President Buhari Says “He Will Be Minister Of Petroleum

As the nation awaits President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial list, the President on Tuesday said he would head the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. Buhari dropped the hint in one of the interviews he granted one of the foreign media in his hotel shortly before departing New York. The President was in New York to participate in the 70th United Nations General Assembly. “I will serve as the Minister of Petroleum Resources myself,” Buhari told his interviewer. The nation’s petroleum sector has been said to be enmeshed in corruption with millions of dollars said to be missing in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Shortly after assuming office, Buhari sacked and replaced the management of the company. The new management had started a general reorganisation of the firm. Buhari had on Monday said the trial of those who looted the NNPC would commence soon. Meanwhile, ministerial list that President Muhammadu Buhari will submit to the Senate on Wednesday (today)will not contain all the members of his proposed cabinet, THE PUNCH has learnt. Buhari was inaugurated on May 29, having defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan in the presidential election held in March. Investigation by one of our correspondents on Tuesday revealed that what would be transmitted to the Senate this week would not be a complete list of nominees. A top government official familiar with the arrangement confided in one of our correspondents that Buhari would send the names of the nominees to the Senate in batches. “What the Senate will be getting on Tuesday or Wednesday will not be a complete list. The names will be sent in batches but quite a number will be on this first list while others will be compiled and sent later,” the source said. The President may have decided to send the names in batches in order to meet the September deadline he set for himself rather than waiting to compile the full list and fail to beat the deadline. Efforts made by one of our correspondents to get an insight into the list of the first batch of would-be ministers did not however yield any positive result on Tuesday. The issue of the list has however been generating concerns among members of Buhari’s delegation to the 70th United Nations General Assembly holding in New York. Many of the politicians on the President’s delegation who felt they might be considered for ministerial positions were getting in touch with Nigeria intermittently on the telephone for latest information on the list while they also kept making themselves visible for Buhari. Some of them who could not hide their anxiety were heard asking Nigerian journalists if they had latest information on the list. Prominent chiefs of the All Progressives Congress on the President’s delegation include a former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi; a former Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; and a former member of the House of Representatives, Abike Dabiri-Erewa among others. Meanwhile, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said on Tuesday that his leadership would not employ vendetta in the screening of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s wise men. Saraki, who stated this in his welcome address to his colleagues at a plenary after their six-week recess, expressed confidence that Nigeria’s economy would experience a turn-around with the appointment of ministers. He said, “As we await the list of ministerial nominees this week, I believe the presence of ministers will create the space for greater policy engagement with the executive arm of government. “It will also enable us to begin to respond in a more systematic manner to the various economic and social challenges before us, especially through our various committees that will also be constituted soon. “On this note, I want to urge you all my colleagues to ensure that what is uppermost in our minds as we begin the constitutional task of screening of ministerial nominees is the overall interest of our country, informed by the enormity and the urgency of the challenges before us. “Once the list is submitted, let us ensure that we treat it with dispatch and thoroughness. We must not be held down by unnecessary politicking.”


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