There have been speculations recently that President Muhammadu Buhari may head the Ministry of Petroleum for 18 months before appointing a substantive minister for the ministry.
It was learned that the President disclosed the development while meeting with some members of his political party, the All Progressives Congress, in Abuja recently.
It was gathered, President said at the meeting that he would use the one and a half years of heading the sensitive ministry to reposition it.
A source, who was present at the meeting said, “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 also gathered that the President was thinking of appointing an experienced person as his special adviser on petroleum.
Because of Buhari‘s experience as a minister in charge of the ministry in the past, he was said to have vowed to make sure that he blocked all the loopholes that enabled those manning the ministry to either steal money or petroleum products.
The Peoples Democratic Party had, on this issue, said in a recent report that it would be too early to speculate on whether the President would head the ministry or not.
The opposition party rather urged in the report, that Nigerians should wait till September when the President promised to name his cabinet.
Alhaji Ibrahim Jalo, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, said in the report that he was only sure that the President was going to split the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
“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”, Jalo said.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties had however, said the constitution vested powers on the President to head any ministry or parastatal of his choice or appoint a representative.
Mr. Osita Okechukwu, the organisation’s National Publicity Secretary, said that Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution “vested executive powers on the President.
“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”, Okechukwu said.