President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly appointed his personal assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, to supervise a top division at the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Ahmad, 29, recently hustled his way in as the head of the newly-established National Production Monitoring System (NPMS) of DPR – four officials at the presidency and DPR told PeoplesGazette.
“Bashir got the appointment early January, but his documentation took place last week,” a State House official familiar with the appointment said. “It was delayed following the death of one of his friends, Jamilu Ibrahim Shinkafi, in an accident along Bauchi-Nasarawa Road, precisely in Akwanga in Nasarawa.”
The fatal auto crash was said to have occurred whilst the deceased was returning from the wedding of Ibrahim Rabo, an aide to communications minister Isa Pantami on January 31.
“It was the wedding that Bashir was seen amongst those not on face masks,” the official said. “So they deferred the conclusion of his documentation by a week before it was finally concluded last week.”
A DPR official said Bashir Ahmad was gleeful about the appointment, and at one time said in Hausa that he’ll be able to “play his role very well”, despite lacking vital training in hydrocarbon regulations.
Ahmad and a spokesman for DPR did not return calls and text messages from the PeoplesGazette seeking comments on their respective roles in the appointment.
“His appointment at the presidency will expire by 2023,” an official said. “So he would move to DPR as his permanent job by then.”
Another official said those behind Mr. Ahmad’s appointment failed to listen to voices of reason within the presidency about the morality of giving someone two jobs even as most of the country is ravaged by acute unemployment.
“We said it was wrong to favour some people amongst us for the appointment because millions of Nigerian graduates are out there without a job, but they ignored us on the assumption that Nigerians will not know about the appointments,” the official said.
At his DPR position, for which he lacked requisite skills, Mr. Ahmad would oversee compliance by the NNPC, Shell, Chevron, Mobil and other local and multinational oil firms operating in Nigeria.
Utterly bereft of both field and administrative experience in the petroleum sector, Mr. Ahmad, a former Hausa language reporter whose employment record hovers around the media, will manage the NPMS — established in 2019 to monitor Nigeria’s crude oil production from the various oil terminals, while tracking the movement of oil export and import vessels.
Born in Kano, in Nigeria’s northwest on June 10, 1991, Mr. Ahmad graduated from Bayero University in his home state in 2013, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication.
Between 2012 and 2014, he worked as a reporter for local Hausa newspapers Rariya and Muryar Arewa, before joining Leadership Hausa in 2015.
Shortly after joining Leadership, the paper’s flamboyant publisher Sam Nda-Isaiah made him his personal assistant. Shortly after winning the presidential election in 2015, Mr. Buhari picked Mr. Ahmad from the cohort of Nda-Isaiah, who also contested in the presidential primaries of the APC at the time. Mr. Nda-Isaiah died in December.