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06 Jul 2022

Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo: an OPEC icon, a dear friend to many

It is with immense sorrow and sadness that the OPEC Secretariat learnt of the passing of the OPEC Secretary General, His Excellency, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, in his home country of Nigeria. He was the much-loved leader of the OPEC Secretariat and his passing is a profound loss to the entire OPEC Family, the oil industry and the international community.

OPEC extends its deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, loved ones and his home country, Nigeria. It is a day in which words are not enough, but it is also important to express our deep gratitude for the over 40 years of selfless service that HE Barkindo gave to OPEC. His dedication and leadership will inspire OPEC for many years and decades to come.

Throughout HE Barkindo’s long career, there have been several central themes that have driven him: an infectious passion for the petroleum industry; an unwavering belief in oil’s poverty eradicating potential; a steadfast commitment to sustainable development; the importance of dialogue and multilateralism; and, most fundamentally of all, treating everyone with respect and kindness.

As OPEC Secretary General, a position he assumed on August 1, 2016, HE Barkindo was a visionary leader and an eloquent communicator who played key role in forming the historic Declaration of Cooperation at the end of 2016. He served the Organization with great distinction and helped it successfully navigate through two major industry downturns (2015-2016 and 2020-2021), was instrumental in the setting up of the Charter of Cooperation (CoC), and was a consummate diplomat in further advancing dialogue and cooperation with a variety of industry stakeholders.

Despite the attainment of so many heights in his career, HE Barkindo remained a selfless man of great humility and decency; treating everyone, irrespective of rank or office, with dignity and courtesy. A trailblazer widely admired and respected throughout the globe. A dear friend to many.

To those who were fortunate enough to know and work alongside him, they will miss his warmth, kindness and sense of humour. His example of dedication and duty will inspire future leaders in the industry.

To the last, he was always true to his respectful nature, always there to listen, offer guidance and show leadership; a genuine OPEC icon. His last words to friends were that he was happy to have concluded his tenure as Secretary General, he had served the best he could, and that he was proud of those who had served with him.

HE Barkindo elevated the Organization’s position and role as an active and responsible partner in the oil industry and international community through both his deeds and words.  Given his scholarly nature, and the fact that his speeches regularly used quotes to emphasize points and opinions, it is perhaps apt to leave the final word to one of Barkindo’s favourite scribes, the famous poet, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. 

“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.”