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    Buhari Appoints Petroleum Minister


Nigeria's new minister is new to the sector but was once the governor of a Niger Delta state.

by: Omono Okonkwo

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Buhari Appoints Petroleum Minister

Almost three months after Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as president for his second term, he has appointed Timipre Sylva as Nigeria's new minister of state for petroleum. Buhari retains his position as minister for petroleum resources.

During Buhari's first presidential term, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu served as minister of state for petroleum. Timipre Sylva was governor of the oil-rich Bayelsa State from May 2008 – January 2012. 

In relation to his new position, Sylva served as a special assistant to Edmund Daukoru, the minister of state of petroleum resources in 2002, during the Olusegun Obasanjo government. Before his ministerial appointment, he was chairman of the governing board of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority.

He was also instrumental to the institution of the Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta region which, over time, has drastically reduced vandalism activities in the oil-producing areas of Nigeria.

After his swearing-in on August 21, Sylva told reporters that he would immediately start meeting with his new colleagues in government.

"I know we have a very competent management in the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Department for Petroleum Resources, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board," he said.

According to a few stakeholders, Sylva's appointment could mean that the Niger Delta region could benefit more from the sector that it hosts. On the other hand, a serving member of the Nigeria Gas Association told NGW on condition of anonymity that Sylva's appointment could mean that the Buhari administration is not interested in appointing industry experts to move the country forward.

Kachikwu had over 20 years' experience in the sector, mostly outside government, giving him the ability to make decisions that were not based on politics.