As part of plans to sanitize the corruption-laden oil sector, President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated his readiness to head the Ministry of Petroleum for 18 months before appointing a substantive minister for the ministry.
It was gathered that the President said this while meeting with some members of his political party, the All Progressives Congress APC, in Abuja recently.
An unnamed source said to be present at the meeting in which this news was allegedly revealed, informed newsmen that the President said he would use the one and a half years of heading the sensitive ministry to reposition it.
According to the source, “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 re-organization of the much-important ministry.
“Besides, he said the ministry needed to be reformed and be rid of corruption. He promised to sanitize the ministry.”
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Ibrahim Jalo, told newsmen that he was only sure that the President was going to split the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC.
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.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the organization, 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.”
It was, however, gathered that the President was thinking of appointing an experienced person as his special adviser on petroleum.
Buhari who was once a minister in charge of the ministry has vowed to make sure that he blocked all loopholes which enabled those manning the ministry to either steal money or petroleum products.