President Goodluck Jonathan has nominated the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to succeed the long-serving Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Mr. Abdullah al-Badri.
The news of Alison-Madueke’s nomination was disclosed by Iraq’s oil minister, Abdul Kareem Luaibi, on Tuesday, according to aReuters report.
Her nomination is coming at a time that the minister is facing intense pressure back home to extricate herself from a series of scandals linked to her.
The proposal by the Federal Government, Luaibi said, was intended to solve the deadlock over the post created by opposing candidates from Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The Iraqi minister added that his country had continued to back its own candidate and that the issue remained unresolved. Badri’s latest term in the office ends in December.
If the Nigerian candidacy is successful, Alison-Madueke will be the oil exporter group’s first female in the post. OPEC is to meet today (Wednesday).
The minister is currently being investigated by the House of Representatives for allegedly spending N10bn to charter a private jet for two years.
She has, however, made repeated attempts to foil the probe by the House.
Last month, she got an order of interim injunction from a court restraining the House, its members, committee or agents from summoning or directing her to appear before the probe panel.
The House had commenced the investigation following a motion on March 20, 2014, that was presented by Samuel Adejare.
The motion had accused Alison-Madueke of committing about €500,000 (N130m) monthly to maintain the private jet for her personal needs and those of her immediate family.
The matter has yet to be concluded, even as the Federal Government is putting the minister forward for the international position.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, who often speaks for the petroleum minister, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, told our correspondent that the NNPC was not aware of the Federal Government’s nomination of Alison-Madueke for the OPEC position.
“The OPEC meeting comes up tomorrow (today) and I cannot tell you whether Nigeria or the Federal Government put her name forward. However, it is not those of us here (NNPC) that will nominate our minister for such a position,” he said.