NUPRC’s Gbenga Komolafe Cancels 60th Birthday Celebration Amid Calls for Sack
By Adedapo Adesanya
The chief executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Mr Gbenga Komolafe, has cancelled all activities lined up for his 60th birthday amid increased calls for his sack.
Mr Komolafe, a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), turned the milestone age on Tuesday, September 26 and there was a planned thanksgiving service to mark the day slated for this Saturday, September 30.
However, he said that amid the current economic state in the country, he has decided to cancel all the planned celebrations, according to a report by Premium Times.
This development comes amid increased pressure for the removal of the NUPRC chief from several quarters.
Last month, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) called on President Bola Tinubu to sack Mr Komolafe for what they said were unfavourable contract processes and payments by the commission under his watch.
He was accused of “deliberately refusing to open channels of communication to address concerns about manifest mismanagement of the commission and poor employees’ welfare in the two years of his stewardship.”
The commission’s workers in August also picketed and barricaded offices of the commission nationwide to demand the immediate sack of the NUPRC CEO.
Other allegations include deductions on pension, failure to refund medical bills agreed in workers’ collective bargain agreements as well as lack of electricity and water facilities across offices of the commission.
Now, in the statement entitled Cancellation of Thanksgiving Service and Reception for CCE, Mr Komolafe said he appreciated the gesture of his well-wishers to call together friends and associates to “thank God and later sit together to wine and dine in an event planned for Saturday, 30 September 2023.”
He, however, said, “Given the mood of the nation at this time that people are struggling to weather the current economic storm and the government is making concerted efforts to halt the slide in the country’s economy, it would amount to some level of insensitivity, especially for a public servant, to engage in an elaborate ceremony of any kind, even if sponsored.”
He said he completely understood how the cancellation would be received by family, friends and associates, adding, however, that he would plead that both the thanksgiving service and the reception planned for this Saturday be stood down.
“I have every reason to thank God for His grace upon my life and how far he has brought me; and sincerely appreciate my family, friends and associates who have shown me love and have been felicitating with me.
”I sincerely regret the inconvenience the cancellation of the two events might cause invited guests. At this time, we are all expected to make sacrifices for the sake of our nation and our people.
“May the Almighty God bless everyone and help our country’s recovery and growth efforts,” he said.
Mr Komolafe was appointed as the chief executive of the commission by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2021.