For now, peace seems to have eluded Bala Wunti, the Group General Manager of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), so much that even his shadow scares him.

Instructively, as part of the restructuring and consolidation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, NAPIMS is now known as the NNPC Upstream Investment Services (NUIS).

Until his elevation as GGM, one of the most influential roles in the Nigerian oil industry, Wunti was the Chief Upstream Investment Officer of the NNPC Upstream Management Services.

It was reliably gathered that Wunti got the job through the influence of Malam Abba Kyari, the late Chief of Staff to President Buhari.

He hails from the same Bauchi State as Mrs Kyari.

If fortune smiled on him generously in that post among others that he had occupied in the oil and gas industry where he had been a player for about three decades, the NAPIMS job ushered him into a higher level of mammoth wealth.

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Those close to him allege that between 2020 and now, he has acquired so much wealth that would make Forbes query their Richest List research team.

Because of his sensitive position, he is not extravagant but is as financially solid as they come.

He is reputed to, however, have a bias for acquiring luxury properties and has a mouthwatering property portfolio in Abuja.

Beyond his influence in the oil and gas industry, Wunti is a close ally of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party.

Another impeccable source disclosed that Wunti never believed in Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress candidate, which further fuelled his investment in Atiku.

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Unfortunately for Wunti, Tinubu is now the president-elect and will be sworn in on May 29. And that is the crux of his problems.

Wunti is currently racing against time.

He knows and has confided in close associates that the new administration will ease him out for his partisanship, among other infractions.

Significantly, there is the overhanging allegation of his role in Nigeria’s oil production decline.

Last October, a group, the Concerned Citizens of Nigeria, accused Wunti of being involved in some contract fraud and engaging in multi-billion-dollar corruption.

In an open letter, the group alleged that Wunti is notorious for frustrating oil development operations for personal gains and using his position as a top official to exclusively give contracts to companies he favours in flagrant violation of the procurement procedures.

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“A major concern is the country’s participation in the Deepwater field development space, which is the major contributor to the nation’s oil production.

Despite the rise in the crude oil price in the past months, with countries all over the world taking advantage of this opportunity by aggressively embarking on reserve growth and field developments to ensure they derive maximum benefit (economy, job creation, etc.), this high prices currently present, Nigeria has only one (1) deep offshore drilling rig currently carrying out drilling operations, which is the SNEPco Bonga OML 118 drilling operation.

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