President Buhari to head Ministry of petroleum for 18 months

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to head the
Ministry of Petroleum for 18 months before
appointing a substantive minister for the ministry.
The President said this while meeting with some
members of his political party, the All
Progressives Congress, in Abuja recently.
One of those at the meeting, who spoke on
condition of anonymity, on Sunday said that the
President said he would use the 18 months
of heading the petroleum ministry to reposition it.
According to him,
“At the meeting we had recently, we discussed
the issues of portfolios and other matters,”
the President said he was going to handle the
Ministry of Petroleum himself for about 18
months.
“He said it was after this that he would
appoint a substantive minister for the
ministry. He said he would only personally
handle the reorganisation of the much-
important ministry.
“Besides, he said the ministry needed to be
reformed and be rid of corruption. He
promised to sanitise the ministry.”
It was, however, gathered that the President was
thinking of appointing an experienced person as
his special adviser on petroleum.
The President was once a minister in charge of
the ministry so due to this experience, he was
said to have vowed to make sure that he blocked
all the loopholes that enabled stealing of money
or petroleum products.
He plans to split the NNPC in two, creating a
regulator and a vehicle for investments, according
to Femi Adesina, a presidential spokesman.
So far the president has fired the board and
management of the company and replaced its
Jonathan-appointed chief with Emmanuel Ibe
Kachikwu, who was executive vice-chariman of
Exxon Mobil Africa. He has also ordered a review
of oil-swap contracts and barred 113 vessels from
loading oil and gas, about 250,000 barrels of
Nigerian crude, about 10 percent of the country’s
daily output, are stolen daily, Buhari has said.
Speaking on the issue, the Peoples Democratic
Party said it would be too early to speculate on
whether the President would head the ministry or
not.
Rather, the opposition party urged Nigerians to
wait till September when the President promised
to name his cabinet.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the
party, Alhaji Ibrahim Jalo, told our correspondent
that he was only sure that the President was
going to split the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation.
Jalo said, “That Buhari is going to head the
ministry is speculative. But what we know, going
by his body language and actions so far, is that he
is going to split the NNPC.
“This is what we know. So, let’s wait and see
what he’s going to do before we make
comments.”
However, the Conference of Nigeria Political
Parties said the constitution vested powers on the
President to head any ministry or parastatal of his
choice or appoint a representative.
The National Publicity Secretary of the
organisation, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said that
Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution “vested
executive powers on the President.
He said
“He can decide to exercise such powers by
himself or delegate it to his deputy, or public
officers of the public service of the federation.
That’s what the law says.
“Whether he chooses to manage any ministry
by himself is immaterial. Whether he decides
to be in charge of ministries such as power,
works, women affairs or culture does not
mean anything to the Nigerian people.”

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