Nigeria’s state-run oil firm chief set for ministerial post

ABUJA:  The newly appointed head of Nigeria’s state-run oil firm
looks likely to also serve in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet,
after the first
batch of ministerial nominees was unveiled Tuesday.

Ibe Kachikwu, the new group managing director of the Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), was among some 20 names on the
long-awaited list read out in the Senate.

The former executive vice-chairman of Exxon-Mobil Africa was only
appointed in early August and was tasked with cleaning up the NNPC as
part of Buhari’s drive against corruption.

Buhari said last week he would personally oversee the oil ministry,
meaning Kachikwu is likely to be junior minister in charge of day-to-day
affairs in the industry.

Senate President Bukola Saraki read out the names to the upper
chamber of parliament and said their appointments would be confirmed at a
further sitting next Tuesday.

Buhari will assign portfolios to the individuals once senators have approved their nominations.

Other leading names on the list were Babatunde Fashola, the former
governor of Nigeria’s financial capital Lagos, and Rotimi Amaechi, who
governed oil-rich Rivers state until earlier this year.

Former army chief Abdulrahman Dambazau was also included, suggesting
he may be set for defence, while Buhari’s personal lawyer, Abubakar
Malami could get the justice ministry.

Lai Mohammed, spokesman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, may emerge as information minister in the new cabinet.

The list was submitted to the Senate on September 30 but the names
were not made public as senators were in recess. More nominees are
expected in the coming days.

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Buhari has been running the country with civil servants at government ministries since his inauguration on May 29.

He said before taking office that corruption and the corrupt would
have no place in his government, with vetting of candidates seen as a
reason for the delay in appointing a senior ministerial team.

Last week he attributed the delays to the late reception of handover
notes from the previous administration and the need to evaluate
recommendations to streamline government departments.

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