…there can be no doubt that Mele Kyari is a true hero of our time, a leader of unparalleled vision and courage, and a man whose matchless exploits have transformed the Nigerian oil and gas industry for the better. His legacy will endure for generations to come, inspiring others to follow in his footsteps and build on his remarkable achievements. As Nigeria looks to the future under a brand-new government, men like Mele Kyari will remain relevant and crucial to the delivery of good governance and continuity.
As a new dispensation dawns, it is no surprise that certain people have started to eye certain positions, more out of lust for lucre than thirst for service. And if the targets of the smear campaigns are too kind, too aloof or too pure to return the salvo, it is left to us lesser mortals to paint the true picture of things for the incoming president and the discerning public to judge.
No scheme could be more devious than the attempt to tarnish one’s character by fabricating falsehoods to mislead the populace. No crime more heinous than dressing men of integrity in borrowed robes of mud to destroy their reputation. No venture more laughable than the vain campaign to stain the snow-white elegance of Mr Mele Kyari, the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
It is no news that the river of envy tries to overtake where the stream of accolades flow. Men of honour and outstanding legacies find their every step dogged by the spurious cries of vocal hacks whose inks are donated by bogus paymasters. Yet a firm and indefatigable character like Mele Kyari stands aloof from the noise, cocooned in the halo of achievements too numerous to recount.
In the tumultuous and often turbulent energy sector, nobody stands higher than Mele Kyari during his tenure so far. As the group managing director of the apex oil and gas corporation, Kyari has spearheaded a transformative effort to revolutionise the way the nation produces and distributes its most vital resource.
From the moment he assumed this position at the helm of the NNPC, Kyari has been driven by a fierce sense of purpose and an unshakable commitment to excellence. He knew that the challenges he faced were immense, but he also knew that he had the vision, the expertise, and the determination to overcome them.
And so, he set to work, implementing a series of bold and innovative reforms that have transformed the sector beyond recognition. Under his leadership, the NNPC has become a beacon of hope and a model of excellence.
But what, precisely, has Kyari achieved at the NNPC? Let’s solve this question once and for all through this prolonged snapshot of his tenure. One hopes after perusing the vast array of colossal moves from Mele Kyari, the nattering nabobs of negativity and falsehood will recoil forever into their dim dungeons of silence!
Shall we talk about his role in eroding Nigeria’s long-standing dependence on imported petroleum products? For decades, we have been forced to import the vast majority of our fuel from abroad, at great expense and greater pains.
Kyari recognised that this was a problem that needed to be solved, and he set to work with a fierce determination to make it happen. Under his leadership, the NNPC has undertaken a massive effort to revamp and upgrade its refining capacity, with the ultimate goal of achieving self-sufficiency in the production of petroleum products.
Nigeria’s refineries are being brought back to life after years of neglect and disrepair, with significant investments in maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. We can witness the ongoing rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery, which has been non-functional for several years due to poor maintenance and the lack of investment. Under Kyari’s leadership, the NNPC has entered into a partnership with Italian oil company, Eni, to rehabilitate and upgrade the refinery, with a target of achieving full production capacity by 2023.
In addition to the Port Harcourt refinery, Kyari also initiated the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Warri and Kaduna refineries. When completed, the collective capacity of these refineries will slow down our rate of fuel importation to a trickle. It will save billions for the government, decrease the burden on petroleum marketers, and spare the common folk the agony of incessant fuel price hikes.
In addition, Kyari has overseen the implementation of a number of innovative initiatives designed to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of NNPC’s operations. These include the establishment of a new trading subsidiary, the creation of a new crude oil marketing division, and the implementation of a new performance management system.
The NNPC is famously known to be long on empty talk and short on transparency. Not anymore. Under the able leadership of Mele Kyari, the company has taken significant steps towards enhancing accountability in the industry, by publishing monthly financial and operational reports.
These reports provide detailed information on the organisation’s operations, including revenue, expenditure, and production figures. This level of transparency is unprecedented in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and has been hailed as a significant step towards promoting a culture of disclosure and openness, and fighting corruption.
Kyari’s vision goes beyond the transformation of the nation’s refining capacity. He has also been an advocate for the development of our vast natural gas resources, promoting the use of gas as a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
Under his leadership, the NNPC has embarked on a massive effort to increase domestic gas utilisation, with the aim of diversifying the nation’s energy mix and reducing its carbon footprint. This has involved the development of new gas infrastructure, the expansion of existing facilities, and the promotion of gas-based industries, such as petrochemicals and fertilisers.
These efforts have yielded impressive results, with Nigeria now the largest producer of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in Africa, and one of the top 10 producers globally. The nation’s gas reserves, estimated at over 200 trillion cubic feet, provide a huge opportunity for growth and development, and Kyari is determined to ensure that Nigeria takes full advantage of this potential.
