21 July 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Between 1984 and 2010, Rilwanu Lukman was not only a constant feature but was deep-rooted in virtually all the governments in Nigeria. He shot into national prominence in 1984 when he was appointed Minister of Mines, Power and Steel by the military government of General Muhammadu Buhari. Under the succeeding government of General Ibrahim Babangida, Lukman was moved to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources as minister (1986-1990). He was later appointed Foreign Affairs minister by the same government. While serving as Petroleum Minister in Nigeria, Lukman was OPEC president from 1986 to 1994, enjoying, in the process, eight consecutive elections to the post. He later became OPEC secretary general (1994-2000).
The deceased returned to government in Nigeria in 1999 following his appointment as Special Adviser on Petroleum and Energy Matters by President Olusegun Obasanjo. After exiting the Obasanjo government in November 2003, Lukman was to return in 2007 as honorary adviser on Energy and Strategic Matters to late President Umaru Yar’adua and was in December 2008 re-appointed as Minister of Petroleum Resources, a position from which he resigned in 2010.
Born in Zaria, Kaduna State, on August 26, 1938, Lukman was a qualified mining engineer. He attended the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria; Imperial College, London; University of Mining and Metallurgy, Leoben, Austria and McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He had an honorary doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bologna, Italy.
Besides his activities in government, the late minister is reported to hold major interests in many oil companies, both as shareholder, director and chairman. Lukman was until his death chairman of Afren, an oil exploration and producing company, with operations in Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire.
A member of the supervisory board of the Dutch multinational Dietsmann NV, his name appears as director in Africa Heritage Oil & Gas Ltd, Africa Heritage Industrial Ltd, Africa Heritage Logistics Ltd and Africa Heritage Investments Ltd. He is also linked to such companies as Gasol, Afgas, African LNG Holdings and African Gas Development Corporation.