There is something about first-class graduates that President Muhammadu Buhari finds irresistible.

But maybe it isn’t just Buhari. It is quite possible that there is something about the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that keeps magnetising first-class graduates.

Emmanuel Kachikwu, the man Buhari first chose in August 2015 to head the corporation, studied law at the University of Nigeria (UNN),  Nsukka, Enugu state, finishing with a first class.

Maikanti Kacalla Baru, whom Buhari chose on Monday to replace Kachikwu, is a first-class product — of engineering from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state. He also holds a PhD in mechanical engineering.

Baru was chairman of NNPC anti-corruption committee, and has previously sensitised staff of the corporation against corrupt practices.

A fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), he is a recipient of the presidential merit award of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers.

He has worked in various capacities in both the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil sector.

Between 2004 and 2007, he served as director of Carlson Services (UK) Limited. He has also served as GGM, Liquefied Natural Gas; group general manager, Greenfield Refinery Projects; managing director, Hyson; executive director, Nigerian Gas Company (NGC); general manager, Gas Division of NAPIMS; manager, operations, procurement management services and manager, engineering for National Engineering and Technical Company Limited (NETCO).

Baru was also the NNPC’s chief technical negotiator on the West African Gas Pipeline project from July 1999 to April 2004.

Until his appointment, he served as an aide to Kachikwu, as his special adviser (upstream). An indigene of Bauchi state, Baru is married with children

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