IBE KACHIKWU : A study in cowardice

ARE ONA KAKANFO : The mainstreaming of a fringe movement - a lesson for the Igbos

By Joseph Edgar…

We are in a season of memos. First, it was El-Rufai’s memo and now it is the explosive memo written by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, to the President in which he was found reporting his subordinate, the GMD of NNPC, Baru, for gross corruption and insubordination.

I will not be forced into two obvious areas of this issue – the allegations and the inevitable ethno-religious colouration some analysts have begun to paint the whole imbroglio with, but will look at the personality involved.

From reading the memo, you can quickly sense a weakling, a grovelling incompetent minion begging for his job and a little respect to add to it at the discretion of the President. The grovelling is a shame to a whole group of Nigerians who expect a professional of such standing to show firmness and a strong resolve to correct the anomalies that have pervaded his ministry.

As I read the Memo, I was cringing with irritation at the bellicose level of sycophancy. The subordinate being reported is just that, a subordinate and should be treated as such, no matter the power behind him. A show of a strong and firm resolve not to take nonsense would have nipped whatever intransigence from the very beginning.

Now, this is the folly of many of our public officers who usually owe their appointments to some artificial construct either to a godfather or to some ethno religious configuration that usually throws ineffective and unqualified numbskulls into position of wealth and power and what you see will now be beggarly and a highly grateful public servant who will be serving at the mercy of whoever or whatever appointed him or her.

The case of Kachikwu’s beggarly turn judging from his pedigree as a professional within the industry is stunning. His obvious brilliance and pedigree are well celebrated. So, you see why this is grovelling is really confounding. And you begin to imagine an Okadigbo who stood up to an all-powerful President strictly on issues or a Gani Fawehinmi or even an El-Rufai stoop so low no matter who or what was involved.

An attempt at analysing this type of behaviour will throw up the issue of what we call on the street, ‘’guilty conscience’’ or a very high level of incompetence that tells even the subject that you really should not be holding this position which now leaves you in the kind of position Kachikwu has found himself today.

To explain further, we have seen another leaked memo showing that the Minister was being investigated by the Vice President’s office who, in the said memo has directed the EFCC to look into the matter. So what we are seeing here now is a childish cat and dog fight. It’s more like, so they have reported me, let me too report him so that we go down together. If the leaked memo is authentic then you will begin to understand Kachikwu’s mind set in penning the memo. He is at once begging for his job and at the same time reporting a subordinate he should be dealing with no matter what. But as you can deduce, the moral platform is not there since the alleged investigation would have really eroded his credibility and ability to rein in an erring subordinate, who himself would have lost respect for his boss and begun to act on his own.

You see, we were thought that nobody can pillage a strong man’s home when he is at home. Kachikwu, with his alleged intransigence has left the house and his home has been raped as a result of his own doing. Let no man interpret this as another example of Hausa Fulani hegemonistic tendency and start drawing allusions to the Bachir issue which seems to have a life of its own but strictly look at this as the folly of one who did not understand the complexities of his position and has failed a nation who had really hoped on his brilliance and pedigree to save us.

As we speak, oil industry unions are getting ready for a strike alleging debts totalling N800b and we have a Minister of State busy writing memos and reporting a subordinate he could have been given a query and curtailed by the sheer strength of character.

Unfortunately, this is not the case and Tinubu had said this at the very beginning when he wrote an open letter to the public on this Minister but we did not take him seriously, three years after we have a mess splattered all over and an unwitting distraction we can ill afford with all the challenges we face in that industry. Only in Nigeria. Na wa.

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