President does not have to be Minister of Petroleum, Falae backs Sanusi


An elder statesman and a former Minister of Finance, Chief Olu Falae, says Nigeria’s president does not have to be the minister of petroleum, adding that it is important to appoint a minister to oversee the ministry.

His stance is similar to that of former central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who has stated that the president should not be appointed as minister of petroleum, arguing that naming a minister of petroleum will allow someone to be held accountable should things go wrong.

During his tenure, ex-President Muhammadu Buhari held the role, with incumbent Bola Tinubu towing the same line. However, the elder statesman contended that the petroleum ministry should be led by a minister rather than the president.

“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 be 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.

‘Politics Will Intervene’

The former presidential candidate also suggested that the Federal Government repair and sell Nigeria’s crude oil refineries to private individuals who can run them better.

“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.”