Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari swore in his 36-member cabinet
and appointed himself as the head of powerful Petroleum Ministry on
Wednesday, after running the government for more than five months
without any ministers.
Buhari, who took charge at the end of May after pledging to end
corruption in the west African nation, said his government would try to
maximize revenue from the oil industry, which has been hit by theft,
fraud and a falling crude oil price.
“Speaking here is the substantive minister of petroleum resources,” Buhari told a cheering audience at the state house.
The Nigerian president has already reorganised the management of the
Petroleum Ministry by appointing key new staff members, renegotiating
oil contracts and banning some companies from lifting crude oil.
Kemi Adeosun, a former manager with auditing firm
PricewaterhouseCoopers, was named finance minister, while retired
Brigadier General Monsur Dan-Ali was appointed defence minister.
Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the managing director of the state owned
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, was named junior minister of
James Ocholi was named justice minister.
Buhari said he waited for five months to name his cabinet because he
was “mindful of the need to constitute a cabinet that will best deliver
our expectations of a better country than we inherited.”
He said before Wednesday’s inauguration that not all ministers would
be assigned portfolios and would be given assignments as they arise.
Analysts have criticized Buhari for appointing key players from past governments as governors, parliamentarians and ministers.
“With its composition, the cabinet is not likely to bring anything
new, it is not a cabinet of change,” Sylvester Odion Akhaine, a senior
lecturer at the Lagos State University, told dpa.
Buhari was appointed as the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and
Natural Resources in March 1976 by General Olusegun Obasanjo, who then
ruled the country as a military leader.
He was also appointed as the chair of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation when it was created in 1977.
According to the Nigerian Central Bank, the country, which is
Africa’s largest crude oil producer, earns around 90% of its foreign
exchange from oil.