Shall we talk about Kyari’s burning desire to helm the industry with Nigerians at all levels through local content development? He believes that the industry’s growth and development should be driven by Nigerians, and has taken significant steps to promote local participation.
Under his direction, the NNPC has launched several initiatives, including the Nigerian Petroleum Exchange (NPEX), a platform for trading Nigerian crude oil and other petroleum products, and the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCIF), a $200 million fund aimed at supporting the development of local content in the industry.
Shall we talk about his devotion to the development of renewable energy in Nigeria? Kyari believes that the nation’s vast renewable energy resources, including solar, wind, and hydropower, provide a huge opportunity for growth and development, and has been working to promote their utilisation.
The Kyari-led NNPC has launched several renewable energy initiatives, including the development of a 20 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Kaduna State, and the commissioning of a 7.5 MW solar power plant at the NNPC’s headquarters in Abuja.
Kyari has worked tirelessly to promote transparency, accountability, and good governance in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. He was a vocal advocate for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), a comprehensive reform package aimed at overhauling the industry’s regulatory framework and promoting investment and growth.
After years of delay, the PIB was finally passed into law in August 2021, marking a major milestone in the history of the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Kyari was among the stakeholders who worked tirelessly to ensure the passage of the bill, and his efforts were instrumental in its success.
The PIB has already wrought significant changes, with provisions for the unbundling of the NNPC, the creation of new regulatory bodies, and the promotion of local content and investment. It is expected to attract significant investment into the Nigerian energy segment, creating jobs, promoting growth, and enhancing the nation’s energy security.
One of his most notable accomplishments is the achievement of full payment of Nigeria’s joint venture cash call arrears to international oil companies (IOCs), amounting to $5.1 billion. This feat was achieved through the introduction of the Alternative Funding Approach (AFA), which replaced the previous cash call payment model.
The AFA model allowed for the utilisation of NNPC’s own funds to finance its share of joint venture operations, thereby reducing the country’s reliance on external borrowing and increasing the flow of investment into the industry. This model has since become a blueprint for other oil-producing countries in Africa.
Another important feather in his cap is the successful negotiation of the OPEC+ production cut agreement, which has helped stabilise global oil prices and boosted Nigeria’s revenue from crude oil sales. This agreement, which was signed in April 2020, saw Nigeria agree to cut production by 417,000 barrels per day, a significant reduction that helped balance global oil markets and protect the country’s revenue.
Kyari’s innovative approach to the management of Nigeria’s oil and gas resources has also led to the discovery of new oil and gas reserves in the country. In 2021, the NNPC announced the discovery of oil and gas reserves in the Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
This discovery, which was made under Kyari’s leadership, has been described as a significant milestone in the nation’s quest to achieve self-sufficiency in oil and gas production, and a boost to the economy.
It has been said that a man’s peers are the best barometers of his success. They are the ones who know him intimately and have witnessed his deeds and words in the most varied circumstances. In this vein, it is instructive to note that Mele Kyari is the toast of assorted stakeholders and industry watchers. Talk to the average Joe in oil and gas and watch admiration for the NNPCL boss suffuse the atmosphere like rain on a chilly April morning.
Kyari’s contemporaries have arrayed him with numerous garlands for his exceptional performance and dedication to excellence. In 2020, he was recognised with the prestigious Forbes Best of Africa Award, which recognises the achievements of outstanding African business leaders who are driving economic growth and development on the continent.
He was also recognised by the African Leadership Magazine as the African CEO of the Year 2020, a testament to his leadership and the success of his reforms in the NNPC. The International Association of Energy Economics (IAEE) also recognised his transformative leadership style with the “Outstanding Contribution to the Energy Industry Award” in 2021.
Kyari’s matchless exploits as the NNPC boss keep attracting attention and plaudits from far and near. In 2021, he was recognised as the African Energy Executive of the Year by the African Energy Chamber, a testament to his commitment to excellence and innovation.
He was also recognised by the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition (NOG) with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Of course, the road to success has not been without its challenges. Kyari has had to contend with a number of obstacles and setbacks, including a concerted campaign of calumny waged against him and his colleagues by a group of malicious mischief-makers.
But Kyari has not been deterred by these challenges. He has remained steadfast in his commitment to excellence, and has continued to push forward with his transformative agenda despite the odds.
And the results speak for themselves. Under intense pressure and scrutiny, the NNPC has become a world-class institution, capable of competing with the best and brightest in the global energy industry. Its employees are dedicated, skilled, and motivated, and its operations are efficient, effective, and sustainable.
In the end, there can be no doubt that Mele Kyari is a true hero of our time, a leader of unparalleled vision and courage, and a man whose matchless exploits have transformed the Nigerian oil and gas industry for the better. His legacy will endure for generations to come, inspiring others to follow in his footsteps and build on his remarkable achievements. As Nigeria looks to the future under a brand-new government, men like Mele Kyari will remain relevant and crucial to the delivery of good governance and continuity.
Kunle Awosika wrote from Abuja.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999