National Assembly and summoning of PMB on fuel crises

BuhariThe recurring fuel crises with its crippling effects on the economy has justified the solemn exhortation of patriotic commentators on national issues who kicked against the earlier indication of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) to be the petroleum minister; aping the former Imperial President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who never gave account of how he ran the behemoth and sensitive organisation. PMB behaved true to type as some people who had interacted with him at close quarters said that whenever he made up his mind on something, no force can deter him.

The President can be said to have flouted the constitution by not including his name in the list sent to the Senate for screening for confirmation as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The constitution requires that whoever is going to be minister should go before the Senate for screening. There is no exception. Rather than appearing for screening, Buhari submitted the name of the group managing director of NNPC as Minister of State for the petroleum ministry.

Since it is customary for the Senate to invite the minister of a sector, which has lingering issues of national significant, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe suggested that Buhari should be invited to explain the logjam in the on-going fuel crisis that has plunged the country into a complex dilemma. He was supported by his colleagues.

However, to the consternation of the people, ethno-religious sentiment erupted in the Red Chamber and the Senate President overruled the invitation of the President to the Senate to clear the fog on the lingering fuel imbroglio; even as the minister of state for the ministry was deemed not covered by the constitution to represent his boss.

The faux pas in the Senate has complicated the exasperation of the Nigerians; more so as the minister of state in the petroleum ministry has been fumbling from one subterfuge to the other in his attempt to explain away the impasse. It is gross irresponsibility for the Senate President to shield Buhari from being summoned to shed a lurid light on the fuel crisis, which dislocated the economic activities nation-wide. Since Buhari had defied all solemn exhortation to abandon the grossly irrational step of combining the arduous duties and responsibilities attached to the behemoth petroleum ministry with the equally enormous and gargantuan demands of the presidency, he should go to the Senate and do what other ministers do to explain things to the people who are the custodian of power.

It is high time Nigeria stopped being a laughing stock of civilised and advanced countries of the world. When these civilised nations want to amuse themselves, they mention Nigeria where the behemoth ministry of power was rightly occupied by a professor of robotic engineering and later he was replaced with a professor of engineering. A renowned architect as minister of works in the immediate past administration is now headed by a lawyer; in addition to other two very large ministries of works and housing. Of course, he would be repeating “I put it to you, to the professional engineers in the ministries, till the end of four years”.

Somebody said that the former governor ought to have taken crash programmes in electrical, mechanical and building engineering since nothing is impossible in the apparently accursed country. Also it is in Nigeria that an accountant/columnist is a minister of education, while a professor of education and former vice-chancellor of a university is his junior minister. Again, a lawyer instead of an experienced oil and gas engineer who has been the group managing director of NNPC is now the junior minister, more referred to as Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum. Shame unto Nigeria!

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo brazenly defied the “Unitary-Federal Contraption” referred to as the Nigeria Constitution and did not appoint a minister of petroleum. He supposedly became one

Because of the work load, it is believed that the minister of power, works and housing would need to be very close to medical specialists who would regularly monitor his blood pressure.

The volume of mails in the three ministries and files to be perused daily will be unimaginable. This workload, we should not forget, will be in addition to series of tiring meetings and energy sapping tours of projects and even trips to foreign countries and seminars/workshops. All these would require a super human being from Mars to be efficient and effective to live up to the lofty expectations of the three ministries. It would appear grossly irrational lumping such major ministries, each of which is tasking enough, under one person and worse still, who is not an engineer. My reading of it is that it is all a positioning for 2019.

Nigerians should bestir themselves and resist another imperial presidency bolstered by the feudal caliphate in the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) meekly and timidly supported by their vassals in the middle-belt who do not want to liberate themselves and their off-springs in the name of “A united North” in the lopsided National Assembly.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo brazenly defied the “Unitary-Federal Contraption” referred to as the Nigeria Constitution and did not appoint a minister of petroleum. He supposedly became one.

Since the acclaimed ‘owners’ of Nigeria in the National Assembly prevailed over the rightful motion that Buhari should be invited to throw light on the fuel crises, it equally indicates that there will be no transparency and accountability in the petroleum sector of the Nigeria’s already wobbling and comatose economy. As things stand now, who are you to question Buhari on the goings-on in the oil and gas sector?

The actual picture of APC so-called ‘change’ is emerging; the change mantra and anti-corruption posturing is mere shadow-chasing and rhetoric. Southerners and the ethnic nationalities in the middle-belt (assuming that the ACF and NSGF cage would be thrown over-board and be liberated) must stamp their feet on the ground and demand for the immediate restructuring of Nigeria.
Governor Rochas Okorocha was courageous enough to say so when he addressed the agitators of ‘Biafra’. The fundamental problem of Nigeria is not corruption but centralisation of MDA’s in the imposed pseudo federalism by the feudal caliphate.

Political reform conferences have to be implemented to enable civilised ethnic groups like the Igbos to be liberated and join advanced nations of the world.

Onwubiko is a public affairs commentator., Awka, Anambra

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