. Once you get on the “Not Following Due Process” Train, it does not really matter which station you get off.

    • Yemi

      Many wrong things here. Diezani is facing multiple charges relating to money laundering on monies. The $120 mill money laundering charge that affected Fidelity and Sterling has nothing to with SAA. Kola, Jide and Atlantic Energy are facing charges on not remitting money due NAPIMS from crude oil lifted by them under the SAA. The legality of the SSA is yet to be challenged anywhere. The loan that Osibanjo approved is a JV loan taken on behalf of the shareholders of the JV (including the GC) by the IOCs. This is the standard practice since the govt became unable to pay its share of Cash Calls many years back. This is a routine process.

  • The Duke

    ” It is only through the PIB, paving the path to the balkanisation of NNPC, its proper corporatisation and the eventual sale of some its shares through a public offer on the stock exchange, that we can even begin to imagine a national oil company of our dreams.”
    But we have all been saying this, can’t Saraki and Dogara just make themselves heros by making this sail through for once?

    • FrNinja

      Who will balkanize the goose laying the golden egg. Where will all the paddy contracts come from when it is corporatized and its activities are published transparently?

  • Yemi

    Poor article. First, Ijeoma should go and read the Constitution. Section 5 provides “…… Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive powers of the Federation: (a) shall be vested in the President and may subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any law made by the National Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Vice-President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation or officers in the public service of the Federation…”. What this simply means is that the President can assign and take away the powers of any Minister (talkless of when he is the Minister). Second, in one of the letter NNPC published, BPP clearly stated that the Board of NNPC has no business with award of contracts. Only 2 bodies and 1 individual are in charge of contracts in NNPC – NNPC Tenders board, FEC and the Minister (President). Anyway, I should not bother myself with this article. With the right incentives, Ijeoma can even write a reply to this article on behalf of Baru

    • Ijeoma Nwogwugwu

      Yemi, As you have rightly put it, the president has the powers to assign but not to appropriate. He appropriated the position of Minister of Petroleum Resources. Therefore, I do not see your point. Second, the Public Procure Act must empower the BPP to takeaway the oversight functions of boards of parastatals. Where there is no provision expressly allowing it do so, you argument with reference to NNPC is redundant and holds no water.

      • Yemi

        The President is the Minister of Petroleum. The issue of appropriating does not arise. I advise you read the BPP Act (specifically section 6). Alternatively, as Oby (Madam Due process) herself to better educate you. Is it not curious that she has not said anything on this.

        • Ijeoma Nwogwugwu

          Again, I urge you. Do not attempt to turn the law on its head. Show me what section of the PPA precludes the governing board of a parastatal from its oversight functions. The fact that a No Objection for a contract is required from the BPP, does not mean a board should not and cannot perform its duties. Indeed, is it not the responsibility of the board to ensure that its chief executive and tenders board have obtained the requisite No Objection from the BPP. As for the president being the Minister of Petroleum Resources, insofar as the constitution renders his position an illegality, he has appropriated what should not be rightfully his.
          This is too obvious to even the blind.

          • Yemi

            No Ijeoma, you are the one that should show us where the PPA or NNPC Act says that the NNPC board has powers to award contracts. Power is given not assumed. The 1999 Constitution recognizes only one Minister (the AGF), every other Minister’s job is at the discretion of the President. Specifically, Section 148 provides. “….(1) The President may, in his discretion, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government….”.If you wan to use the term ‘oversight’ loosely to mean award of contracts, then we can as well say all contracts should be sent to NASS. I believe you have seen this reply from BPP to Kachikwu, then GMD of NNPC…… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d88a847f70661db742aaae9e74a09814faf155ecf74d9e81848ea9a5136d752c.jpg

          • Ijeoma Nwogwugwu

            Yemi, I believe you’re the MD of NNPC Retail. Hence you’re interest in this matter. By oversight, I am sure you know it means to approve and make sure due process has been followed by the management in the award of contracts. As MD of NNPC Retail, please be properly guided.

          • Yemi

            LOL. You are very funny. I no go mind sha!. Meanwhile, the closest I have come to any NNPC location is their fuel station. I am just interested in objective analysis. NASS members will like to hear more on that your definition of ‘Oversight”

          • Ijeoma Nwogwugwu

            You can have the last say. This is a pointless exercise. Have a good day Yemi. Please get back to ensuring that your mega stations are dispensing petroleum products. Your memo above was the give away. Cheers.

          • Yemi

            Since you have offered me the last say, let me take it. I don’t work for NNPC or any Govt office. The last time I saw you was at the last World Pension Summit at Trancorp in Abuja. That is my industry. Was nice engaging you. Thank you

          • share Idea

            lol

          • Ijeoma Nwogwugwu

            Ah, that memo again, which Maikanti Baru used to write his response. This has already been public by Baru. But I state again, this is not a provision in the PPA. As long as it is not included in the PPA, you are beating about the bush.

