Fuel crisis: Demand by Reps members, CSOs to sack Kyari not justified – Skymark Energy and Power boss
…says, our leaders cannot be slandered from duties by cheap blackmails, false allegations
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Skymark Energy and Power, Muhammad Saleh Hassan, has upbraided the call by 52 House of Representatives members and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to sack the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPCL), Malam Mele Kyari.
In a statement in Abuja at the weekend, Hassan described the call which was allegedly made during a world press conference on Tuesday, as a cheap blackmail to rubbish the apparent good jobs that Kyari has been doing since he came to the helm of affairs of the company.
He urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to discard the call and remain focused on leveraging the potentials of technocrats like Kyari in running his government.
“First of all, let me congratulate Tinubu on his victory at the Supreme Court that has validated his election as the president of this country. I hereby call on him to discard the call to sack Kyari, but remain focused on maximising his potentials to manage the nation’s oil giant, the NNPCL,” Hassan said.
He added that the allegation that Kyari is responsible for fuel scarcity and hike in fuel price did not hold water because Kyari is not in the position to reduce fuel price and stabilise it at an affordable price.
“This is market. NNPCL is a limited company. It buys and sells fuel at profit just like any other company. So, Mele Kyari/NNPCL is competing with AA Rano and AA Rano is competing with NNPCL. NNPCL is also competing with Skymark Energy and Power and vice versa. All oil companies import fuel and sell at profit. So, fuel price is a competition among NNPCL and all oil marketers,” Hassan said.
He added: “The current market realities have nothing to do with government or any individual. So, the call to sack Kyari is not justified because the market realities in the oil sector are a global trend.”
The Skymark boss urged the Reps members and CSOs collaborators to first of all do their home work very well and understand the realities instead of outright call for Kyari’s sack.
“Kyari is not the cause of the current hardship in the country. Hardship has been a current decimal in this country. Kyari does not have control over prices of commodities or inflation. He is not the president. He is only the head of a limited company. Even, President Tinubu is not to blame because he met the economy in a shambles and trying his best to fix it,” Hassan stressed.
While still absolving Kyari of blame, Hassan noted: “Kyari is just the GCEO of NNPCL which is a limited liability company. He didn’t introduce fuel subsidy. He met it after it was put in place by a previous governments and he wasn’t the one that removed it. Everything about subsidy has been by government’s decision.
“Even, President Tinubu is not to blame for removing the subsidy because the budget he inherited had no provision for it, neither is NNPCL, Kyari nor government is to blame for the removal of the subsidy. Rather, the populace should support them to be able to actualise the dividends and benefits of the subsidy removal.”
Hassan pointed out that the current fuel price in the country which is in the neighbourhood of N680/N700 per litre is still the cheapest, compared to the prices in Saudi Arabia, UK, US , including oil -producing countries.
“So, calling for the sack of Mele Kyari is a disservice to the country and a huge discouragement to other creditable performers who are supposed to be encouraged to do more or improve in any area they need to improve upon,” he noted.
“It is crystal-clear that Kyari’s track record right from when he was GMD of NNPCL till now that he is the GCEO indicates that he has been doing creditably well. He brought transformation to the company which gave it the current status as a liability (profit-oriented) company.
Hassan said that Kyari’s achievements so far spoke volume.
“As part of Kyari’s efforts to make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products, NNPC signed the $1.5bn Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) Contract Agreement with Tecnimont SpA on April 6, 2021, for total rehabilitation of Port Harcourt Refinery.
“I have never seen any NNPC GMD that went all the way to the Niger Delta creeks to monitor oil activities or held meetings with community leaders in the creeks to guide against oil theft. But Kyari did that several times till he brought oil theft to a considerable control. He has held meetings several times with youths in the creeks to discourage them from pipeline vandalism.
“Before then, oil theft had hit an unprecedented 101.05 million barrels figure in 2016. In his efforts to unravel oil theft, when Kyari came in as GMD in 2019, he instituted a multi-security control room handled by the NNPCL. All the assets of the company were connected to the command-and-control centre. The centre was responsible for monitoring, locating, and reporting nefarious activities to various security agencies for intervention. The effort led to oil production increase to 1.6 million barrels per day by the end of 2022,” Hassan stressed.
“With its status as a limited company, Kyari as GCEO is like a normal CEO of a company and does not enjoy anything special from government. He is just the head of a public organisation just like me as the CEO of my company Skymark Energy and Power.
While lauding Kyari’s acceptability and creditable stewardship, Hassan said: “There was a loud ovation in the industry when he was appointed GMD in August 2019, following his track record of transparency and experience. Stakeholders lauded his appointment, describing him as a round peg in a round hole.
“Four years after, Kyari did not disappoint. No scandal has been linked to him since he came on board, and he has continued to demonstrate leadership and tenacity despite the challenges creeping the nation’s oil industry.
“I call on not only President Tinubu but also Nigerians to disregard the call to sack Kyari because no new person has the magic wand to solve the problem in the oil sector, except government’s and Kyari’s ongoing efforts to transform it by refurbishing the three refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri.”
Hassan who also condemned the call to sack Kyari noted: “The House of Reps has House Committees on oil and gas for the downstream and upstream sectors in the NNPCL which should follow the normal process of investigating the problem, rather than 52 Reps members to collaborate with CSOs to call for the sack of the head of a the nation’s oil giant whose appointment followed a due process.”
“The House Committee on Ethics is supposed to address the anomaly to ensure that the right thing is done and also guide them very well so that the House is not brought into disrepute,” the Skymark Energy and Power boss said.
“My advice to the legislators is to concentrate on their legislative duties and not to distract the president with false allegations against NNPCL/Kyari or any head of government agency or executive. It’s time for us to support the president’s renewed hope agenda to rebuild our country., he stressed.
He added: “Nigeria is facing a great trial and economic challenges. We cannot be slandered from our duties by cheap blackmails and false allegations against our leaders at a time when we are working to restore our people’s confidence and trust in government.”
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a great thinker and believes in working with a think tank to run his government. He’s has been assembling technocrats. Kyari has been a think tank phenomenon in the oil sector. So, nobody can just wake up suddenly and expects a president who needs technocrats to run his government to sack a technocrat like Kyari,” Hassan noted.
“During the conference, the Reps members and CSOs called for an comprehensive investigation into the root causes of the recurrent fuel problems. Why then did they not call for the investigation first of all before going ahead to call for Kyari’s outright sack? That is putting the cart before a horse,” Hassan noted.
He, however called on Kyari to remain focused and steadfast in his assignments.
“He should remain unruffled because the criticisms and allegations against him are cheap blackmail. He should keep doing his best until the best for this country is achieved in the oil sector through his midas touch.” Hassan said.
He added: “Kyari deserves continuity in office, not only because of the avalanche of his achievements but also for the purpose of consistency and the fact that he still has much more on his sleeve to deliver and achieve more results. Bringing a new GCEO to the NNPCL other than Kyari who has adequate industry experience can only bring a setback to the nation’s oil industry. It takes an expert and experienced brain like Kyari who has all the skills to salvage the industry and galvanise the desired result that we are all yearning for.