I will be Petroleum Minister – Buhari

As the nation awaits President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial list, the President on Tuesday said he would head the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

The President was in New York to participate in the 70th United Nations General Assembly.

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 will 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 sanitize Nigeria’s oil industry, which is said to be plagued by corruption, massive fraud, and crude oil theft.

Mr. Buhari restated his determination to sanitize 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 reorganization.

Buhari had on Monday said the trial of those who looted the NNPC would commence soon.

Shortly after assuming office, Buhari sacked and replaced the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC.

The new management had started a general reorganization of the firm.

Buhari had on Monday said the trial of those who looted the NNPC would commence soon.

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.

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.”

The Chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc committee on Publicity, Senator Dino Melaye says the screening of ministerial nominees will not be business as usual.

Speaking with journalist at the end of today’s plenary, Dino said – “In our screening of ministers, it will not be business as usual. The era of take a bow and go are over.

The right people will be made ministers without any political or religious affiliation” he said

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 told the Punch 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.

Meanwhile, a reliable source spoke to WEFM106.3 exclusively and informed us that the list has indeed been given to the Senate. It was presented to the Senate President at about 5.30pm yesterday.

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