What You Need to Know About NNPC & Group Managing Directors

Current Logo of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)

Nigeria’s state-owned oil firm, NNPC Limited, operates for profit. It started as a government-owned corporation and converted to a limited liability company in July 2022. In Nigeria, the petroleum industry is monopolised by NNPC Limited. It forms alliances with international oil firms to develop Nigeria’s petroleum reserves. In 1977, the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum and Energy Resources merged to form the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation or NNPC. The joint venture between the Nigerian federal government and many international multinational businesses, including Royal Dutch Shell, Agip, ExxonMobil, TotalEnergies, Chevron, and Texaco (now merged with Chevron), is legally managed by NNPC. The government of Nigeria collaborates with these corporations to explore and produce petroleum. The Head of Transparency International in Nigeria argued in 2007 that NNPC pay was too low to deter corruption.

NNPC’s main office is located in Abuja, at the towers bearing the company’s name. The complex, which features four parallel skyscrapers, can be found on Herbert Macaulay Way in Abuja’s Central Business District. Lagos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri are all home to NNPC zone offices. The London, UK headquarters serves as the organisation’s international headquarters. NNPC said in October 2019 that it had inked a $2.5 billion pre-payment deal with Nigeria LNG for upstream gas development projects. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for N621 billion was signed between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd in December 2021 to fund the development of vital highways in Nigeria. The government of Nigeria declared on July 18, 2022, that NNPC would “operate as a commercial entity without relying on government funding and direct controls,” following the approval of a fossil fuel industry reform bill in August 2021. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was formed as a limited liability corporation (LLC) to gain access to foreign financial markets more easily. Distribution and sales of fuel in Nigeria would still be under the company’s purview, but the government will handle fuel subsidies.

Former Logo of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)

Former Logo of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)

Past & Present Group Managing Directors of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, from 1977 to date

Festus Remilekun Ayodele Marinho (July 1977 – April 1980)

Festus Remilekun Ayodele Marinho was born to Gregory Latunde and Janet Idowu on December 30, 1934, in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. He attended elementary and middle school in Kaduna and Jos, Nigeria’s Northern Region, before graduating from St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos. In June of 1960, he earned a Bachelor of Science with Special Honors in Physics from University College, Ibadan. Two years later, in 1961, he earned a Diploma from Imperial College, London, in Petroleum Reservoir Engineering. Marinho started working in the Hydrocarbons Section of the Ministry of Mines and Power and Lagos Affairs in 1960, two years before Nigeria gained independence. He quickly moved up the ranks and eventually became the first Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (1977–1980) and later the Group Managing Director again (1984–1985). From the time that Nigeria was declared an oil province with an initial output of around 50,000 barrels per day to its established potential of more than 2.5 million barrels, Marinho was at the forefront of the establishment of policies and practised in the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria, determining the evolution of the industry. He is widely regarded as having paved the road for many people to enter and succeed in the sector by advocating for its Nigerianization. Among the many difficulties he had in the line of duty was being held prisoner by terrorist Carlos the Jackal in December 1975 when he was a member of the Nigerian delegation to Opec in Vienna. Carlos, in his unique way, managed to bond with the terrorist leader, eventually resulting in the handover of what appeared to be “his bullet” in exchange for the hostages’ freedom. He has received numerous accolades and distinctions, such as the rank of Officer in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Chief Feyide Gold Medal for his contributions to Africa’s petroleum industry.

Odoliyi Lolomari (April 1980 – August 1981)

During his time at the helm, Odoliyi Lolomari represented Nigeria in OPEC as Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Lolomari has worked in the petroleum sector for more than half a century. He helped establish the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian National Oil Company (NNOC). Lolomari has membership in the Institute of Petroleum in London and the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society. His formal education includes a physics degree from the University of London and a diploma in oil technology from Imperial College (DIC), London. He has been a member of the Board of Directors at Notore Chemical Industries Plc since April 27, 2007, as a non-executive director.

Lawrence Amu (1981 – November 1985)

Lawrence Amu was born on December 23, 1933. Between 1981 and 1985, he held the position of General Managing Director at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The date of his passing was August 26, 2019.

