LAGOS,November 11, 2015 – 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 petroleum resources.
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.