Search This Blog


Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Ibe Kachikwu That I Know And Worked For By Kayode Ajala, Former Editor Of Hints

 On Sunrise Daily, Channels TV’s every morning must watch talk show, the presence of Olisa Metuh, the People’s Democratic Party (P.D.P) National Publicity Secretary, caught my attention a couple of days back. Metuh was on the hot seat being interviewed on sundry national issues and as far as I was concerned, he was not really saying anything new until he mentioned the name of Dr Ibe Kachikwu, the man who was recently appointed as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (N.N.P.C.), the man who just a few months after that appointment was considered worthy of consideration as a honourable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Metuh wanted viewers to know that Dr Ibe Kachikwu was not a new discovery.

In fact, Metuh claimed on national television that Kachikwu was a discovery of the People’s Democratic Party (P.D.P) government led by Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. He then warned President Buhari to back off and not claim any credit for discovering Kachikwu.

Hear Metuh: ‘President Muhammadu Buhari should not claim Ibe Kachikwu’s appointment as a plus for the A.P.C led government as Kachikwu was supposed to have been appointed substantive Minister of Petroleum two and a half years ago under the P.D.P. led government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.’ Metuh then reiterated that Ex- president Goodluck Jonathan wanted to name Ibe Kachikwu as replacement for Diezani Allison-Madueke as Petroleum Minister. When asked by one of the presenters why this didn’t materialise, Metuh had dodged the question and laughed.

And I was quite put off. Why? Metuh should not have dodged that question. Metuh should not have just laughed it off. Rather, he should have told us more about the man, Ibe Kachikwu. With such glowing credentials and achievements that could easily intimidate even the most accomplished, Kachikwu should not have been swept under the carpet like Metuh did on Channels Television that morning. My people, the Yoruba’s of South West Nigeria have a proverb that says, ‘If your daughter is a stunning beauty, do not be ashamed to proclaim it on the rooftops as you won’t be doing that just because you want to take your own daughter as a wife.’ Metuh’s outburst, that morning, brought one good thing to the fore though, it established Ibe Kachikwu (and deservedly so too) as a beautiful bride whose hand is being sought by a lot of suitors.

When Kachikwu was appointed as the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (N.N.P.C) by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 4th of August, 2015, I was one of those who commended the President for making a right choice. ‘This is like putting a round peg in a round hole,’ I’d told anyone who cared to listen, ‘It shows that the President is indeed very serious about making a change and eradicating corruption in all facets of the Nigerian society.’ For, if a list of Nigerians who have risen to the pinnacle of wealth and success through commitment and hardwork, without soiling their hands with the mud of graft and corruption were to be written, Kachikwu’s name would shine like a million stars.

I met Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu for the very first time in 1988. He was, at that time, the General Counsel/Legal Adviser at Texaco Nigeria. Fresh out of university, I’d applied for a job at Hints, a new romance and lifestyle magazine that was just starting. Having been invited for an interview, I strolled into the venue and beheld Dr Kachikwu at the head of the table, leading the panel of interviewers. I didn’t know who he was at that time but his personality was so electrifying that I simply couldn’t take my eyes off him. I needed the job as if my life depended on it and I was as jittery as hell. But the butterflies in my stomach vanished immediately Ibe Kachikwu began to speak. Even now, I still can’t put a finger on how he does it, but the man had (still has) a way of instilling confidence and bringing out the best in me. As he was to tell me later, he noticed that I had raw talent which needed to be refined as soon as he began to throw questions at me on that day. And today, I must give him the credit for polishing my raw skills and making me into the writer that I am today.

I eventually got the job at Hints and under Ibe Kachikwu’s tutelage, I began to grow in the world of writing and journalism. He gave me support and encouragement and knocked me into line whenever I strayed. He gave me opportunities that no human being, living of dead, has ever given me. A totally detribalised Nigerian, it didn’t matter to Ibe Kachikwu that I was Yoruba and he was Delta Ibo, he rewarded my contributions and pushed me up the ladder. Within one year, I got promoted four times and rose from Editorial Executive to Editor, making me the youngest Editor in the Nigeria of that time, at the tender age of twenty three! That is Ibe Kachikwu for you! An unrepentant apostle of merit and fairness.

He taught me the values of honesty, hardwork and complete team work. From behind the curtains, he drove the Hints team comprising myself, Amaka Obiofuma, Hetty Ajayi, Chidinma Awa Agwu, Cyprian Onwuli, Osita Aniemeka, John Onwah, John Ekeanya, Ekerete Udoh, Dr Reuben Abati, Toni Kan, Steve Kachikwu, Sunny Okim, Chim Newton and so many others, to bring water out of stone. With Ibe Kachikwu, the word impossibility simply does not exist!

Truly, it would be completely out of place to expect anything less from a man who holds a doctorate degree in Law from the prestigious Harvard University. A man who graduated with distinctions from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and won seven out of the nine prizes available at the Nigeria Law School. A Fellow of the Society for Corporate Governance (FSCG), A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration (FCIArb), a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Petroleum Policy (FCIPP). A man who holds a visiting Professorship in various universities in the world, including Harvard, his alma mater. Indeed, what more can one say about a man who influenced over $10 billion investment from ExxonMobil Mobil into Nigeria and other African countries. It is also on record that he set major policy planks on government relationship, investment policy and corporate governance for ExxonMobil Mobil in Africa. Trust me, only a thief would ask for more!

The President who is committed to making a change has brought in the game changer. With Kachikwu on the turf, it can no longer be business as usual in Nigeria’s oil sector. The dark days are over. The Diezani era is gone forever! The Kachikwu era of light is here!!! Ibe Kachikwu reminds me so much of Lionel Messi, that magical football player of Barcelona. Once Messi steps onto the green turf, the tempo of the game changes. His deft moves confound the opponents and deliver instant results. His presence inspires, his contributions ensure that CHANGE is not just a slogan.
Welcome… Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu!

No comments:

Post a Comment