President Muhammadu Buhari is likely to keep the oil
portfolio for himself in the new Nigerian cabinet, rather than
trust anyone else with the source of most of Nigeria’s
revenue and traditional fount of corruption, associates say.
The ministry contributes over 80 per cent of Nigeria’s
Reuters quoted some close associates of the President as
saying this on Tuesday.
One long-standing associate of Buhari, who spoke on
condition of anonymity because the cabinet decision was
still under wraps, said Nigeria’s oil sector was so dirty that
nobody’s hands were clean enough to do the “surgical
Reuters also quoted another political associate as saying,
“He will do it. It would be stupid to give that position to
Buhari has extensive knowledge of the oil sector, having
been head of the Petroleum Trust Fund under an ex-military
ruler, the late Gen. Sani Abacha, in the 1990s and oil
minister in the 1970s under Olusegun Obasanjo.
Jonathan has left Buhari with a cash-strapped government,
with a rainy-day fund so depleted that the government must
borrow just to cover salaries.
The government relies on oil sales for the bulk of its
revenues but there has been little oversight on how these
are handled. A former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor,
Lamido Sanusi, was sacked under Jonathan after he
declared that some $20bn in oil revenues was missing
between 2012 and 2013.