NCDMB Crisis: Who Can Call Minister Lokpobiri To Order By Tunde Ogunsola

After reading an article published in Thisday Newspaper of 5th March 2024 which gave only one side of the story. I became curious and I decided to do some personal investigation as the NCDMB Governing board was only inaugurated just a week ago.

  1. I found out that immediately the former NCDMB Governing board was dissolved by HE President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (PBAT) and the former Executive Secretary ( Simbi Wabote) was removed from office, the Hon. minister of state for petroleum (Senator Logbobiri ) quickly took charge without waiting for the new governing board to be reconstituted; And changed all the former directors , promoted and reshuffled the entire management staff of the NCDMB without following due process, to the extent that staff promoted themselves, some junior staff were promoted or elevated above their superiors and all these created so much confusion and disgruntlement among the staff.
  2. ⁠Prior to the reconstitution of the new Board, the newly elevated said to be close to the Minister , had formed a cartel and a ring around the sidelining the other directors.
  3. As the Group is made to understand, At the announcement of the new Governing board and Appointment of new Executive Secretary by PBAT there was fear among staff especially those staff ( who now occupy new positions ) who have formed a cartel among themselves and felt that their positions where now being threatened. To consolidate their hold they starting sending memos directly to the minister without passing through the ES; to the extent that at one occasion the minister himself had to summon the newly appointed ES to his office to sign internal memo from one of the Managers , which ordinarily should have originated from the ES to the Minister.
  4. It happened that a week after this incident the new Executive Secretary who from my investigation is a seasoned industry player and Engineer who retired from Chevron decided to do some reposting of staff.(see attached memo which Iam preview to see)
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6 This staff reposting by the ES now irked the Hon. Minister of state for Petroleum , who the next day without inviting the ES or calling a council meeting, wrote a letter from his office (copy attached) and sent directly to individual email of all the staff to disregard the instruction of the new executive secretary.

NOW! I see this kind of pushback all the time whenever a technocrat is appointed into most government agencies and they want to a make a change and do things right. Either the Civil Servants fight them or the Politician most time. Remember the Aruma Saga”

HOWEVER,

The Honourable Minister’s inexplicable and shocking response to the Executive Secretary’s routine re-deployment of 6 members of staff of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board is shocking and absurd.

It is expedient that as a public officer and lawyer, records should be set straight for posterity and any misunderstanding in the statutory duties of the Executive secretary of the NCDMB if any, be clarified to facilitate oneness of purpose and collective actualization of the board’s corporate objectives; And for Nigerians to be properly informed, therefore it is important to note the following

  1. For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010 No.2 (The Act), has set out clear governance guidelines and structure in conjunction with the extant Public Service Rules and relevant Public Governance regulations for the realization of the noble objectives defined in the said Act.

Without any iota of ambiguity, the Act in Section 81 (2) (a) intentionally fuses the critical functions of the chief Executive officer (CEO) and the chief Accounting officer of the Board in one entity and in one office, that is the Executive Secretary of the Board. As a matter of fact, he is responsible to the council for the execution of the policies and the administration of the daily affairs of the board. In other words, he is the arrow head for the day to day performance of the powers vested in the Council by Section 75 (a)- (d) of the Act.

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This underscores why the Act makes him the only full time member of the board. Put in common parlance, the executive Secretary will be held accountable by the council for the failure or success in the management of the Board.

  1. It is also pertinent to mention that an essential element of corporate governance in an organization like the board entails an effective and prudent management of people and processes by the chief executive officer for the effective performance of set objectives and for swift service delivery in accordance with the law. Implicit in his statutory duties as the Chief executive officer of the Board is the inherent power to reshuffle or reassign staff from one position to another for optimum and more effective discharge of their responsibilities as the executive secretary may deem necessary. It need be clarified that the duty of the CEO of the board in reshuffling the workforce when necessary to boost performance is diametrically distinct from recruitment or employment, a duty the act, for obvious reasons, as a Public company did not vest in the executive Secretary. And gleaning from the internal memo of the Executive secretary , never recruited any of the 6 staff that were redeployed or whose redeployments were openly reversed in a manner that left a sour taste in the mouth and cast a damning shadow on staff discipline and accountability. The very manner of reversal of an act emanating from the ES statutory duty has a propensity to instigate staff disobedience and confrontation.

The action of the Hon. Minster of state for petroleum, Personally sending a direct memo and email to all staff to disregard the posting by the Executive secretary and CEO is rather unfortunate , hasty and against corporate governance rule . The Hon. Minister of state did not only arrogate the powers and duties of the Chief Executive Officer but of the Council and in fact that of the Minister of Petroleum which is the President. His duty as part time Chairman of board is to give policy guideline and directive at the council level and not manage or micromanage the day to day running and administration of the NCDMB.

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It is pertinent that the Hon. Minister of state for Petroleum quickly reverse himself in order to institute discipline and cohesion in the NCDMB; Most important Now that the president has just issued an oil and gas industry executive order for Eassy of doing business and growing local content and capacity; Less he be seen to be working against the vision of the president and causing embarrassment to the administration.

This kind of rascality must not be allowed in public sector not even in a private one man business .

Mr Ogunsola is a Public Affairs Analyst

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