Adaku Ufere
4 min readJun 28, 2019

There is a popular African adage, “When two elephants fight, the grass suffers.” And there can be no greater current representation of this than the 2017 conflict between the Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources; Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC); Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru.

Originally published as part of the Centurion Knowledge Series on November 20, 2017

Nigeria’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources was created to develop and implement sound policies that will serve as a back bone for the rapid development of the then burgeoning oil and gas sector. The Ministry is responsible for the articulation, implementation and regulation of policies in the oil and gas sector. It also exercises a supervisory role over the operators and stakeholders, to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in oil and gas. The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, supported by Dr. Kachikwu as Minister of State, who also doubles as Chairman of the Board of NNPC.

The NNPC is the oil corporation through which the federal government of Nigeria regulates and participates in the country’s petroleum industry, and is headed by a Group Managing Director; Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru.

On the 30th of August 2017, a memo from Dr. Kachikwu to President Buhari was leaked. In the memo were detailed complaints about Dr. Baru, ranging from his alleged insubordination and humiliation of Dr. Kachikwu, to his breach of due process in the award of contracts totalling about $24 billion. Dr. Kachikwu stated that the “legal and procedural requirements are that all contracts above $20 million would need to be reviewed and approved by the Board of NNPC”, however none of the contracts as named by Dr. Kachikwu had ever been seen, much less approved by the Board.

Dr. Baru countered, stating he reports directly to the President, and therefore does not need Dr. Kachikwu’s endorsement to approve contracts.

Dr. Kachikwu also alleged in the memo, that he had made several overtures to meet with the President regarding these issues but had been unsuccessful. Following the…

Adaku Ufere

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