President Buhari Is Not The Minister Of Petroleum By Sunusi Musa
The current fuel scarcity has attracted negative reactions from Nigerians against Mr Ibe Kachikwu the Minister in charge of Ministry of Petroleum. Yours sincerely, is among those who feel the Minister ought to resign for his failure to forestall such embarrassing situation. Whenever a criticism is directed at Kachikwu for his failure in the discharge of his duties, many are quick to posit that he is but a Minister of State and the President is the substantive minster of Petroleum hence the larger blame ought to be directed at the President.
I have been trying to disabuse the minds of the people as to the fallacy of the notion that the President is also the Minister of Petroleum. It is fallacious both constitutionally and logically for our President to be regarded as Minister at the same time.
Now look at it this way, for those of us from the Kano, does it sound right for the Emir to also be regarded as Turakin Kano for instance. How does it sound if I address the Etsu Nupe as also the Makaman Nupe? Ok may be I did not make my point clear, is there any logic in referring to President of the Senate as Chairman House Committee on Petroleum downstream just because there is only a Vice Chairman heading the Committee? It somehow sounds awkward huh? That’s the same point I am trying to make against calling the President the Minister of Petroleum. It is demeaning to the office and the person of the President to refer to him as a Minister.
From the constitutional angle, section 147 of the 1999 constitution, creates the position of the Minister, gives President the power to establish the offices of the Ministers as he may thinks fit and state how a person can appointed a Minster. The section further states the minimum qualification for appointment as Minister. In reading the said section one finds some basic requirement which a person must comply with before he can be said to have been appointed a Minster of the Federal republic. These are, the person must have been appointed by the President, the appointment must have been confirmed by the Senate and the person to be appointed must have the qualification to be a Member of the House of Representatives. In addition, by section 149, the person must declare his asset and take oath of office. The question is does the President meet the basic requirements stated in the constitution?
On appointment, I don’t think the President have the requirement therein. This is because while the President is empowered to make the appointment he cannot appoint himself. This President derives his power from Nigerians who elected (not appointed) him in to the office and it is out of the power the election conferred on him that he is empowered to appoint other people to assist him in the exercise of his power. In other words constitutional provision is explicit as to the power of the President to appoint a person to the office of a Minister and such appointment must be send to the Senate for confirmation. In interpreting the provision, the maxim is ‘expressio unius est exclusion alterius’ come handy. It means that the express mentioned of one thing in a statutory provision automatically excludes any other thing which would otherwise be implied by necessary implication. Had the framers of the constitution intended that the President can appoint himself a Minister they should have expressly stated so. The President has never sent his name to the Senate for confirmation of appointment as Minister hence not meeting the requirement of appointment.
On qualification, one needs not to say that indeed the President has more than the minimum qualification for appointment as Minister. Section 147 (5) makes it makes it mandatory that no person is to be appointed a Minister unless he is qualified to contest election into the House of Representatives. And what is the qualification for standing election to the House of Representatives? Section 65 of the Constitution provides a person must have attained the age of thirty; he must have been educated up to school leaving certificate and must be a member of a political party. No doubt the President satisfies this condition.
Then what of declaration of assets and oath of office? No doubt the President has declared his asset and has also taken oath of office. But the question to be asked is was the declaration made and oath of office taken pursuant to section 149 of the Constitution? My answer here is in negative. The declaration of assets and liabilities as well as the oath of office subscribed by the President were done pursuant to section 140 of the Constitution. This means that the President has not declared his assets and liability neither has he taken oath of office as a Minister of the Federal Republic. Even though both oaths for President and Minister are contained in 7th schedule to the constitution, but their contents differs hence one cannot be replacement for another.
It is therefore wrong for anybody to refer to the President as Minster. The President is not a Minister, he is above the position of a Minister and as such the person and the office should not be debased. Kachukwu is the Minister of Petroleum not Buhari please.
Sunusi Musa esq
Write from Kado Estate, Abuja
9th April, 2016.
Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates
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