WHY MR. OSAGIE OKUNBOR SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED/APPOINTED AS THE NEXT MD/COUNTRY CHAIR OF SHELL (SPDC) NIGERIA.
We recently heard from reliable sources that Mr. Osagie Okunbor, who was the former Vice President (VP) Human Resources, Shell (SPDC), is currently being trained/prepared to assume the position of the Managing Director (MD) and Country Chair of Shell (SPDC) Nigeria. And as a result of this, Mr. Osagie Okunbor is said to be on cross-posting to The Hague, in other for him to be ‘groomed’ to occupy the said exalted position and take over from Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, who will soon go on retirement.
Without being prejudice or biased, we strongly fault this move/arrangement being planned by Shell Management to make Mr. Osagie Okunbor, the next MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC) Nigeria. Our reason for faulting this move and the candidacy of Mr. Osagie Okunbor for the said position in Shell (SPDC) is hinged on a number of undeniable facts that we can reliably attest to. Firstly, Mr. Osagie Okunbor is not a ‘technical’ person, neither is he an ‘operational’ person nor does he have the ‘corporate wisdom’ to manage/carry out the overwhelming demands of the office of the MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria. This is no exaggeration or are we trying to ridicule someone, but we are stating the obvious fact. Mr. Osagie Okunbor does not have the necessary‘background experience’ that makes one to be qualified or considered for the position of MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria. He has not worked in any of the Shell (SPDC) Asset Teams or even in any Production and Engineering Departments.
In other words, Mr. Osagie Okunbor does not have the capacity, capability,wealth of background experience or the leadership prowess that are necessary traits/qualities that anyone being considered for the position of MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), should have. Aside the complete lack of necessary technical, operational and leadership qualities, Mr. Osagie Okunbor is known to be a chronic ‘tribalist’ from a Edo State who does not have the qualities and ‘relationship-building’ skills to manage the socio-political and‘inter-relations’ demands of the position of the MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria. Mr. Osagie Okunbor is known to be an ‘arrogant’ person that is also pompous and evidently ‘unintelligent’ in the management of people and assets. In fact, Mr. Osagie Okunbor can best be described as an ‘opportunist’who does not have the ‘human face’ to relate with and manage Shell (SPDC) host communities and relevant stakeholders in Nigeria.
To put it bluntly, Mr. Osagie Okunbor does not have the ‘community clout’ and the leadership qualities to even be considered for the position of the MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria. He does not have the capacity to carry relevant stakeholders along or manage Shell (SPDC) operations in Nigeria. Without mincing words, making Mr. Osagie Okunbor the next MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria, to take over from Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, will be the ‘biggest’mistake and a ‘corporate blunder’ Shell will ever make. Again, this is no exaggeration, but stating the bitter truth and the undeniable fact as we see it.
This is Nigeria, where the oil, gas and condensate explorations and productions are not like what we find in other nations that Shell is operating in. The complexities, challenges and demands of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria are quite overwhelming; hence it requires a well-grounded technical and operational person with the leadership qualities and professionalism to adequately manage Shell (SPDC) operations in the country. This becomes necessary when we consider the fact that Shell (SPDC) is still the pioneers and the biggest International Oil Company (IOC) in Nigeria. Therefore, Shell should have someone that is well-grounded in the Nigerian oil and gas industry who completely understands the working/operational environment and can fully represent the interest of Shell in Nigeria as well as that of relevant host communities’ stakeholders.
The Mr. Osagie Okunbor we know does not have what it takes to be MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria neither can he project Shell and its operations in Nigeria in good light. The Mr. Osagie Okunbor we know cannot make a ‘technical presentation’ on Shell operations in Nigeria to the satisfaction of relevant stakeholders. Even a technical presentation that is already prepared, we are sure Mr. Osagie Okunbor cannot present it. That is, if an already prepared technical presentation is given to Mr. Osagie Okunbor to present, he will not be able to defend such a presentation during question and answer sessions. He is a complete novice in this area. We also believe Mr. Osagie Okunbor will not be able to identify or differentiate between crude oil and condensate if presented with same.
Mr. Osagie Okunbor cannot, or even know how to manage/relate with host community stakeholders in the volatile Niger Delta region of Nigeria. He is also a very ‘unpopular’ Shell (SPDC) staff within and without host communities of the Niger Delta region. In fact, Mr. Osagie Okunbor’s inability to relate with people is also seen in the ‘cold’ relationship he has amongst his colleagues in Shell (SPDC) Nigeria. Mr. Osagie Okunbor will not be able to relate with and defend Shell policies and practices before the Nigerian National Assembly members. He does not have the capacity as an individual, to project Shell in good light before Nigerian law makers and policy implementers. A snub like Mr. Osagie Okunbor will kill Shell (SPDC) business in Nigeria.
Is this the kind of person Shell would want to handover its enormous oil, gas and condensate explorations and productions in Nigeria, to? What happened to the admirable ‘high standard’ of Shell when it comes to the appointment of its personnel into ‘sensitive’ Management leadership positions in the company? Why is Shell trying to rubbish all the operational efforts the company has attained in the last couple of years, with this ill-advised appointment? Even if Mr. Osagie Okunbor is made to spend ten years in ‘training’ to prepare him for the post of MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), he will still not be ready or make any difference. An African proverb says: “No matter how hard you wash a tiger’s skin, you will not be able to wash off its spots”. And “No matter how hard you bath a dog and wash its nose, the nose will remain black.” So, no matter the level of management training/preparedness given to Mr. Osagie Okunbor, he will never be ready or be able to fit into the position of MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria. It will be like fitting a square peg into a round hole.
The position of the MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria, is one that is quite demanding and challenging and not meant for the lily-livered. As the MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria, one is expected amongst the mirage of other things; to manage host communities and its people/stakeholders, Colleagues, Shell Assets/facilities/Structures, the Nigerian Government at the Federal, State and Local Government levels, Relevant Government Agencies and government officials etc. Mr. Osagie Okunbor does not have the relationship-building prowess to excel in these areas. He can only best occupy the position of one who pushes work-files from table-to-table but not the position of MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC).
However, there are very good Nigerian Shell personnel that can adequately fit in better and excel as the MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria, by virtue of their capacities, capabilities, leadership qualities and wealth of background experiences in technical and operational fields of the oil and gas industry. Nigerian Shell (SPDC) Personnel like Mr. Simbi Wabote, Mr. Boma Brown, Mr. Tony Attah, Mr. Vincent Osifeso and many others, are very ‘resourceful’ Shell personnel that can adequately play the role of the MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria. These Nigerian Shell (SPDC) personnel have proven to have the ‘community clout’, humility, brilliance and wealth of experience to handle the position of the MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria, very well. And most importantly, they are very familiar with the intricacies and complexities of the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Any of them can adequately represent the interest of Shell (SPDC) Nigeria in a good light.
It is on the above premise that we ask that Mr. Osagie Okunbor should not be considered in any way for the position of the MD/Country Chair of Shell (SPDC), Nigeria. There are far better Nigerian Shell (SPDC) personnel that can fit in very well into the said position to continue the good works that will be left behind by Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu when he retires. We ask that this issue should be given the needed attention as requested. It is a worthy advice that should not be neglected.
Zik Gbemre, JP
Niger Delta Peace Coalition