The Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs Deziani Alison Madueke was seen leaving the residence of General Abdulsalami Abubakar along with her aides looking worried not knowing her fate after May 28. Eye witness account says her eyes were swollen like someone who has not had sleep for sometime. They say she is worried that she is likely to be the target of any probe by the next government and had gone to the General who as chairman of the National peace Committee has related closely with President Jonathan and President-elect Buhari.
It is believed that she has come to the General for protection against future probes of her activities as petroleum minister. They say she is also looking to ensure that she remains the president of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC. She is the first female to head the organisation that became relevant to world economy after the Arab-Israeli war of 1973.
It is understood that she is perceived as arrogant by the staff of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and some whistle blowers may see her exit as the opportunity to take their pound of flesh. They say there is a good chance that the President- elects Buhari may probe the Petroleum Ministry because that is the cash cow of the nation. He has said he will not tolerate looting of the treasury.
The president-elect is unlikely to probe the president, not after the good gesture of calling to congratulate the president-elect before the final result is announced. There is no precedent of directly probing a living president. It is however not clear if such gesture will be extended to ministers and heads of departments and agencies.
There are issues still in contention relating to the activities of the ministry. Prominent among them is the issue of petroleum subsidy and kerosene subsidy scams.
The other issue is the allegation of the former governor of central bank and the Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi. In September 2013, he had alleged that the NNPC failed to remit $49.8b in oil revenue to the federation account. Although it was finally agreed that the missing money was about $10b, it is speculated that Emir may come up with more fact to support his earlier argument that money is missing. The Former CBN governor Charles Soludo who is rumoured to be the next Minister of Finance during made some allegations which may be pursued. Some say she is unlikely to be probed as the wife of the former colleague of the president-elect and she is said to be an in law to the president.
There is also the issue of strategic alliance agreement which the NNPC entered into with Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd to produce oil. Also is the arrangement between the NPDC a subsidiary of NNPC transferring 55% stakes in some of its oil blocks to Septa Energy and Atlantic Energy in what the NNPC describe as strategic partnership agreement which is said to have been grossly undervalued to the disadvantage of the NNPC and Nigeria.
It remains to be seen if General Abdulsalami Abubakar will intervene if president-elect Buhari decides to ask the minister to account after May 29, 2015.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
-Ex VP Atiku Abubakar on Restructuring.
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