President Muhammadu Buhari

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Nigeria depends heavily on earnings from crude oil and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is playing a very important role in all the processes of exploration, production and sales of crude oil. And because of the complex nature of the oil industry, professionals in different fields work there. Being a key player in the oil industry, the corporation’s pay package is very attractive, the reason why all manner of devices are employed by those who have a firm grip on the affairs of the company to favour preferred candidates both in employments and promotions.

Currently, the NNPC , according to insiders, has come out with a new policy that ties promotions to advertised vacant positions. Unlike in the past when those who are due for promotion go for interviews, and on satisfying the requirements, are promoted; the new policy requires that the NNPC would publish positions that are vacant, for those who are qualified and desiring to move to the next level to apply. In other words, an individual’s promotion would be technically tied to the existence of a vacancy, and the fears is that, heads of departments where these vacancies would be declared will have their preferred candidates.

The apprehension is that, the new policy would lead to the crowding out of other qualified staff who may not have god fathers who are heading the departments where the vacancies exist – in a system that is highly politicized. It is indeed doubtful if the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has been adequately briefed on the new development and its possible implications, especially to ensuring that those who are dominating the top hierarchy at NNPC do not use their positions to further frustrate Nigerians from other parts of the country.

Although authorities at the company have allayed fears that particular persons would be earmarked for certain positions by their god fathers, who are heads of departments, but insiders are apprehensive that those who in positions will take advantage of the new policy to strengthen their hold on the place while competent staff are marginalized.
Iheanyi Ezinwo is a media executive based in Port Harcourt.