Who should be Nigeria’s next Petroleum Minister?

Mar 13, 2023|Noelle Okwedy

Key questions this article answers:

  1. What is the role of the petroleum minister?

  2. How has Nigeria’s oil sector performed under the president’s watch, and who is qualified to hold the role?

Since 1999, Nigeria has had four presidents, and two of them, Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari, have served as their own petroleum ministers.

Obasanjo was president from 1999 to 2007, but for six out of his eight years in office, President Obasanjo was also the petroleum minister. Towards the end of his first term in 2003, he appointed Edmund Dakoru as Special Adviser on Petroleum and Energy.

Again in 2005, during his second term, following lawsuits from Niger Delta organisations for taking on the petroleum minister role, he promoted Dakoru to the minister of State for petroleum.

The minister of state for petroleum is more like a deputy minister, and Nigeria’s petroleum law (the Petroleum Industry Act) does not recognise the role.

Following Obasanjo’s footsteps, President Buhari again appointed himself minister of petroleum resources from 2015 to date, and we assume till the end of his tenure. Unlike Obasanjo, President Buhari appointed ministers of state—Ibe Kachukwu for his first term and Timipre Sylva for his second.

However, some things should not be, even though they’re not necessarily illegal. For instance, the President should not double as a minister, especially for a sector as critical as Petroleum resources.

The role of the petroleum minister

Before the Petroleum Industry Act of 2021, the 1990 Petroleum Act set out the minister's role. Considering that the Act was the

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