President Muhammadu Buhari’s ill-health which has made him travel to London for medical treatment has placed critical decision making of the oil sector in the hands of Ibe Kachikwu.
Kachikwu who is the minister of state for petroleum resources is set to be made substantive minister as according to New Telegraph, President Buhari told Kachikwu to “go ahead with some critical decisions, including, but not limited to overseeing the forthcoming oil bloc allocations if necessary.”
A source at the presidency said Kachikwu is likely going to be announced as substantive minister by President Buhari when he returns from London and this would be determined by his performance during his absence.
A cabal within the presidency mostly made up of northerners are however against the new move.
The souce said: “They murmured when the president allowed Dr. Kachikwu to take over as the substantive Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) because the post is for a substantive minister.
Now they are greatly unsettled that the status of a full minister has fallen on his laps, particularly due to the ill-health of the President who is abroad on an indefinite medical trip.”
The source also said Kachikwu in spite of the years he spent at Exxonmobil is still considered as an outsider by the core oil and gas industry stakeholders because of his background as a lawyer.
He said: “Go to top notch hotels in Lagos and Abuja, you are likely to run into these men who are geologists and petroleum engineers of various statuses. “The other time, at Four Point by Sheraton, they freely referred to him as a disco dancer.
“All these still come down to the fact that they still do not see him as one of them. But as fate will have it, he will make more core and critical decisions now that the ill-health of Mr. President is getting too long and the industry has to be kept running.”