          • Ekpetu

            God bless you Ijeoma. No point dispensing valuable energy on this agent of the state. From his style of writing, every discerning reader knows that Yemi, like a few other commentators on these Backpages, is an employee of the government.

          • BankyMons

            Thank you Ijeoma Nwogwugwu for engaging commenters on your own article. Can you urge your colleagues at Thisday to emulate this?

    • ‘ned

      Really Yemi? Poor indeed you say? who qualifies as a minister? The President can take away the powers of a minister but then no one will exercise it except ‘a minister’. Such a minister would have been confirmed by the Senate. Pray tell which minister as confirmed by the minister exercised the powers in this regard?
      Have you read the NNPC Act? Obasanjo (claiming to be Petroleum Minister while the President) revoked the KNOC Licence with disastrous results. Can Buhari sign an OML or OPL in his capacity as ‘minister’?
      I think you are quite mistaken. The mistake is in over estimating your knowledge and understanding of the issues.

      • Yemi

        I have replied to Ijeoma above. In a presidential system, apart from the AGF, every other Minister is just a special assistant to the President. Whatever power granted to a Minister in any Act is just on behalf of the President.

        • Ekpetu

          According to the Constitution, the appointment of every minister must be approved by the Senate. Was the appointment of Buhari as Minister for Petroleum approved by the Senate? If not, then from where does he derive the powers he is executing in that office? Would really appreciate your take on this.

          • Yemi

            Your point of not confirming the President as Minister suggests the President’s overbearing powers over all executive functions. Do you know why the Constitution does not require Ministers to have portfolios assigned to them before confirmation? The Constitutions sees these ministers as mere assistants to the President. He can move them as he pleases and strip them of powers as he pleases. Nigerian Senate has never confirmed any one as “Petroleum Minister”.

          • Ijeoma Nwogwugwu

            I see, so Diezani Alison-Madueke did not pass through Senate confirmation? Na wa o. No one is contesting the powers of the president to appoint and sack his ministers. The point of this is his power to appoint HIMSELF as petroleum minister. Section 138 is quite clear on the president not being allowed to hold any other executive position whatsoever. Section 142(2) also requires Senate confirmation for all ministers. These two requirements have been violated by Buhari and other presidents who held the position of petroleum minister.

          • Yemi

            DAM was confirmed by the Senate as Minister of the Federal Republic not as a ‘Minister of Petroleum”. In case you have forgotten, DAM was Minister of Transportation (that included Works under Yar’adua). She became Minister of Mines and Steel in Dec 2008. GEJ appointed her Minister of Petroleum after Yar’adua died. All this happened within Yar’adua / GEJ first term without needing Senate’s input to move her around. Was DAM confirmed as Minister of Petroleum by Nigerian Senate? On the executive powers of the President, this is what section 138 says “…The President shall not, during his tenure of office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever…”. The key word is “Other”. Ministerial work is part of the Executive functions of the President conferred by the constitution. That is the letter. The spirit is that our President should not take another job like been the Editor of Thisday.

          • Yemi

            This is the missing post that I was talking about. It has just been returned.

          • Ijeoma Nwogwugwu

            You’re right on Diezani from May 29, 2007- may 29, 2011. But I recall
            she was renominated by Jonathan in 2011 after the election. This time
            her Senate screening focused solely on her portfolio as Minister of
            Petroleum Resources. The Senate knew she was being appointed petroleum
            minister. Likewise, Okonjo-Iweala’s screening focused solely on the
            finance portfolio. There are certain nominations that are very obvious
            from the start.
            Based on your interpretation of Section of 138, the
            president could also hold the position of executive governor of any
            state he so desires. Let’s see, as I gather a senior lawyer has gone to
            court to get an interpretation of Sections 138 and 147(2).

          • Yemi

            What happened to my post that you are replying above? Did you delete it?Is Thisday scuttling free speech? Na wah! I rest my case.

          • THISDAYLIVEMODERATOR

            Yemi, All your comments are intact.We have even shared some your comments on thisdaylive facebook.

          • Yemi

            Thank you Moderator although Ijeoma can confirm that the post she is replying to above is not here. No wahala sha!

          • super hero

            This one?

            “Your point of not confirming the President as Minister suggests the President’s overbearing powers over all executive functions. Do you know why the Constitution does not require Ministers to have portfolios assigned to them before confirmation? The Constitutions sees these ministers as mere assistants to the President. He can move them as he pleases and strip them of powers as he pleases. Nigerian Senate has never confirmed any one as “Petroleum Minister”.

