President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly appointed his junior media aide, Bashir Ahmad, to supervise a powerful and lucrative division at the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
The role handed to Ahmad is said to supersede his work experience and area of expertise, Peoples Gazette quoted officials familiar with the development as saying over the weekend.
The 29-year-old Ahmad has served as personal assistant to Buhari on new media since 2016. Despite still retaining his presidency appointment, he recently hustled his way in as the head of the newly-established National Production Monitoring System (NPMS) of DPR – Nigeria’s preeminent oil and gas sector regulator, the Gazette learnt from four officials at the presidency and DPR with sufficient details of the appointment.
According to the Online news platform, Ahmad’s appointment, which was tacitly executed in line with Buhari regime’s culture of opacity, presents a blanket remunerative boost for the young presidential aide, as he is now set to draw dual salaries and allowances from Nigeria’s marginal commonwealth.
“Bashir got the appointment early January, but his documentation took place last week,” a State House official familiar with the appointment told the Gazette. “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 was quoted as saying that 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 Gazette seeking comments on their respective roles in the appointment, the online news platform said.
Born in Kano, in Nigeria’s northwest on June 10, 1991, 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, Buhari picked Ahmad from the cohort of Nda-Isaiah, who also contested in the presidential primaries of the APC at the time. Nda-Isaiah died in December.
The DPR is the petroleum ministry’s department that enforces compliance with Nigeria’s extant oil and gas regulations. It also approves and monitors oil licence in Nigeria, which is amongst the world’s top oil producers.