The chairman of the Northern Elders’ Council (NEC), Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has accused the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu of deliberately leaking his controversial memo to the media in a bid to create the impression that President Muhammadu Buhari was not serious about adherence to transparency, accountability and due process.
Yakasai, a former presidential adviser, condemned the said memo in which Kachikwu complained to the President of being sidelined by the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, on matters pertaining to insubordination and contract awards in the corporation without recourse to his office as Minister of State and Chairman of the NNPC board.
Yakasai said that given the content of the minister’s letter, particularly the series of grievances which appeared to have accumulated over a long period of time, such grievances should have been conveyed to the Acting President (Yemi Osinbajo) since these issues occurred when the President was away for over three months on medical vacation.
“I am familiar with the happenings at the highest level of governance, both when I was a member of my state executive council for eight years and at national level as a Special Adviser to the President for four years. I know for sure that critical communications at the higher level are not normally done through a third party to avoid leakage of information.
“In view of that, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu’s letter must have been delivered by the Honourable Minister personally to the President himself, thereby eliminating the possibility of a third party knowing the content of such communication.
A leakage in this regard can only come from either Dr. Kachikwu or the President himself. Common sense dictates that the President will not leak such communication to the public, particularly as it was carried by almost all the print media immediately after the letter was submitted to the President.
“My understanding of the issue is that, it is unimaginable to assume the leak of that letter can happen without the knowledge or even consent of the Minister of State or anybody who is the author of such a document.
“My feeling is that the leakage of the letter is simply made to embarrass the President and create an impression that he is not serious about following due process,” he said.
Apparently accusing Kachikwu of acting in bad fate, Yakasai expressed concern that whereas the letter insinuated that Baru may have been involved in some shady deals, the letter did not provide any proof of corrupt practices against the NNPC boss. He argued that to accuse an official of corruption, or any misconduct, justice demanded that there should be evidence to support the claims.
“On matters of insubordination, the Minister of State’s letter did not give sufficient details to enable an informed judgement by anyone on this matter.
However, according to the Public Service Rules, any case of insubordination should be immediately reported to the appropriate authority for action. There is no indication that the minister has reported the insubordination of the GMD of NNPC to the appropriate quarters,” he said.
Yakasai described the allegation that the NNPC GMD sidelined the Minister of State as baseless, arguing that the Public Procurement Act of 2007, enacted during the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo, alienated the Ministers and the Board of Federal Government parastatals in the award of contract.