Onyeka Ibe

When some time in 2016 APC leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu released an article in which he upbraided Dr Ibe Kachikwu for his haughty and arrogant reply to a journalist’s question on solutions to the then persistent petrol scarcity in Nigeria, many people rose up in defence of Dr Kachikwu. I even penned an article, in which in glorious terms, I described Dr Kachikwu as a man of integrity, ” Mr due process” etc. I must confess that I didn’t really know the man, only that we grew up in my local government with the story of his intellectual and career achievements as a lodestar to all youths. In other words he was our role model. So I was outraged at what I perceived as an unfair attack on his person. So I wrote my panegyric, but when I submitted it at the Nation Newspaper they bluntly refused to publish it. They told me that I didn’t really know Dr Kachikwu; that he was no “Mr integrity”. They insinuated that he was one of the boys of Ibrahim Babangida, the man who institutionalized corruption in our country. I staunchly defended Dr Kachikwu the best I knew and when I left the place I sent a text message with my name and address to Dr Kachikwu explaining the lowly opinion of him held by people in that newspaper and advised him to mend fences with Asiwaju and his newspaper.

Dr Kachikwu or whoever was operating that phone number replied thanking me for the information. “Thank you my brother, I know what they are planning but God is in control”, were his exact words. I was satisfied and I forgot all about it. Only that 3 weeks later someone at the Nation Newspaper forwarded the text message I sent to Dr Kachikwu to me, verbatim, accusing me of espionage. Dr Kachikwu had directly or indirectly, callously forwarded my text message, with my name, address and phone number to Asiwaju Tinubu, completely destroying my ten years old relationship with people at the newspaper! I sent many text messages asking how or why he could have done such a thing but he never replied again.

I waited patiently for an opportunity to see Dr Kachikwu until I met his PA, Chief Chris Udomi in September or October 2016. After narrating the story to him he promised to take the matter to Dr Kachikwu. When we spoke again he told me that their opinion on the matter was that the whole consequences of sending information to them was mine to bear since my information was sent voluntarily, that it was not their business what happened to me as a consequence of their use of my information.

By this time the dirt had fallen off my eyes and I no longer looked upon Dr Kachikwu as a saint but as another mortal. I considered what I was told about the man at the newspaper and what I knew about him. I realized I was wrong, and the people at the Nation Newspaper were right.

To start with, Dr Kachikwu was and still is a staunch supporter of Governor Okowa and PDP in Delta State. This is the most corrupt and incompetent state government in Nigeria. His step-mother Mrs Josephine Kachikwu is the appointed Chairperson of the state’s House of Assembly Service Commission, his son-in-law Evans Jakpa is a senior appointee (Executive Assistant Oil and Gas) to the state governor, and his brother Dumebi Kachikwu is a long term financier and ally of the state governor. Because of Dr Kachikwu’s support for this “corrutpdom” in Delta State, APC, the party he serves has not been able to organize and mount a realistic challenge towards saving the people of Delta State from the gang of thieves holding them hostage for the past 18 years.
So I asked myself, what type of peacock rolls in the mud with pigs, what manner of integrity wines and dines so comfortably with corruption; what type of excellence mixes so freely with incompetence and mediocrity? The answer should be anybody’s guess.

My concluded opinion of Dr Kachikwu is that he is one of the most self-serving narcissist – solipsist one can encounter. Everything he does is tailored to enhance his image or position and not that of his team. He would openly challenge and embarrass his cabinet colleagues, he would destroy another man’s precious relationships without a second thought, he would openly support a corrupt opposition state government against the political party that employs him and against the yearning of the people of his state for freedom from corruption and incompetence and he would befriend tyrants and murderers. People may wonder why Buhari has not brought him closer or given him more influence, but if a common citizen like me knows all these, who says the president, with all the organs of information gathering will not know that his minister has divided loyalties?

So before you weep for Dr Kachikwu, consider his actions and think again like I did, for what goes around has a way of coming around.

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