By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Northern Parliament has demanded answers from President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Sylva why the appointment of Alhaji Mahmood Adamu Atta into the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is alleged to have been changed by power brokers and replaced with someone whom they say is of a questionable character.
The group expressed this during a press conference held at its office in Kaduna on Thursday July 9, 2020, where it warned that such replacement will further lead to credence that important elements of governance is eroding the five-year administration of President Buhari.
Speaker of the Parliament, Comrade Awwal Abdullah Aliyu, who read the text of the briefing which was jointly signed by him and the Secretary, Engr Musa Idris, said that the announcement of Adamu Atta on the board of NNPC gave Nigerians hope that the ugly downward slide of the present administration was being reversed.
“Gentlemen of the press, it is no gain saying that our country is at a cross road in terms of the social contract between the current 5-year-old administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian people.
“Trust, that all important elements of governance is gradually eroding this administration that was ushered in with fanfare, high hopes and the expectation of much needed fresh air.
“An attempt was made to reverse the ugly trend by halting the downward slide of the image of the administration by its recent appointments which includes bringing hardworking, honest,affluent Nigerians with unshakable integrity into the different roles to help the President in shaping the affairs of some agencies and parastatals that have acquired notoriety in the eyes of the public over the years-thus entered the appointment of Alhaji Mahmood Adamu Atta into the board of the Nigerian National PetroleumCorporation (NNPC), along with other distinguished Nigerians raising hope that at last thepresident has found the magic wand to rid the agency saddled with the mandate of injecting live into the national economy of ineptitude, underhand dealings andshortchanging of the nation in terms of revenue accrual,” the Northern Parliament said.
The group explained that Alhaji Adamu Mahmoud Atta, a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University with a Post graduate degree from University of California, USA,needs very little introduction.
“He comes with a solid and comfortable private sector affluence, an enigmatic family name and unrivalled open heart for philanthropy.
“This quintessential fellow has been and still is Chief Executive Officer of MATAD Group Nigeria Ltd,member Board of WAPIC Insurance PLC and a long-standing Member of the Nigerian Business Forum.
“Alhaji Atta has made his mark as entrepreneur and job creator in the last 35 years among which are the creation/establishment of critical job offering outfits for thousandsof Nigerians such as:
1.University of Technology in Okene Kogi State
2. Cement factory with some Chinese partners in Itobe, Kogi State
3. Fifth Chucker (One of the most outstanding recreational tourist industry in Nigeria)
“We of the Northern Parliament,make bold to say that Alh.Attah stands shoulder-to-shoulder with his contemporary industrialists anywhere in Nigeria today.
“Alh. Atta is the harbinger of succor to the protracted indigent Nigerian youth including the ‘Almajiri’syndrome in Northern Nigeria,he and his team of likeminds built thelargest model Orphans and less privileged children plus Almajiri Primary Schools located in Kakangi village in Kaduna State, the school has a student carrying capacity of12 thousand, 480 classes and 1,440 teachers all camped in the school.
“The project has so far gulped more than N1.2 Billion Naira and counting,” the group informed.
They said that they went to this length to show and lay the background that will substantiate their next statements.
“Alhaji Adamu Atta in all modestyis a very comfortable Nigerian; with a pedigree like his, it is beyond him to seek petty favor nor engage in unnecessary bickering over an appointment into a board in Nigeria.
“A situation where the president of Nigeria, reaches out to ask for an individual to perform some national service requires that such a gesture be dignified with acceptance, this wasthereason why when Alhaji Atta was approached with the President’s request, he obliged in a show of respect and support and willingness to be of service to the President and motherland.
“We are here today to address you on the unfortunate development regarding the appointment of Alhaji Atta making the rounds on social circles, that his name has beenremoved from the list of appointees signed by the media aide to the President as published.
“That in his place, a certain Mrs.Lami Ahmed Onayi will now be the board member.
“Incredibly baffling as this may sound, we are of the thinking that certain elements are at work to derail a genuine effort of the Buhari administration by making sinister moves to affect this change and bring in a questionable character, who by all reckoning, does not qualify to be on the board of the NNPC,” they asserted.
The Northern Parliament argued that due to conflict of interest asshe is a key player in the petroleum industry, owner of a petrolstation)let alone stand as replacement for the erudite Alhaji Atta.
“The doctrine of conflict of interest says one cannot be a judge in his own case!!!
“This unfortunate action if at all true,is coming at a time when the Northern Parliament and Nigerians were rejoicing over the vision of our President, Muhammadu Buhari on the reconstitution of a new board for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)and its combination of Technocrats and Politicians to reposition the Corporation for growth and prosperity as the hub of the Nigerian economy,” they submitted.
They continued by saying, “In the light of the aforementioned,the Northern Parliament, a group of concerned professionals and academics from the North is asking the Powerbrokers if this is trueand what went wrong?
“If competence, experience,selflessness is the key consideration for bringing people tosupport the efforts of Government,why would this administration allow its name and reputation to be dragged in the mud? Why would Alhaji Mahmoud Atta who did notlobby for the job be appointed and then other outlet will truncate such appointment just to spite him?”
“The Northern Parliament therefore, asks what are the offences of Alh.Atta?
“Why deprive a man with such a distinguished background, coming from the highly revered Atta Ibrahim Royal family of Ebiraland,the opportunity to contribute towards charting the path of progress for the NNPC and the oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria?” They queried.
They said that as such, the Northern Parliament and Nigerians demand answers.
“Therefore, we call on the Authority and leaders to always be wary of those who for their personal interests will truncate any genuine efforts at moving Nigeria forward particularly at a time when Nigeria needs to leverage on its best hands and brains at this period when lowoil price has the potentials to make the country attractive for oil and Gas Industry investments that looks to the future; this where people like Alhaji Atta are most needed.
“Northern Parliament therefore,calls on President Muhammadu Buhari as Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Minister of State to take a closer look at what is happening with their efforts at reengineering the petroleum sector less their hardwork pales into insignificance.
“Even as we deliver this open letter to Mr.President, it is worthy of note that since the new presidential statement announcing his nomination to the Board of NNPC was made public, as authorized by Mr. President, there has no tbeen a counter-statement announcing the withdrawal of his nomination.Who then has dared to change a presidential directive?
“Nigerians deserve answers to thesequestions,” they further probed.
The group called on President Buhari to come out clear on the controversy.
“We therefore, call on the President as the father of the nation,to use his revered office to correct any anomaly if any,in the appointment of Alhaji Mahmoud Atta as member of the board of NNPC as announced,” they concluded.