Aretanekhai Godwin Adams (1985 – April 1990)

Aretanekhai Godwin Adams attended Edo College in Benin City (1952–1957), University College (now University of Ibadan) in Ibadan (1958–1960), and the University of Glasgow in Scotland (1960-1964). He was born on February 27, 1938, in Auchi, Edo State. Throughout his decades-long career in the oil sector, he held positions as a well-site engineer for Shell-BP Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited in Port Harcourt (1964–1966), a well-site engineer for Shell-BP in Warri (1967–1969), a production geologist for Shell-BP in Warri (1969–1970), and a petrophysicist for Shell BP in Lagos (1970–1971). (1970-71). He was also a Senior Operations Engineer for Shell-BP in Port Harcourt from 1971 to 1974, a Senior Petroleum Engineer for the Nigerian National Oil Corporation in Lagos from 1974 to 1975, and the General Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation from 1985 to 1990. He was an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the Society for Exploration Geophysicists, and the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society.

Thomas Maurice Asuquo John (April 1990 – June 1990)

Thomas Maurice Asuquo John is from Calabar, Cross River State, and has a Chemical Engineering degree from Prague Institute of Chemical Technology, Czech Republic, from 1968. He earned his doctorate in reaction kinetics from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Thomas is a Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers member and a Commonwealth Research Fellow. After briefly studying engineering at the University of Lagos, Akoka, he began working at APAPA Chemical Industries, a subsidiary of the Leventis Group. In 1974, Thomas Maurice Asuquo John became a Project Engineer for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. For 16 years, Dr John oversaw all aspects of Warri and Kaduna’s refineries and the three Petrochemical Plants in those cities. As the Eleme (Indorama) Petrochemical Company’s first Managing Director, he oversaw the Eleme Project’s international finance negotiations. Thomas Maurice Asuquo John retired as Group Managing Director at NNPC in 1993. He has already served on many boards before being appointed as Acting Chairman of the NNPC Board. He is also a director for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and South Atlantic Petroleum.

Edmund Maduabebe Daukoru (June 1992 – October 1993)

Edmund Maduabebe Daukoru served as Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from 2006 to 2007. He is a former Nigerian Minister of State for Energy. In 2008, he was officially recognised as the Nembe Kingdom’s Amayanabo or traditional monarch. In the Goodluck Jonathan government, he also served as chairman of the South-South Monarchs forum. Edmund Daukoru was born in the oil-rich Bayelsa State on October 13, 1943. He earned his doctorate in geology from London’s Imperial College. He started working for Shell International Petroleum Company in 1970 and went up from Chief Geologist to General Manager of Exploration in Nigeria. He was appointed Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in 1992. Edmund Daukoru joined President Olusegun Obasanjo’s cabinet in July 2005 as Minister of State for Energy after serving as Presidential Advisor on Petroleum and Energy since 2003. He began his one-year term as OPEC Secretary-General on January 1, 2006. Edmund Daukoru, previously known as Mingi IX, was named the Amayanabo (traditional monarch) of the Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa. The ancient Nembe Kingdom’s Bassambiri and Ogbolomabiri communities have been at odds for almost two centuries. The state government of Bayelsa tried once more in April 2010 to resolve these difficulties by bringing together Edmund Daukoru, Ralph Iwowari, the Amanyanabo of Nembe Bassambiri, and other chiefs. Following the summit, both warring communities’ monarchs expressed hope that their conflicts might be settled amicably. In August 2010, a group of armed youths in speedboats stormed the palace of Edmund Daukoru, bound the guards, seized the customary regalia, and then set fire to the palace.

Chamberlain Oruwari Oyibo (1993 – August 1995)

Chamberlain Oruwari Oyibo formerly served as Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). He was born on June 15 1941. After finishing high school in Umuahia, he enrolled at the University of Ibadan, earning a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Geology in 1966. He studied petroleum geology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and graduated with a Master of Science. Several accomplishments have marked Oyibo’s career. He began his career with Texaco Overseas Petroleum Company (TOPCON) in Port Harcourt, although he has also held positions in Houston and Louisiana (USA). From 1976 to 1978, he worked as the Deputy Chief Petroleum Engineer for the NNPC Inspectorate Division in the Lagos office of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources. During his career, he held several positions in the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NNPC), including Branch Manager in Warri (1978–1985), General Manager in Port Harcourt (1985–1986), General Manager in Kaduna (1986–1988), and Managing Director in Benin (1988-1990). In addition, he held the positions of Managing Director at Eleme Petro-Chemicals Limited in Port Harcourt from 1990 to 1991, Group Executive Director (Upstream & Gas) at NNPC from 1992 to 1993, and Group Managing Director at NNPC in Lagos from 1993 to 1995. Oyibo has held the chairperson and chief executive Officer (CEO) positions at several firms since 1995. On April 1, 1988, he became chairman of the board of directors at Starzs Marine & Engineering Limited.

