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Sunday , 23 September 2018

Calls for Buhari not to be Minister of Petroleum anymore heighten

Obviously occasioned by Kachikwu-Baru feud, calls are out on the streets,asking Buhari to face squarely the job of President of Nigeria,especially since he promised just 18 months intervention in that ministry,which has since expired.

”The President is the one we elected. So, whichever way the President thinks his administration would go, he can decide to do that. However, he must ensure that whatever role he decides to play is run efficiently. As it is now, the Ministry of Petroleum is not as efficient as one would expect.

The optics for Mr. President is not good right now because the ball will stop at his table and at the end of the day, he is the Minister of Petroleum. So, Nigerians will have questions for him to answer. If I were in his shoes; I would quit the office of the Minister of Petroleum. The President had already said that he was only going to hold that office for 18 months.

So, with this Kachikwu-Baru feud, the President has to deal with it first before deciding on what next to do. There is a parable that when a wood falls on another, you remove the one on top before you get to the bottom. He needs to deal with this and then make a decision that will be in the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Nigerians are already playing politics with it. If I were the President, I would look at the process in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation. For the records, this is not the first time it is happening. We had a similar case between the Secretary-General of OPEC, (Mohammed) Barkindo, and the then minister, (Odein) Ajumogobia.

They had schism too but it didn’t make the front page because they handled it differently. In this case, having heard from both sides, he (Buhari) has to look at the governance aspect of it. What is lacking in the NNPC is good governance. He should also look at the shortcomings and go ahead to start correcting them.

If there is the need to amend the NNPC Act, the President can originate it. After listing out where he thinks there are problems, he can go ahead and recommend an amendment of the Act.”..these are the thoughts of  Peter Esele (Ex- National President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria)

  • Bala Zaka (A petroleum engineer and energy expert)

From the way things are going today, the President has so many things he is presiding over. In the interest of national growth and progress, it will make sense if he reassigns that position of substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources to another credible Nigerian that has the integrity, dexterity and the management capability to make sure that the Nigerian oil and gas industry is brought out of the woods for the progress of the country.

Even if a leader is visionary, if he doesn’t have supportive lieutenants and subordinates, he is not going to succeed.

So, it is not holding the position of the Minister of Petroleum that will make President Muhammadu Buhari to succeed; it is the vision he has for Nigeria and credible lieutenants and subordinates who have the credentials and capacity to carry on, whether he is there or not.

To me, the petroleum ministry is as important as other ministries such as health, power, works and housing, sports and youth development. So, all we need is a focused leader as the president and credible people as ministers. No ministry is better than the other.

  • Alhaji Abdullahi Bukar (A former member of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation board)

In my opinion, the President should not be a minister. There are some sensitive cases he can hold. But it is better to let people who are technocrats to advise and handle it (petroleum ministry).

It is better to have a substantive minister and Mr. President should free himself more to address wider range of national issues and coordinate the ministries of petroleum and power. Otherwise, the easiest thing is to create the Minister of Energy and then have under him different ministers dealing with power, oil and gas and others.

I think why the President took on that position was that having seen the corruption that was happening under the previous government, he wanted it to be seen that the petroleum ministry would be kept clean.

So, he held it at the beginning, but now all the policy statements have been made. What is left is for people who will get the legislation done and implement those things. In which case, it is time to allow technocrats to handle the ministry.

  • Dr Demson Ekong, (Lecturer, University of Uyo)
 President Muhammadu Buhari’s retention of the Petroleum portfolio is of immense benefit only to Abba Kyari, his Chief of Staff. I voted for President Muhammadu Buhari based on his antecedents but now I know time has changed all.

Now, I know it was not Buhari per se but rather late Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon that held the magic wand. How mistaken I was. I am no longer convinced that President Muhammadu Buhari has anything to offer.

For the sake of our country, Abba Kyari should allow President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration to run peacefully. He should stop creating more problems than President Muhammadu Buhari can cope with. It is only this that will assist Nigeria move forward a bit.

  • Mr. Debo Ajayi (Ex-Ekiti State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning)

My frank opinion is that we have yet to fully realise the benefits of the President doubling as the Minister of Petroleum.

The crisis in that sector has not abated. The President has also been away for some period on account of illness. A substantive minister would be very effective. At the end of the day, the minister will report to the President. A substantive minister that enjoys the confidence of the President, like any other minister and takes the affair of the sector as a full-time job will serve the country better.

Even the size of that industry is huge and I think it is not what should be combined with the responsibilities of the President. From what we can see as private citizens, there have not been any meaningful changes in the industry.

Since the President is serving as Minister of Petroleum to tell the rest of the world that he considers the ministry very important, it will be tough for him to effectively serve that role and still be effective as our President.

Because the minister is going to report to him, he can always use his supervisory role to maintain control that he may think is necessary in that ministry.

Currently, the general impression is that the Minister of State, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu is effectively acting as the Minister of Petroleum, which again, does not seem to make for efficiency.

I would rather the President reviewed that situation and adjust to the fact that the ministry requires a substantive minister; somebody who should oversee the affairs of that vital ministry on a full-time basis.

About Younews Ng

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