          • Yemi

            No. There was a post I made in response to Ijeoma’s question “So Diezani did not pass through Senate confirmation?…”. In that post I addressed two issues. First, Diezani (DAM) was confirmed as a Minister of the FRN not as “Minister of Petroleum” in 2007. She served as Minister of Transport and then later Minister of Mines under Yar’adua before she was appointed Minister of Petroleum by GEJ in 2010 after the death of Yar’adua. All thses happened within Yar’adua / GEJ first term without going back to Senate for reconfirmation. Second, with regards to S138 of the Constituion, the wordings are as follows “……The President shall not, during his tenure of office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever….”. Any sensible reasonable man will reliaze that the key word here is “..any other..” because this presupposes the functions of the President have already been defined by the constitution elsewhere for the framers of the constitution to refer to ‘..any other..”. Truly, the constitution clearly states the major function of the President as “…..as the executive powers of the federation shall be vested in the President…”. Now is NNPC not part of the executive? I read that Olisa Agbakogba (acting as a politician not a lawyer) has gone to waste the time of our courts seeking interpretation of this simple provision. We sill see. That reminds of a study I read recently that higher enrollment in law schools actually reduces a county’s GDP by 0.3%. Higher Engineering enrollment increases GDP by 0.5%. But seriously, on my missing post. We cannot be arguing on accountability and abuse of powers of public officials when my post can be hidden and deleted just like that without anyone been held to account. You see, there is an Abacha in all us. God save Nigeria.

          • share Idea

            Before GEJ, past president once announced the names of Service Chiefs they are assumed to have been fully confirmed and can function as substantive service chiefs. It took Keyamo taking the FG to court under GEJ for the Supreme court to rule that they need to be confirmed by Senate, and that question was settled.

            Hence, you should not term Agbakoba politician for seeking interpretation of the constitution by our court, the ruling of the Supreme will enrich our jurisprudence.

          • austin

            You do not think that it is possible that the missing post never left your system? Thisday has never been known to delete posts. Come on, what difference does it make to them if your post stays up or not? They have back pagers for and against all discussions.

          • Yemi

            Not possible. That is the post that Ijeoma responded to by writing “……You’re right on Diezani from May 29, 2007- may 29, 2011….”. This means she read it. Anyway, it does not matter anymore as I have written another post above.

          • Don Franco

            Dear Ijeoma Nwogwugwu,

            I fail to see why you bother to respond to Yemi; the provisions of Section 138 is very clear; as is Section 142(2). I wonder where he went to Law School.
            For him, it is about defending the Certificateless One and his VP. Buhari is on a mission to underdevelop the Southern parts of the Zoo; in the hope that the North would catch up.
            Maikanti Baru and Abba Kyari’s criminal conduct will be overtaken by the event of Buhari’s next health tourism to London, and the start of campaign season next April. This matter will be probed and the contracts cancelled only if the APC lose in 2019; for now, we can all shout and yell until we’re blue in the face, nothing will come of it.

          • “Korede

            You are not a honorable. I am sure Ijeoma will not be ready to associate with you on account of your choice of words.

          • MaskedPhantom

            What are you smoking mein Herr? What is wrong with Don Franco’s choice of words? You prefer mealy-mouthed, fawning speech? The dialect of the deluded hordes who have been rendered impotent by succesive generations of oppresive regimes.
            I tell you, mister man, the liberation of Nigeria is not by political correctness or servility, but by rising up and taking forcefully what belongs to us.

          • “Korede

            I don’t belong to your group. So you can tell us what you are smoking or snuffing. Your likes will clap for you but the responsible people will caution you for lack of dignity.

          • MaskedPhantom

            No, you do not and cannot belong to my group. We don’t permit in our midst, cretins and dimwits who willingly swallow the excrementitious gruel that oozes from the anal fissure of jihadist herdsmen and their yaribat accomplices, the useful idiots.

          • Don Franco

            Dear Korede,

            You’re damned right I’m not “a honorable”…. Do you mean I’m I’m not “an honorable”, as in a member of NASS? Even your command of the English language is on crutches.
            In any event, seeing as you have the privilege of choosing Ijeoma’s friends, and I’m not keen to befriend her; I believe that MaskedPhantom”s reply below suffices for you…

          • FrNinja

            God bless you Ijeoma. Half of the Nigerian Senate have probably never read the constitution. Yet they call themselves lawmakers.

          • okbaba

            Thanks Ijeoma for writing again and deeming us fit for a response in this forum. It adds to the richness and respect for this outfit when Nigerians are esteemed this way. I only wish other writers and leaders most especially, will take your example. More power to your elbow.

          • “Korede

            “Section 138 is quite clear on the president not being allowed to hold any other executive position whatsoever.”

