Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister Withdraws from 2023 Presidential Race, Returns to Office

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Nigeria’s minister of state, petroleum resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, who had signaled to contest the 2023 presidential elections, has withdrawn from the race and returned to his office.

Mr. Sylva was among the horde of presidential aspirants under ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), until last week when President Muhammadu Buhari ordered that those serving as appointed officials of government aspiring to contest the elections should resign their appointments.

Close ministry source could only say yesterday that Sylva withdrew having considered the enormous work at hand at the ministry.

But independent sources said last night that the ministry may have resigned given that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had signaled to investigate the sources of the N100million paid for purchase of forms by the presidential aspirants.

It will be recalled that a group simply identified as the Northern Solidarity Group had on May 9, presented the APC’s Expression of Interest and Nomination form to the minister to enable him to contest the party’s 2023 presidential primaries.

When contacted last night, an aide of the minister who wished to remain anonymous said the minister resigned because he considered that Mr. President who he is working directly with, needed him around to deal with teething issues cropping up in the sector.

“The oil sector is highly unstable at the moment. It is not a very good time to abandon ship. The President, who is the substantive minister of petroleum, needs his assistance now, more than ever. There is so much going on now in the oil and gas sector. His presence is very important,” the source said.

According to the source, as the main stay of the economy, the oil and gas sector is not like any other ministry somebody can just come in and take over.

“It requires some measures of time for the person to understand what is happening in the system. For the interest of the industry and the nation, he has decided to wave that personal ambition to see what he can contribute in the remaining part of President Buhari’s administration.

“The implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 is very critical and he wants to continue to make his own contribution to the day-to-day running of the country and support Mr. President for robust achievements,” the official said.

A close senior aide to the minister confirmed yesterday that the Mr. Sylva is back in his office as a minister.

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