By Bassey Udo
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday appointed the former Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Farouk Ahmed, as the Chief Executive Officer for the Board of the Nigerian Midstream/Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.
The announcement of Ahmed’s appointment was contained in a letter by the President dated September 28, 2021 to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, titled: “Appointment of the Chief Executive Officer for the Board of the Nigerian Midstream/Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.”
In the letter, the President said Ahmed’s appointment would replace that of Sarki Auwalu, the incumbent Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), earlier named for the position.
Auwalu’s name was already before the Senate for confirmation.
The President’s letter read in part:
“In accordance with the provision of Section 34(3) of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, I hereby forward for confirmation by the Senate the nomination of Engineer Farouk Ahmed as Chief Executive Officer for the Board of the Nigerian Midstream/Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority as a replacement of Eng. Sarki Auwalu earlier forwarded.”
Since the submission of Auwalu’s nomination by the President to the Senate for confirmation many industry operators criticized the decision on the ground that he would be a square peg in a round hole.
One of the operators who spoke with our reporter on the issue described Auwalu as “a misfit and incompetent” who would not be able to tackle the myriad of crises in the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry.
“Auwalu was not only a misfit for the role he was expected to play, he really had no experience for the job. He may have had a lot of upstream industry experience,I doubt if he would have been able to deploy such experience to manage the complex issues in the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry and succeed,” the operator, who requested that his name should not be revealed for personal reasons, said.
Apparently in response to the criticisms, President Buhari on Wednesday announced Farouk Ahmed, considered by many in the industry as a “core-competent downstream professional”, as Auwalu’s replacement.
Apart from being a former Executive Director (Commercial), Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), and later the Managing Director of the products marketing subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ahmed was the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA).
After his tenure at the PPPRA, Ahmed returned to the NNPC to serve as the Special Adviser to the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC in charge of Downstream.
Prior to his stint at PPMC, Ahmed served as a Senior Crude Oil Trader with Duke Oil Inc; Manager, Crude Oil Export Programming and Nominations, Shipping and Terminals in the Crude Oil Marketing Division of the NNPC and Managing Director, NiDAS Marine Limited.
With over experience spanning 34 years’ of his professional career in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, Ahmed has a sound commercial and trading background at top management positions in NNPC and abroad.
Currently, he is the Managing Direcror/CEO, Hauwath Consulting Limited as well as a non-Executive Director in Eterna Oil PLC.
A graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA, Ahmed obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology.
He commenced his career as a Logic Board Verification Engineer at Apple Computer Inc. (later called Apple Inc.), in Dallas, Tx. USA.
He returned to Nigeria to participate in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, before joining the NNPC, where he grew through the ranks occupy top managements positions in the organization.
A Member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Ahmed is also a Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-USA) and a Registered member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).
He was a member of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Shippers Council.