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Travails Of A Minister …Ibe Kachikwu Issues A Fib, Face-Saving Response

Travails Of A Minister …Ibe Kachikwu Issues A Fib, Face-Saving Response
October 12
13:13 2018

By Banjo Ogunleye

In the last couple of weeks, members of the Buhari administration, and, by extension, the president, have come under scathing public scrutiny and opprobrium for certificate forgery and false academic claims.

Indeed, it has been one week, one embarrassing revelation. From Kemi Adeosun, until recently the Minister of Finance, to Adebayo Shittu, former Minister of Communications, and Okoi Obono-Obla, Special Assistant on Prosecutions, they have all been caught napping for presenting varying degrees of falsified certificates, and outright lies.

The latest exposé is about the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, who had been claiming, and was generally accepted by Nigerians, to be a First Class product of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, as against the second class upper that he actually graduated with.

Yesterday, a popular news website sensationally released documentary evidence that Kachikwu, while highlighting his educational achievements at a church programme in 2016, said, “…I went to Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University) to try and read medicine and I was there for two weeks and then I got admission to read law. My Father drove all the way to Ife to meet me and he asked, why do you want to go to the University….My dad was talking to a little boy and that got me. So, I packed my bag, left the school of medicine and went to read law (at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka). And, I got in there, got a scholarship and became the best student. I had a first class in that institution (UNN).”

In all his profiling on Wikipedia and traditional and new media, and even at public and private events, he never missed an opportunity to mouth his phantom First Class. With back against the wall, Kachikwu, in a face-saving move, issued a statement, stating that he never claimed to have a First Class. “My official CV and resume is in the public domain and has been submitted to various levels of Government and Parastatals.

Also, the document clearly states that I obtained a ‘Second Class Honours (Upper Division) degree’ from the Faculty of Law at the University of Nigeria Nsukka,” the statement read. The harried minister continued, “In addition, no First Class Honours were awarded by the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1978. However, I was on the list for best graduands with Second Class Upper Honours for that year. At no time have I misled the Nigerian public or my colleagues in believing otherwise… I was the best graduating student in the Nigerian Law School in the year 1979 (the first in class) with multiple prizes (winning 5 out of all 7 prizes given). In 1979, the Nigerian Law School had not begun a process of classifying its certificates. That begun (sic) many years later. However, best graduands have subsequently now been classified in the First Class category by the Law School.”

As if this was not enough scandal in a week, Kachikwu is now facing accusations of being a serial betrayal who abandoned those who helped to facilitate his federal appointment. As the story goes, Kachikwu, then an unorthodox dresser who was likely to be seen in gaudy ensembles than a well-cut suit as is now the case, was first introduced to President Muhammadu Buhari by businessman, Nuel Ojei.

Kachikwu, who has a PhD in law from Harvard University, had made good in the oil industry where he rose to become Executive Vice Chairman at Exxon Mobil and he was presented as the man needed to turn around the oil industry. And Buhari gave him the opportunity! Ask Siene Allwell-Brown, she would confirm this.

Not long after, something happened, as reports got to the president that Kachikwu might be feathering his own nest at the NNPC where he was charged to initiate enduring reforms. Kachikwu’s famed credibility was eroding before his eyes and the taciturn Major-General turned democrat struck. In July 2016, he was removed as GMD of NNPC and told to face the Ministry of Petroleum where Buhari is the substantive minister.

“The president was going to sack Kachikwu outright but he was prevailed upon to retain him as Minister of State in a face-saving move,” a source told The Capital. Another source said that while he held sway at the NNPC, a number of persons who helped along the line never saw Kachikwu’s rear again.

Interestingly, other sources confided in The Capital that Kachikwu might, as he claimed, not have an academic First Class, but he is a First Class brain and that he was on the verge of introducing reforms that would change the NNPC for good before his removal. It is this same set that effusively describes him as nice, accessible and accommodating. Different strokes for different folks.

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