By Ebuka Onyeji
A claim by a Nigerian minister that he graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with a first class honours is false, a fact-check by DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES has shown.
During the 17th anniversary celebrations of the Commonwealth Of Zion Assembly (COZA) held at the church headquarters in Abuja two years ago, the Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, was among dignitaries who addressed the congregation.
In a seven minutes 24 seconds video published on YouTube on February 17, 2016 by COZA GLOBAL, Mr Kachikwu, dressed, in a navy blue ‘senator attire’, said: “The heat in this place can either make you or burn you, this is a hot zone. Congrats COZA!”
“It is amazing the sort of revolution that takes place outside the civil service; public service; and the outer space.
“A lot of revolution goes on in houses like this and sometimes all of us who are in government need to find time to come out and spend time with you and get encouraged by the burst of energy that you see…”
While speaking on fate and destiny, Mr Kachikwu took the congregation on a journey of his life, highlighting his educational achievements.
“…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?
“And I said, my ambition is to be a doctor and he said, why are you taking the line of what he called least resistance? And I said, what do you mean by that and he said, well, if you want to be a doctor why don’t you just go and read PHD, get to the very top…
“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.
“And, I got in there, got a scholarship and became the best student, I had a first class in that institution (UNN).
“And then, I left from there to the law school and in the law school, I think just like the pastor said: people encourage you. All my colleagues came and said, we are all here representing our institutions, if you brought a first class from Nsukka you better make it work here where everybody is gathered…”
The minister went ahead to list other institutions he attended and the honours he bagged.
The former ExxonMobil vice chairman said he graduated from the Nigerian Law School with a First Class honours. He also said he emerged “best student” at Harvard University, where he did his master’s degree with specialisation on Energy and Petroleum Law and Investment.
Mr Kachikwu claimed his record at Harvard, one of the best institutions in the world, remained unbroken.
“…I made a first class in the law school and then, getting to Harvard – my feeling, as soon as I got into Harvard was – this is a very unique institution, the biggest in the world and basically you must have a 2.1 or first class from your primary institution before they can accept you…
“…At the end of our master’s programme, I was the best student; got a Harvard scholarship and I went to do my doctorate and for it; I set what is still a record in Harvard of completing a doctorate in one and half years.”
Apart from making the incorrect claim during the COZA church programme, the minister is also peddling the same falsehood through his official biography posted to the website of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
“Dr. Ibe Kachikwu is a distinction graduate of Law from the University of Nigeria Nsukka and Nigerian Law School,” the article read. “He bagged First Class degree in Law and was best graduand and multiple awards winner from both Institutions.
“He bagged a Masters in Law (LLM) with special focus on Energy and Petroleum Law and Investment and a Doctorate Degree with specialization on Petroleum and Investment Law Strategies from Harvard Law School, USA where he was the best graduate with Distinction and in the process set a record time for completing Doctoral Thesis.”
A similar claim is contained in the ministers’ bio on Wikipedia.
To verify Mr Kachikwu’s claim regarding his academic feat at Harvard, of which he claimed to have an unbeaten record, this newspaper sent an inquiry to the university. A response is still being awaited.
However, this paper can report authoritatively today that Mr Kachikwu was economical with the truth as far as his certificate from UNN is concerned.
Dissecting Kachikwu’s Curriculum Vitae (CV)
According to a copy of his CV seen by PREMIUM TIMES, the minister said he enrolled into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1974.
He later received a bachelor of law after a four-year sojourn.
A copy of the his result signed by the university’s vice-chancellor and registrar at the time, showed that Mr. Kachikwu left UNN in June 1978 with a second class upper degree.
FACT-CHECK: Not a first timer?
This is not the first time a fact-check by this newspaper will bring this minister to light for double speaking.
Mr Kachikwu, 61, made an incorrect claim when he alleged that the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, inappropriately awarded contract for the N885 billion Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas pipeline project, our December 23, 2017 investigation indicated.
Also untrue, our findings showed then, is Mr Kachikwu’s claim that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the contract after Mr Baru initiated an inappropriate award process that side-lined him (Mr Kachikwu) and the NNPC board.
In his controversial August 30, 2017 memo to President Buhari, Mr Kachikwu had, among other allegations, accused Mr Baru of flouting due process in the award of the $2.89 billion (about N885 billion at N306.3 to one U.S dollar) AKK contract.
But in a curious move, Mr Kachikwu, on December 13, presented the same contract to the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) seeking approval to award it.
When PREMIUM TIMES asked him why he sought approval for a contract he accused the NNPC of inappropriately awarding three months earlier, the minister said his action was meant to correct the irregularity in the initial award process carried out by Mr Baru.
But our investigation revealed that the contract was neither awarded by Mr Baru nor was it ever approved by Mr Buhari before that December 13, when the minister presented it before FEC.
Our findings showed that the BPP Due Process Certificate and the NCDMB Certificate of Authorization Mr Kachikwu attached to his memo to FEC were only issued on August 31, 2017 and October 6, 2017 respectively, days after the minister petitioned Mr Buhari.
Mr Kachikwu himself was a former GMD of the NNPC.
Appointed NNPC boss in August, 2015 and named minister of petroleum three months later, the PHD holder was removed as the GMD of the NNPC by President Buhari and replaced with Mr Baru on July 4, 2016.