After weeks of speculation, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.
The Minister informed the President about his decision to take his exit vide letter No. HMR/MPR/001/Vol.1/303 dated March 14, 2023. A copy of the letter was sent to the Secretary to the Government of Federarion (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
In the letter, Sylva invited the President’s attention to the provisions of the Electoral Acts 2022 as well as the guidelines for the conduct of party primaries relating to all political appointees aspiring to participate in election primaries of the APC at all levels.
Section 3(i) of the guidelines provided that no political appointee at any level shall either be a voting delegate, or be voted for the purpose of the nomination of candidates.
Consequently, any political appointee or office holder interested in contesting any public office must resign at least 30 days before the date for the election or party primary for the office.
The Minister asked the President to approve his resignation, as he was interested in participating in the gubernatorial race in Bayelsa State and would be contesting the upcoming party primaries of his party.
“In line with extant regulations and policies of the civil service, I shall hand over to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva pending the appointment of a new Minister of State by Mr. President,” Sylva said.
He thanked the President for the opportunity given him to serve to help in actualising his vision for the country’s petroleum sector, which he said he served with diligence and integrity.
“I have delivered on all my Ministerial mandates along the nine priority areas of the administration. I am leaving office with a sense of fulfilment knowing that I have left the, Nigerian Petroleum Industry better than I met,” he said.
Sylva, who a few months ago was being courted by a youth group for him to join the 2023 Presidential race under the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) because of his sterling performance in office, is vying for the governorship ticket for the second time.
The primaries to select the party’s candidate for the election is scheduled for April 14.
To afford him sufficient time to sell his programmes and plans to the people prior to the commencement of the race, it was gathered that the President had no option than to approve his decision to exit the cabinet.
Reuters said since Sylva turned in his resignation letter last week to President Muhammadu Buhari, he had stopped reporting to work in hisp office.
“They said he would be seeking the ruling All Progressives Congress ticket to run for Bayelsa governor in party primaries scheduled to take place on April 14,” Reuters reported.
Sylva had his foray into the gubernatorial race in Bayelsa in 2007 when he emerged winners as a candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to succeeded Goodluck Jonathan, who moved on to became Vice President, then President Umar Musa Yar’Adua.
Sylva remained in office as governor of Bayelsa State for one full term between 2008 and 2012.
But, Sylva’s opponent in the 2007 election, Ebitimi Amgbare of the Action Congress, had gone to court to challenge his election.
Although the Bayelsa State Election Petitions Tribunal upheld Sylva’s election, Amgbare proceeded to the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt, which nullified the election and terminated the tenure on April 15, 2008.
In declaring the election null and void, the five Appeal Court justices returned a unanimous ruling and ordered that Speaker Werinipre Seibarugo be sworn in to replace Sylva as acting Governor, until a new election was held within three months.
When the fresh election was held on May 24, 2008, Sylva reclaimed his mandate with resounding victory at the polls.
DHowever, on January 27, 2012, his tenure was terminated by the Supreme Court with an acting governor appointed to oversee the affairs of the state until the election of February 2012.
On August 21, 2019, President Buhari appointed Sylva as the Minister of State to assist him pilot the affairs of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources which had announced himself as the substantive Minister.
Based on his rich pedigree and experience in the petroleum industry, having served previously as the Senior Special Assistant to the former Presidential Adviser on Petroleum Matters, Edmund Daukoru, Sylva superintendent over major reforms in the oil and gas industry sector, including the landmark, Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) after almost two decades of attempt to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill to overhaul the sector’s regulatory and fiscal framework to spur investment and grow the industry.