A former Minister of Petroleum, Prof. Tam David-West, has explained that the position of the president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, is not for the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, but Nigeria as a member.
He made the clarification yesterday in a chat with The Nation in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday.
The former minister said he was taken aback by the misunderstanding of the emergence of Mrs. Alison-Madueke as OPEC President, saying it is shameful that most Nigerians do not know the organisation’s mode of operation.
According to David-West, OPEC presidents are never elected but selected by members, adding that the tenure is only for a meeting except the current president is given another term.
His words: “I congratulate Nigeria and the Petroleum Minister in that order for the OPEC presidency. However, I want to make the following corrections:
“First, OPEC presidents are never elected but selected. There has never been a contest. Immediately they agree, the first item on the agenda is always selection of the president. It is by selection and consensus but never by election.
“It is also for the country, not for the minister. For example, Rilwan Lukman became OPEC President the very first meeting he attended because they had agreed at the last meeting (during my tenure as minister) that Nigeria would be president. I actually received a hand-written note from the then Saudi Oil Minister, Sheik Zaki Yamani, to that effect.
“Again, the tenure of the OPEC presidency is for that meeting alone. But if she wants, she can be re-nominated and endorsed”.