Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
Thousands of applicants, who were shortlisted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to fill positions for the experienced cadre, have written an open letter to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), alleging foul play.
The applicants said while those who applied as graduate trainees had already been employed, others who applied for the experienced category had not been contacted by the NNPC since June 2019 when they sat exams.
The letter read in part, “In March 2019, the then NNPC GMD, Dr Maikanti Baru (now deceased) with his management team that included the current GMD, Mallam Mele Kyari, through various national newspapers, placed advertisements welcoming applications to vacancies in different positions involving graduate trainees and experienced hires after the needs assessment of the corporation.
“By June 1, 2019, a CBT aptitude test was conducted nationwide for the over 60,000 candidates shortlisted in an open and transparent manner monitored by leading television stations. After assessment, about 10,000 candidates passed the test and were scheduled for interviews between July 1 and 10, 2019 at the NNPC Towers Abuja conducted by the different corporation’s technical panels.”
The applicants said the seamless communication and engagement from the NNPC management at the initial stages were commendable, but things began to change after Kyari took over, as no one communicated with them any longer.
They said on February 14, 2020, the NNPC management released the outcome of the interview for only the graduate trainees titled: ‘External Communication on 2019/2020 Recruitment’, where it was mentioned that the experienced component of the recruitment would be addressed in due course.
The applicants said several attempts by civil society organisations to get the NNPC to complete the exercise proved abortive, while advertorials and open letters to Kyari were ignored.
The letter further read, “The GMD, Mallam Mele Kyari, appeared on the monthly webinar programme, the June edition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, and several questions about this lingering incomplete recruitment were posed.
“He responded that the ‘experienced hire candidates will be contacted as soon as possible’. Your Excellency, till date, this pledge has not been fulfilled and still (there’s) no communication or any form of contact with the affected candidates, who are very qualified Nigerian young professionals, who have been assessed and interviewed by the highest technical organ of the corporation itself.”
They said they had taken to Twitter to inform the President; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, and the matter had generated over 10,000 tweets, but all their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
The applicants said several months after, there had been no progress and they began hearing that secret recruitment had taken place and only the relatives of Very Important Persons were hired.
In a desperate plea, they called on the President to live up to his promise to curb corruption by ensuring that the process was transparently completed.
A text message sent to the Manager, Public Affairs, NNPC, Kenny Obateru, had not yet been responded to as of the time of filing this report.