An Abuja based lawyer and human rights activist, barrister Kayode Ajulo has taken a swipe at President Mohammadu Buhari for keeping the Oil portfolio for himself in the new Nigerian cabinet which is expected to be constituted soon.
Ajulo who doubles as national secretary of Labour Party and Chairman of Egalitarian Mission, Africa, cited relevant portions of the constitution which explicitly restrict the president from taking such decision.
He dropped these hints at a parley with media executives in Abuja, ''According to Section 147 of the Nigerian Constitution, Buhari is not permitted to double as a President and as a Minister, only the Vice President may double as minister and vice president simultaneously.'' Said Ajulo.
The Labour Party scribe further highlighted the aspects of the law which only permits the President to assign other executive responsibilities to the Vice President.
He noted, ''Section 148 of the constitution permits Mr President to assign other executive responsibilities to his Vice. Section 138 clearly states that the President shall not, during his tenure of office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever."
''Section 147 of the 1999 constitution further states that ministers shall be distinct from Mr. President. Section147 paragraph (2) of 1999 constitution further elaborate that every nomination for minister must be confirmed by the Senate." He affirmed.
Ajulo as well said it would be honorable for President Buhari not to create another constitutional crises in the polity which is already overheated. He said it would be ridiculous to see the President coming for budget defense or to be found on the hot seat of National Assembly where oversight functions would be performed.
"Minister of Petroleum must always appear at the National Assembly for (1) Budget Defence, (2) Public hearings, (3) investigative summons, (4) Probes (5) Subjects to over-sight functions of the Legislators.'' He emphasized.
The legal practitioner also submitted that Buhari's declaration to head Petroleum Ministry has however sent jitters to the National Assembly, making all those lawmakers in the two chambers (Senate and House of Reps) to drop their desperate ambitions of becoming members or heads of 'juicy' Petroleum related committees since they are aware that the new Sheriff in town has zero tolerance for corruption and may also expose them if the situation calls for it.
The renowned constitutional lawyer maintained that Nigeria's oil sector is so dirty that nobody's hands are clean enough to do the surgical changes needed in the sector. Adding that Buhari retention of Ministry of Petroleum is not only a mockery of the constitution but will make the proposed Petroleum Industry Legislation unworkable. With no intent of denigrating the office of the President, Ajulo however advised the handlers of the President to guide and advise him appropriately.