Membere has been replaced by Dr Joseph Dawha who is the group’s acting executive director. While no official reason was given for the act, many believe it was an attempt by the president to clean up the national oil company.
“There has been no reason given for the change and for the new executives put in place. I think there had been a gap in some of the senior executives so that was filled in and for the removal of the GED (group executive director) of exploration and production, no reason was given,” Kayode Akindele, Partner 46 Parallels told CNBC Africa.
(READ MORE: Nigeria’s institutional fight against dirty oil)
In addition to Dawha, four new directors, were also appointed with immediate effects to fill existing vacancies within the organisation.
“He’s a president and obviously a lot of political matters will come into it, especially with the elections coming up. There’s been a drift in the oil industry and there have been a lot of allegations passed about various aspects of the oil industry so I think the president had to start making a move to show that they are addressing some of those issues,” he explained.
Weeks after the public upheaval over the alleged 20 billion dollars missing in state revenues by the suspended central bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the president authorised a forensic audit of the organisation and Akindele believes that is a step in the right direction.
“That sort of shake up is not really advisable in an election year. What we are going to see is, one, the forensic audit to try and see if there missing 20 billion dollars or 49 billion dollars depending on who you ask and find the root to that problem,” he said.
Another issue Akindele thinks the government will try and address is the supply and demand issue in the oil industry as the constant crude oil theft means that there is also ample demand.
“The people stealing the oil are selling to somebody. Selling to refineries, selling to companies. It’s an international cartel so that has to be addressed on both sides meaning we need international help there,” he added.