Dalhatu Abdullahi Bayero (1995 – May 1999)

Dalhatu Abdullahi Bayero was a public servant and a chemical engineer. He was born in Kano State on November 16, 1942. His marriage to Maria in 1970 resulted in the birth of three children: two boys and a girl. He went to Kofar Kudu Primary School from 1948 to 1952, Government College from 1955 to 1960, and Federal Emergency Science School from 1961 to 1963. After that, he attended the University of Ibadan (1970–1973), the University of Gliwice (1964–1967), and the Warsaw Technical University (1967–1970) in Poland (1971-72). He was named General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 1995. He was also Managing Director of Pipeline and Products Marketing Company Limited, Co-ordinator of Upstream Joint Ventures, National Petroleum Investment and Management Services, Group Executive Director of the Upstream Joint Ventures, NAPIMS, Group Executive Director, Downstream Operations, Petrochemicals and Refineries, and Group Managing Director of the NNPC (1995-99). Dalhatu Abdullahi Bayero was a member of the Nigerian Academy of Engineers and a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, the Nigerian Mining Geosciences Society, and the Nigerian Society of Geoscientists and Mineralogists.

Jackson Gaius Obaseki (May 1999 – November 2003)

Jackson Gaius-Obaseki worked as a group managing director in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from May 1999 to November 2003. He is a native of Edo State and a graduate of the University of Ibadan with a degree in Geology. He started working at the NNPC in 1972 and became its Group Managing Director in 1999. At President Obasanjo’s direction, Obaseki altered NNPC’s approach to oil marketing to the outside world by announcing the termination of NNPC’s annual sales contracts for crude and fuel oils. Obaseki’s plan aimed to ensure that only actual end-users and high-volume dealers were eligible for term contracts.

Funsho Kupolokun (November 2003 – December 2007)

Funsho Kupolokun was born in 1947. In 1971, he went to the University of Lagos as a Shell scholar and got his first degree in mechanical engineering. Before joining what is now known as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), he served as a Production Engineer in the Sahara Desert Oil field of Hassa-Messand for the Algerian National Oil Company during a 1973–1974 training attachment. Key positions include Group General Manager, Group Executive Director, Commercial & Investment, Head of NNPC’s London office, Head of Petroleum Engineering, and Head of Special Projects for the NNPC JV. When the oil price structure of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries crashed, he played a key role in formulating a fiscal policy agreement commonly referred to as MOU to save the economy. The framework ensured the country would receive consistent revenue and fostered the growth of businesses thanks to reduced operating costs that increased productivity in the oil industry. After serving as President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Special Assistant on Petroleum Matters from 1999 to 2003, he was promoted to Group Managing Director of the Corporation in 2003. He remained in that post until 2007 when he was fired.

Abubakar Lawal Yar’Adua (August 2007 – January 2009)

Abubakar Yar’Adua was born in July in the state of Katsina 1949. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Technology from Sofia University in Bulgaria in 1974 and his Master’s degree in the same field from the same institution in 1976. After starting his career with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 1976 as a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), he never worked anyplace else outside of the corporation. Yar’Adua ascended through the ranks of KPRC quickly and eventually became its Executive Director in August 1995. He then served as its Managing Director from June 1999 to January 2000. Before being named NNPC Group Managing Director, he served as the organisation’s Executive Director, Refining and Petrochemicals.

Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo (January 2009 – April 2010)

Mohammad Barkindo, a native of Adamawa State who was born in April 1959, attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria for his undergraduate degree and Southeastern University in Washington, DC, for his graduate degree in business administration. He previously held the position of Deputy Managing Director of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, a partnership between NNPC, Shell, Total, and Eni. He previously worked as Special Assistant to Rilwanu Lukman, Minister of Petroleum Resources and Secretary General of OPEC. Barkindo also played several vital roles at OPEC between 1986 and 2010. Nigeria appointed him to its delegation to OPEC in 1986 and served as the country’s National Representative on OPEC’s Economic Commission Board from 1993 to 2008. He held the position of Group Managing Director of the NNPC from 2009 to 2010, during which time he was in office.

