Kachikwu letter exposes mafia in Presidency, embarrasses Buhari; President not aware of dealings by NNPC GMD
A fallout of the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the estranged Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, was the void carefully created in the Presidency between Buhari and most of his cabinet members.
Kachikwu had in a letter to the President in August alleged a cocktail of shady deals being perpetrated by Dr. Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). But the letter never got to the President until it was lavishly reported in the media after it was leaked by a ‘concerned Nigerian’ in the Presidency.
An Aso Rock insider told Political Economist that the publication of the letter which was laced with allegations of corruption and gross insubordination by Baru and a return to the messy ways of opaque dealings in the NNPC was what brought to the attention of Buhari the full details of the simmering rot in the NNPC and the manner the GMD had in concert with a Presidency cabal kept the matter away from the President.
The source said the during the closed door meeting with Kachikwu on Friday, the President, after hearing Kachikwu out, assured the minister of his support and endorsement of the reforms he had established in the oil and gas sector which has led to increased production of crude, relative peace in the Niger Delta and profitability of the NNPC.
Both Buhari and Kachikwu were said to be enraged at the turn of events. The source did not say what action Buhari would take next but he disclosed that the meeting ended on a “very friendly” note as a bitter and angry Kachikwu was pacified by the President.
The source said keeping the letter away from Buhari was part of the grand scheme of the Presidency cabal to continue to call the shots in the Presidency. Members of the cabal had taken advantage of Buhari’s ill-health to control the lever of power in Aso Rock, holding a firm control of NNPC, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Nigeria Customs Service and other revenue-generating agencies.
According to our source, Kachikwu is not the only frustrated cabinet member. Many ministers had been said to be fenced off the President; memos were either delayed or kept away from him by the cabal whom First Lady, Aisha Buhari, recently lashed out at calling them jackals and hyenas.
The outspoken First Lady who had fallen a victim of the manipulations of the cabal several times was said to have voiced out her anger at the cabal during the period of health vacation of the President. Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, is said to be the man in the middle of the divide created between the President and the cabinet members. Kyari is a personal friend of the President and was one of his first appointments. He is trusted by the President and COS to the President, he is the clearing house of all matters including correspondences to Buhari.
But our source said that Mr Kyari, a former banker, may have over-stretched his powers in the Presidency including redlining cabinet members from having access to the President.
The source said all the dealings by Baru were known to Kyari but not all were brought to the attention of Mr. Buhari.
One of the damning allegations by Kachikwu in the letter was the award of several contracts by Baru to the tune of $25 billion without board approval contrary to laid down rules and tenets of best practices. Since his meeting Friday with Buhari, Kachikwu has kept away from the media; preferring not to speak on the outcome and details of the meeting.