Your Excellency Sir,
Following your recent approval on Tuesday June 26th 2012 for the retirement of some members of the executive management team of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), including Group General Manager Engr Austin Oniwon, and appointment of a new management team, headed by Engr. Andrew Yakubu as Group Managing Director of the corporation; we hail your actions, which is in line with the on-going reforms in the petroleum sector.
We also wish to congratulate the new Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Engr Andrew Yakubu on his appointment, as well as other members of the new Board of the corporation. It is our earnest desire that this new team of seasoned and trusted professionals drive the transformation of the corporation into a truly multinational company, and in your Excellency’s words “rapidly implement the critical interventions needed to positively transform Nigeria’s petroleum industry”.
Also, we are aware of the recent loss of lives of some members of staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) respectively in the ill-fated Dana airlines mishap on 3rd June 2012. We wish to by this medium commiserate with your Excellency and with the management and staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), as well as all affected families of that sad event in our nation’s history. We continue to pray that God may grant eternal rest to the souls of the departed.
Sometime around August in 2011, the then Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Engr. Austen Oniwon announced to the consternation of Nigerians that 80% of the over 40,000 Nigerians that sat for the recruitment test of the corporation failed, which leaves 20% representing 8,000 candidates as successful. This result was even more disastrous considering the fact that those who failed where either first class or second class upper degree graduates. Nine months later, the successful candidates who were being interviewed at the time that very inauspicious declaration was made do not know their fate. To fully appreciate the import of the following discourse, Mr President might need to be informed that this recruitment process began in November 2010, when the NNPC announced recruitment positions in the corporation and its subsidiaries.
On the 26th day of March 2011, over 40,000 young, bright and promising Nigerian youths sat for the NNPC’s recruitment test in various locations across the country, having met the stipulated recruitment criteria. Many of these young chaps, had to pass through a lot of rigors in order to write this test. Some had to embark harrowing journeys to make it for the test, others traveled from various parts of the world: Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Australia on personally funded flights. Nothing could better define the enthusiasm of these young ones than the arrival of a newly wedded bride still dressed resplendently in her wedding gown making her way through the crowd to “secure her future”.
Despite these inconveniences, 20% of the candidates – as asserted by no less a person than the GMD himself, braved the odds, passed the test and were invited for interviews. The last batch of successful candidates were interviewed at the NNPC towers between July and September 2011, in a time when the security situation of Nigeria could best be described as tenuous, owing to the bombings by the infamous Boko-Haram sect that were becoming rife. Once again, optimistic Nigerians made the trip to the NNPC towers across lands, air and oceans all at their personal expense.
As is the tradition, account numbers of the interviewees were collected to facilitate payment of their transportation allowances. Over nine months later and the “hopefuls” are still hoping. There is no gain saying that the Phillips Consulting officials and the NNPC senior staff members involved in the recruitment exercise have been paid their allowances, while not even the transportation allowances of the interviewees have been paid. Nine months gone and counting, the hopefuls have been waiting with bated breath for the conclusion of this recruitment process. We are increasingly wary, because the conspiracy of silence on this process forebodes ominous signals as was the case with the 2008 recruitment, which was ingloriously swept under the carpet. The expectations have reached feverish pitch as evidenced by discussions on various online fora on the social media and youth groups created for this purpose.
Similarly, in March 2010 an advert was put up on the National dailies by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for recruitment of qualified persons into various positions in the agency. On 12th of June the same year, an aptitude test was conducted for shortlisted candidates. Subsequently a second test was done on 14th December 2010 and by April to May of 2011, the Department of Petroleum Resources invited successful candidates for oral interviews at its head office No. 7 Kofo Abayomi street, Victoria Island Lagos. It has also been confirmed that the list of successful candidates from this interview has since been approved by the Federal Character Commission in July 2011 for employment. But since then, no communication has been made to the successful candidates.
The question that keeps begging for an answer is: What offense did the Nigerian youth commit? Even though the issue of the fuel subsidy probe has been espoused as a possible excuse for the delays by some, the NNPC/DPR and its parent ministry have gone ahead to present and defend budgets for the year which made provisions for increased manpower. What then is stopping the release of appointment letters to successful interviewees? If the then GMD of NNPC was so quick to denigrate those who in his allusions are pretenders to the degrees they possess, is it not only fair to reward those who proved their mettle?
Also, with the new changes in management of the corporation, it is feared that a new recruitment process might be started all over and which may not be concluded. This has happened in 2008 when a new management was appointed and a new recruitment campaign of 2010 was started, which is still not concluded. Mr President Sir, isn’t this an obvious drain on the nation’s lean resources and a monumental waste of resources appropriated for these recruitments? It is needless to say also that this is a loss of brilliant minds that would drive the corporation to greater heights given the current transformation being pursued in the industry. It is also pertinent to the note that the last successfully concluded recruitment into the NNPC was the campaign 2006. Six years gone, the corporation is yet to successfully conclude a nationwide recruitment process, which should be due every three years giving the annual retirements of staff, thus leaving the corporation grossly understaffed.
The NNPC and her sister organization, the Department of the Petroleum Resources have decided to play the ostrich concerning the recruitment of a few deserving Nigerian youths, whereas in this nation, billions of Naira have gone into sustaining the avarice of a few. It needs some reiteration that it is the career of hardworking, deserving young Nigerians that is being toyed with by a privileged few. The new management of the NNPC should remember that “those whose nuts were cracked by benevolent spirits are morally obliged to others” and we therefore appeal for the approval of the list of successful candidates of the 2010 recruitment.
It is also worthy of note that increased personnel costs were defended by both agencies of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources at the Senate defense hearing. Earlier this year on 2nd February, the Director of the DPR, Mr. Austin Olorunshola, said the department was “about to recruit more staff within the next two weeks”. Also coming from the Minister of Petroleum Resources, “the slight increase in DPR’s recurrent budget represents provisions for anticipated recruitment of new staff to improve the overall effectiveness of the department”. It is however surprising therefore that four months after this promise, new hands are yet to be engaged.
The successful conclusion of this recruitment process or otherwise will call to question the genuineness of Mr. President’s job creation and transformation agenda, which most of the hopefuls bought into, and gave their votes for. It is unjust that in this nation the employment of a few hundred youths has become a matter of contention. So far, the hopefuls have remained calm. We are gentlemen and ladies in the very sense of it. We are responsible professionals/would be professionals, but there is a point to which we can suffer the evil in the land.
We therefore, wish to by this open letter call on the attention of your Excellency Mr President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and all relevant stakeholders of government to our plight. It is our hope that the government, the Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke and management of NNPC lend a listening ear to our plea and respond by a speedy conclusion of this long-running recruitment process and invite successful candidates for training in the spirit of Mr President’s transformation agenda and job creation for the Nigerian youth.
An injustice against the Nigerian youth is one against the nation’s future!
GOD BLESS YOU! GOD BLESS NNPC/DPR! GOD BLESS NNPC/DPR RECRUITMENT HOPEFULS! GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!
NNPC/DPR hopefuls online group A new thread for NNPC Hopefuls
Cc: The Board of Directors of NNPC/DPR Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources Group Managing Director, NNPC Director, DPR