Shehu Ladan (April 2010 – May 2010)

Shehu Ladan is known as the GMD of the NNPC, who lasted the least amount of time. This is because President Goodluck Jonathan fired him only seven weeks after he was hired. Ladan’s main job during his National Youth Service Corps service was at the State Ministry of Justice in Kano. This occurred shortly after he was admitted to the Nigerian bar. He then became Staff Solicitor at the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. He has served as the Assistant Director of the Federal Legal Aid Council of Nigeria in Jos and as the Kaduna State Rural Electrification Board (REB) Legal Adviser. Ladan was given the position of Education Commissioner in the year 1987. His appointment as Attorney General and Justice Commissioner came about in 1989. He started working in the oil and gas industry in 1990, where he held different jobs. In 2004, he became the Group General Manager of Human Resources at NNPC. Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, Total, and Agip are all shareholders in Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, Ltd, a joint venture business he joined in 2006. After stepping away from the business world for a short while, in April 2010, he was given the position of Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Austine Oniwon (May 2010 – June 2012)

Austine Oniwon was born on April 1, 1951, in Kogi State. A graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, he studied chemistry for four years. Beginning his career in 1977 with the NNPC, he eventually became the Head of Planning at Warri Refining and Petrochemicals in 1987. He worked at Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company as the technical assistant to the Group Executive Director, GED, Downstream, from 1988 to 1991, and then as the Head of the Engineering and Technical Services Department, ETSD, from 1991 to 1992. Before taking on the role of Senior Technical Assistant to the GMD and GM of the Information Systems Department in the GMD’s office, Oniwon served as General Manager of the GM, Information Systems, Engineering and Technology Directorate. In May 2010, he was named GMD of the NNPC, and he retired in 2011 after reaching the required retirement age of 60.

Andrew Laah Yakubu (June 2012 – August 2014)

Andrew Yakubu was the 15th chief executive Officer of the NNPC. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1979 from Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria. After completing his mandatory youth service, he started working for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). He worked his way up through the ranks to become the company’s Managing Director and the General Executive Officer (GEO) for Exploration and Production at Warri Refining and Petrochemicals. A native of Kaduna and a Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) member, he was born and raised there. Under his leadership, the NNPC was accused of corruption multiple times, undermining its credibility as a publicly held oil firm.

Joseph Thlama Dawha (August 2014 – August 2015)

Joseph Thlama Dawha was the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) until August 2015. In March 2014, he also took up the post of acting GED of Exploration & Production for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Dawha joined Integrated Data Services Ltd (IDSL) in 2005 and served as the company’s Managing Director. He was born and raised in Borno State, and throughout his career at IDSL, he tirelessly served in various capacities, both in the upstream and the downstream sectors of the industry.

Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu (July 2015 – August 2016)

Ibe Kachikwu’s birth took place in Onicha-Ugbo, Delta State, in December 1956. Kachikwu attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and afterwards, the Nigerian Law School. He attended Harvard University, earning his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in law. Ibe Kachikwu has worked in the oil sector for 30 years, holding various executive positions. In addition to becoming a general attorney for ExxonMobil in Nigeria, he also worked there. Ibe Kachikwu was named the CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in August 2015.

Maikanti Kachalla Baru (August 2016 – June 2019)

Maikanti Baru was born in Jama’are in the state of Bauchi in July 1959. He earned a prestigious first-class honours Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. A doctorate in mechanical engineering was also among his many accomplishments. Between December 2004 and January 2007, he worked as a director for Carlson Services, UK, Limited, owned by the NNPC. From July 1999 until April 2004, he served as Group General Manager of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) for NNPC and as the company’s senior technical negotiator for the West African Gas Pipeline project. Before becoming GMD of the NNPC, he served as Special Adviser (Upstream) to the Minister of State for Petroleum.

Mele Kolo Kyari (July 2019 till present)

Mele Kyari, the 19th General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, has extensive experience in petroleum economics and crude oil and natural gas trading. He graduated from the University of Maiduguri with a B.Sc. in Geology and Earth Science. He served as a Well Site geologist for the DFRRI (Directorate of Foods, Roads, and Rural Infrastructure) during his mandatory two years of military service between 1987 and 1988. After spending 1988–1991 with the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, he worked for NNPC subsidiary Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL) as a Seismic Data Processing Geophysicist in the company’s Data Processing Department. After working as a NAPIMS Exploration Geophysicist on a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) from 1998 to 2004, he was promoted to head the NAPIMS office in Abuja. From 2006 to 2007, he served as the NNPC’s Supervisor PSC at the Crude Oil Marketing Department (COMD), and from 2007 to 2014, he was the department’s Head and Manager of Production Contracts Management. After working as Group General Manager of COMD and then as Nigeria’s National Representative at OPEC, Kyari was promoted to General Manager, Oil Stock Management COMD. He held this position till 2015. During the ceremony, he promised that under his guidance, the company would get all four of the country’s refineries up and running by 2023, a feat that had been impossible for any of his predecessors to accomplish.