By Sadiya Hamza [New York]
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday named Nigeria’s petroleum minister. And that is himself.
Mr. Buhari said he would personally head the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in the new cabinet.
Addressing some select reporters in New York on Tuesday, after addressing a Global Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism, the President said: “I wil remain Minister of Petroleum.
“I will appoint a minister of State for Petroleum”.
According to him, this step is being taken as part of efforts to sanitise Nigeria’s oil industry, which is said to be plagued by corruption, massive fraud, and crude oil theft.
Mr. Buhari restated his determination to sanitise Nigeria’s oil industry and free it from corruption and shady deals.
He said that the first step in this direction had already been taken with the appointment of a new management for the NNPC and its subsequent reorganisation.
The President said the prosecution of those who misappropriated NNPC’s revenue under past administrations would soon commence.
On Corruption, he pledged that the federal government will fight corruption, because it has been identified as the root of all problems hindering Nigeria as a nation.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, for most part of his tenure, was also the minister of petroleum.
Mr. Buhari had promised to name his cabinet before the end of September.
Since Wednesday is the last day of the month, the President is widely expected to forward names of his minister to the National Assembly today.
Names forwarded to the National Assembly would be screened and approved by the Senate before they are sworn in.
Already, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has indicated that the screening of the ministers would be thorough and comprehensive.
Mr. Saraki gave the hint while welcoming senators to plenary in Abuja after a long recess.
He said that screening of the nominees would be in-depth to ensure that only competent and qualified individuals only occupied the positions.
“As we await the list of ministerial nominees this week, we are prepared to treat the screening with dispatch but with thoroughness,” the Senate President said.
“I believe the presence of ministers will create the space for greater policy engagement with the executive arm of government.
“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.”
He added, “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.
“The enormity of our national challenges at this time does not give room for pettiness or politics of vendetta.”