In a move that has surprised many, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has reportedly resigned from his post to seek a new term as governor of Bayelsa State. According to presidency sources who spoke to Reuters, Sylva handed in his resignation letter last week to President Muhammadu Buhari, who doubles as petroleum minister, and has since stopped coming to the office.
Sylva’s resignation comes at a time of political transition in Nigeria, with President Buhari serving his final weeks in office before handing over to President-elect Bola Tinubu on May 29. The move is seen as a bold step by Sylva, who is seeking the ruling All Progressives Congress ticket to run for Bayelsa governor in party primaries scheduled for April 14.
During his time as junior oil minister, Sylva oversaw major reforms in the oil sector, including the passing of legislation that overhauled the sector’s fiscal regime in a bid to spur investment. However, Nigeria’s oil output fell to its lowest in decades due to crude theft and pipeline vandalism, and Angola overtook Nigeria as Africa’s biggest oil producer and exporter for a few months last year.
Sylva served as governor of Bayelsa for one full term between 2008 and 2012. At the time, he was a member of the People’s Democratic Party, which was then in power at the federal level but is now in opposition. The move to seek another term as governor has been seen as a natural progression for Sylva, who is widely regarded as a political heavyweight in the region.
Sylva’s resignation has not been confirmed by the petroleum ministry, which declined to comment on the matter. Attempts to reach Sylva for comment have also been unsuccessful at the time of writing.
In conclusion, the resignation of Timipre Sylva as Petroleum Minister to run for governor has caused a stir in political circles in Nigeria. It remains to be seen how this move will affect the oil sector and the country’s economy, especially with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will keep you updated on any further developments in this story.