For the second time in 18 months, Nigeria has fired the group managing director of the state hydrocarbon company, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation NNPC. The latest appointee to the insecure position is Mohammed Barkindo, a former Acting Secretary General of the elite Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC). Mr Barkindo, who was Coordinator of Special Duties at the NNPC, took over from his boss, Lawal Yar’adua.
The appointment, though made by President Umar Yar’adua, took place less than a month into the appointment of Mr Rilwanu Lukman, as minister of Petroleum. Businessday, Nigeria’s influential financial daily, interpretes it as a Lukman move, but Mr Barkindo has operated at the very top echelon of Nigerian oil industry for some time. He was at various times head of the London office of the NNPC, Deputy Managing Director at the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited and Managing Director of Hyson and Carlson, a joint venture between Vitol and the NNPC, which lifts more than a quarter million barrels of Nigeria’s crude oil daily. The new NNPC chief holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, and an MBA from South-eastern University in Washington DC.