            Does this translate to president holding executive power as minister of petroleum?

          • super hero

            Yemi you raise a valid point. However, Section 138 of the Constitution clearly states: “The President shall NOT, during his tenure of office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever.”
            The Minister is the CEO of his/her respective Ministry. That past and current “CEOs” of Nigeria have wilfully chosen to violate the constitution they swore to uphold does not legitimise this shameful display of grabbing the till.
            As retired and battle experienced Generals, you would have thought OBJ and PMB would have “grabbed” the Ministry of Defence instead of Petroleum Resources.
            Rather than infer that the writer has been “incentivised”, you would have advanced this argument by focusing on the anomaly this sorry saga has thrown up.
            Your comments are generally technically sound and much enjoyed. Please do not join the so called “spokespersons” who hurl insults at anyone who so much as asks an innocent question.

            Thanks.

        • FrNinja

          In a presidential system every portfolio of office has someone other than the President in charge of it. Except in Nigeria where Obasanjo thought that being President was like being a General in the military.

      • JS

        You couldn’t have said it any better

        • “Korede

          Said what better? That what Yemi wrote was wrong or what?

          • JS

            More often than not, there no right or wrongs here. Just perspective, objectivity or superior argument. When someone uses the paraphrase ” you couldn’t have said it any better” it simply implies that you share the same views and the person probably saved you the stress of having to spill out the same sentiments. You really fancy trying to put words in my mouth?

          • “Korede

            That is okay. It is civilised enough.

  • OLUAYE

    The miseducation is not limited to Baru we are all miseducated. Thanks for shining the light.

    • Obi Ike Sorres

      Yes o

  • Cheta God

    Well done Ijeoma. This is the quality we expect from This Day back page. Over to the presidency and the NNPC.

    • FrNinja

      Exactly. I was wondering what happened to the great Ijeoma Nwogwugwu and serious truthful journalism. Instead we have to suffer from Aso Rock job and contract seekers and Ovation celebrity worshipers.

  • RumuPHC

    Dear Ijeoma Nwagwuwu,

    Thank you very much for this extremely brilliant article.

    You have clearly exposed the idiosyncrasies of the Presidency and GMD of NNPC including other public opinion analysts who chose to cause distractions rather than confront the real issue of corporate governance in a public corporation.

    Our Constitution and Acts are very clear on many issues. It is just that politicians and public servants fail to read the statutes or arrogantly disregard provisions of laws enacted to guide their conducts while in office. Unfortunately even the public is complicit in this matter.

    As you rightly pointed out , there is need for proper interpretation of our laws. This is the only way we can make progress in Nigeria. I think Lawyers should equally be called upon to enquirer whether there is a position designated as ” Minister of State ” . OBJ equally stated this nonsense!

    Nigeria could probably be close to utopia if politicians and the people can understand and implement just 40% of our statutes from the Constitution to Local Government Bye Laws.

  • Fidelis Arumala

    Dear IJ,

    Thanks for this INSIGHTFUL analysis. This is the most OBJECTIVE intervention thus far from this disgraceful scandal that is set to bring down this government. They have overstayed their welcome.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for this insightful analysis. I strongly believe that there is an impeachable offence at the core of this crisis. There is now the crisis i.e what ‘Baru & Osinbajo (self-confessed approver) did’ AND an attempt to cover up the deed.
    These were 2 of the 3 critical elements of the Watergate Scandal that led to the resignation (to avoid the shame of impeachment) of US President Richard Nixon.
    The 3rd element is a group patriotic & persistent analysts, investigative journalists and civil servants. All we need is to ask the right questions and be PERSISTENT. The violators of our Federation will necessarily crumble at the end. But please beware of being given the ‘Dele Giwa’ treatment.

    • FrNinja

      Impeachable in Nigeria? Nigeria could not get rid of Saraki and his fraudulent Code of Conduct or Dino Melaye. We get the leaders we deserve. Dubious and fraudulent. Buhari’s fake corruption campaign and Pastor Osibanjo’s fake morality have been exposed by the NNPC scandal.

  • James Gunn

    Very very clear. Ebun Adegboruwa over to you. Please sue the hell out of the petroleum minister.

  • Muyiwa Adeboye

    Thank you very much for this very concise report. So far, it is the most enlightening analysis I have read on the Kachikwu/Baru saga.

  • Maria Darego

    Nothing personal!! No sentiments! Just the facts. The best analysis so far since this story broke. And we have not still been told who approved the “contracts” while Buhari was sick in London since the Acting President only approved “Loans”. And with all the “change”, Buhari is running NNPC exactly like Obasanjo and Yar Adua.

  • austin

    Critical analysis, backed by relevant citations.
    Thank you Ijeoma.