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Published On: Wed, Jun 4th, 2014

2015: Jonathan ‘considers petroleum minister’s sack’

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President JonathanBy Lawrence Olaoye with agency reports.

There are indications that President Goodluck Jonathan May be seriously considering the sack of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

An on-line report yesterday hinted that the President may have resolved to ease the super minister out because of the groundswell of ‘scandals’ around her.

Though the source cautioned that Jonathan’s resolve may not be absolute because there have been speculations in the past that he would sack the Petroleum Minister without him doing so, it was said that there are serious pressure on Jonathan’s administration to shed the toga of corruption by easing out Alison-Madueke, who has been the most criticized minister in his cabinet.

The source told The Cable on-line that “don’t bet on it yet, because the matter has been on the president’s table for a while without him taking any action”.

According to the source, the President, after sacking the minister may not appoint a substantive replacement till the end of his tenure.

There are speculations however that a Mining Engineer, who was once Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), may be favored for the job. If Jonathan goes ahead with the plan, the arrangement will be similar to what obtained under former President Olusegun Obasanjo who operated with a special adviser for six out of his eight years in office.

The source further said that it has become clear to the President that his second term bid will be affected by the Alison-Madueke baggage. Last month, there was a litany of negative editorials against Jonathan in the international media in which his government was labelled as corrupt based mainly on the allegations against the petroleum minister.

An Aso Rock insider said: “If it is true that the president has finally decided to fire Diezani, then the spell has been broken.” A minister told TheCable that the conduct of Alison-Madueke at cabinet meetings had been “very embarrassing” at times.

“There was a day she engaged the President in a hot argument over a memo. Everybody went quiet, totally embarrassed. The president had to stamp his feet before she backed out,” he said.

She is also said to be in the habit of leaving Federal Executive Council (FEC)’s meetings midway. “She developed a style in which she would leave her bag on her seat, go to a corner, bow to the President to take an excuse as if she was going to use the loo and that would be it for the day; her aides will come for her bag later. Most times, she is at the Presidential Villa while bundles of files are lying untreated on her desk,” the minister said.

It is yet unclear if Jonathan will see through his latest move to drop her from the cabinet, but a source told TheCable “the likelihood is higher than ever before”.

Efforts made to confirm the story from the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, was unsuccessful as calls and text messages put across to him were neither answered nor replied.

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