A veteran politician and former minister of finance Chief Olu Falae has said it is not necessary for Nigeria’s president to serve as the Ministry of Petroleum. However, he notes that designating a minister to manage the ministry is crucial.
In his view, having a minister of petroleum will allow for the appointment of someone who can be held accountable in the event that things go wrong. Former governor of the central bank Sanusi Lamido Sanusi previously stated that the president should not hold the office of minister of petroleum.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari occupied the post while Bola Tinubu, the current leader, followed suit. Instead of the president, the older statesman contended, a minister should be in control of the petroleum ministry.
“I believe that there ought to be a minister for every important subject in government including petroleum. But I know that petroleum is so important to the finances of government that no president has been able to take his hands off petroleum completely,” he said on Thursday’s edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“Not Babangida because we had Minister for Petroleum, not Obasanjo because we had Buhari as Petroleum Minister, no President has been able to take his hands off petroleum because it is so important.
“But conceptually, it is necessary and important to have a man of integrity called a minister to manage the petroleum industry in my view on behalf of the president and Nigeria so that he can ask held accountable.
“I think it is good for us to have a petroleum minister. All ministers report to the president but the president does not have to be the petroleum minister,” Falae said.
In addition, the former contender for president advocated for the Federal Government to fix Nigeria’s crude oil refineries and sell them to private companies for more efficient management.
“My belief is that Nigeria’s problem with fuel and its price will be substantially resolved when we are able to repair and recommission our refineries and sell to companies that know how to run refineries,” he added.
“We should not try to run them ourselves because if we try to do so, politics will intervene and we will mismanage them. I am sorry to say this.”