President Buhari on Tuesday told Reuters exclusively on the sidelines of the US General Assembly that he will not be naming a Minister of Petroleum Resources. In his words;
“I intend to remain the minister of petroleum resources,” – Buhari
According to the report, the president based his decision on the need to personally trace and recover what he has called “mind-boggling” sums of money stolen over the years from the oil sector. He also said that he will delegate the day to day running of the Ministry to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.
However, some analysts are already taking issues with this decision and have accused the president of intending to break the law if he goes ahead with it. They cite section 138 of the Nigerian constitution which explicitly excludes the president from holding any other position of office either publicly or privately.
The President shall not, during his tenure of office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever.
But Legal Experts interviewed by Nairametrics, explain why he is not breaking any law
- The “spirit of the clause” which is the basis for section 138 is to ensure that a sitting president does not hold any other job in an official capacity or is being paid as an employee somewhere else.
- According to them, the fact that the President has pronounced himself “Minister of Petroleum” is only a matter of words as he can never be officially mentioned as the Minister of Petroleum.
- They also buttress the fact that for him to be officially designated as the Minister of Petroleum, he would have to go to the Senate to get confirmation.
- Even if he is acting as the de-facto Minister, he is not receiving any payment monetary compensation for that
- They also refer to the fact that by the powers conferred on him by the constitution, it is his decision to appoint a Minister to any Ministry whenever he deems fit.
- Also, since Ministers derive their powers from the President, the president can preside over a ministry without a Minister and as such can delegate the day to day running of that Ministry to the Perm Sec or to the Minister of State (which he intends to do)