Indications have emerged that the President is likely to head the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in the new cabinet, rather than trust anyone else with the source of most of Nigeria’s revenue, just like President Olusegun Obasanjo did for about five years of the his eight-year tenure as civilian leader.
According to one of Buhari’s long-standing associates who spoke on condition of anomymity, Nigeria’s oil sector is so dirty that nobody’s hands are clean enough to do the “surgical changes” needed.
Another associate said: “Buhari will do it. It would be stupid to give that position to anyone else.”
According to the first source, Buhari has still not settled on his cabinet and has laughed off speculation in the media about those he will appoint. Joking with friends as he read out a newspaper article that mentioned possible names: 'They have picked my ministers for me. Have I even told you who I want?'
“It’s going to be a lean government, I doubt he’ll have 42 ministries like Jonathan but he must have at least 36 (for the number of states) as prescribed by the constitution, though it does not specify whether they have to be senior or junior,” an adviser in the ruling APC party told Reuters.
Buhari's camp had not yet gone through reports on Jonathan’s handover notes on policy, the adviser said.
“There is a huge body of proposals being bandied around the place,” the advisor said, adding that Buhari plans to let the N60 billion a year amnesty programme end in December as scheduled to save money and it is unclear what he will fund in its place.
He has also made it clear that he wants to revamp Nigeria’s refining sector, which declined while the country became dependent on imports for fuel.
The APC source added. “He (Buhari) is emotionally attached to the refineries because he built some of them. He wants them to start functioning again.”