Reports from Reuters and sources from the Buhari administration are suggesting that the President is likely to lead the Oil Ministry in his the new cabinet, rather than trust anyone with the job.
Buhari, who was voted into office on an anti-corruption platform, intends to fulfill campaign promises by heading the oil sector himself, sources say. The industry, which contributes as much as 80% of Nigeria’s revenue, has been endemic with corruption. Money and oil are stolen through oversight gaps, faulty accounting, and unmetered oil fields and pipelines.
In a review of the state owned oil company NNPC, its dealings were so shady that the organization commissioned to do a financial forensic audit over missing funds, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, was unable to obtain enough accounting documentation.
In 2014, Lamido Sanusi, the former central bank governor was sacked under during Jonathan’s administration after he declared as much as $20 billion in oil revenues missing.
The task of cleaning up the oil industry is sure to be a formidable one, but Buhari’s background as the former general who led Nigeria 30 years ago. In addition, he was head of the Petroleum Trust Fund under Sani Abacha’s rule in the 1990s and oil minister under Olusegun Obasanjo in the 1970s.
Buhari has already taken bold steps in the oil industry by refusing to renew the amnesty contracts offered to ex-militants in Nigeria’s oil-producing delta. The contract cost the Nigerian government 60 billion naira a year and is scheduled to end in December.
However, so far, no official appointments have been made concerning the new cabinet. The cabinet is unlikely to be revealed to the public until the end of July or August.