Timipre Sylva, Nigeria’s minister of state for petroleum, has resigned to run for governor of oil-producing Bayelsa State in the southern Niger Delta, ministry and presidency sources told Reuters on Thursday.
Sylva’s resignation comes at a time when Nigeria is in the midst of a political transition, with President Muhammadu Buhari serving his final weeks in office before handing over to President-elect Bola Tinubu on May 29.
According to two unnamed individuals, Sylva presented his resignation letter to Buhari, who also serves as petroleum minister, last week and stopped showing up at work.
They said he would run for Bayelsa governor on the ruling All Progressives Congress ticket in the party primaries on April 14. Sylva was unavailable for comment, and the petroleum ministry declined to comment.
Between 2008 and 2012, Sylva was the governor of Bayelsa for a full term. He was a member of the People’s Democratic Party at the time, which was in power at the federal level but is now in opposition.
Sylva was appointed junior oil minister in August 2019 and oversaw major reforms in the oil sector, including the passage of legislation that overhauled the sector’s fiscal regime in an effort to stimulate investment.
During his time as minister, Nigeria’s oil output fell to its lowest in decades due to crude theft and pipeline vandalism.