Bad Market! DPR Boss, Sarki Auwalu, Dumped By President Muhammadu Buhari, Blacklisted From NPRA Top Job

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Bad Market! DPR Boss, Sarki Auwalu, Dumped By President Muhammadu Buhari, Blacklisted From NPRA Top Job

Bad Market! DPR Boss, Sarki Auwalu, Dumped By President Muhammadu Buhari, Blacklisted From NPRA Top Job
October 06
06:19 2021

• How Addax Petroleum scandal cost Auwalu the lucrative opening

Sarki Auwalu is like a rusted fender on the automobile of the incumbent government – tarnished and undeserving of mud flap. The head honcho of the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR), was recently tossed aside like a shriveled citrus rind, dried of juice and nutrients, by President Muhammadu Buhari. The latter suddenly withdrew Auwalu as a nominee for the position of the Director-General (DG) of the new Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NPRA).

Auwalu was undoubtedly gobsmacked. To be denied such a position of eminence, widely acknowledged as a promising meal ticket, is like going to hell without having to die first.

The DPR boss nearly became the first DG of the NPRA, a job that would have seen him controlling hydrocarbons distribution and transportation.

Even though President Buhari initially nominated Auwalu for the role, he subsequently changed his mind, and wrote to the Senate at the end of September, proposing that the job goes to Farouk Ahmed, NNPC boss, Mele Kyari’s former downstream adviser.

Ahmed was one of those responsible for setting up talks on the construction of a gas pipeline between Nigeria and Morocco.

Auwalu’s position was weakened in May 2021 as a result of his involvement in the row over the decision to revoke the mining licenses of Addax Petroleum, a subsidiary of China’s Sinopec group.

Despite enjoying the backing of the Secretary of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva, the DPR boss lost the battle over the licenses, which got restored to Addax – thanks to the pressure applied by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) boss, Mele Kyari.

Through the impasse, Kyari, reportedly enjoyed the backing of President Buhari, the titular head of the petroleum ministry since 2015.

It would be recalled that Auwalu, in a surprise move, revoked OMLs 123, 124, 126, and 137 from Addax Petroleum in March, thus incurring the wrath of the presidency.

One month later, President Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, issued a statement to say that the head of state had overruled the DPR’s decision to award the blocks to Kaztec Engineering and Salvic Petroleum on the basis that only the Nigeria National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) has the authority to do so. Buhari then announced on April 27, that the licenses had been restored to Addax, a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned group Sinopec.

But Auwalu, close to Kaztec and Salvic, run by billionaires Emeka Offor and Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka “ABC” Orjiako respectively, came up against another much more powerful network crowned by NNPC’s Group Managing Director (GMD), Mele Kyari, and Buhari himself.

Auwalu lost to the Kyari’s more surefooted network but the matter certainly didn’t end there.

Interestingly, however, soon after Nigeria revoked the four licenses: OML 123, 124, 126, and 137 held by Addax Petroleum because it failed to carry out work on the licenses, DPR head, Sarki Auwalu, announced that the government had returned the licenses to its former Chinese owners.

In truth, however, the DPR never returned the oil blocs to the Chinese operators, rather, it sold ownership of the licenses to Emeka Offor’s Kaztec Engineering and ABC Orjiakor’s Salvic Petroleum Resources at 20 percent and 29 percent respectively.

Excitedly, the duo committed to their acquisitions with lofty expectations of making extreme profit from their ventures; in time, they hoped to acquire higher stakes and thus increase their profits. They were euphoric about their presumed shrewdness and ability to collude with the DPR and certain backers within the presidency to outwit the Chinese investors.

But unknown to Offor and Orjiakor, they were in for a rude shock. Contrary to their belief, they were in fact the outwitted ones. The underlying intrigues and truth of the transaction made them look like piteous dunderheads who were beaten at their own game.

To their chagrin, Offor and Orjiakor discovered that despite their presumed sagacity and business intelligence, they had been bested by a younger man, 37-year-old Abdullahi Haske, who acquired 51 percent of the oil blocs.

Haske is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of AA&R Investments, an indigenous oil exploration major, credited with finding oil in Bauchi State. He is also involved in marine services, aviation, engineering, and agriculture investments.

There is no gainsaying Offor and Orjiakor got schooled on the pernicious intrigues of crafty, cutthroat enterprise. Asides from the heartbreak of watching their fantasies of making filthy lucre crash in the dust, both men were peeved that they got outwitted and outclassed by a much younger Haske.

Further findings revealed that 37-year-old Haske, who is, by all means, their senior partner and superior enjoys the backing of more powerful actors in the presidency at whose intervention, he was able to acquire the largest stake of the controversial oil blocs.

At 37, Haske has certainly established his dominance over Offor and Orjiakor, even though they are much older and had been around for a longer period, doing business in the country’s oil sector.

It would be recalled that Haske enjoyed the backing of the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, the late Maikantu Baru, who reportedly made him the billionaire stakeholder in the oil sector. In the wake of Baru’s demise, Haske has appreciated in stature, business, and political connections. He is untouchable too hence Mele Kyari, the current GMD of the NNPC finds it extremely difficult to curtail him.


Photos: Tinubu Return From UK


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