Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Thursday stated that he never claimed he was a first class graduate of law from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).
He added that while he was the best graduating student from the law faculty of the school in 1978, the school had no first class graduate of law in that year.
Responding to claims by an online publication that he lied about graduating with first class in law from UNN, the ministry of petroleum resources in a statement signed by its Director of Press, Mr. Idang Alibi, in Abuja said the claims against Kachikwu were untrue.
It equally noted that the publication’s reference to Kachikwu’s remarks at a church event in Abuja was done out of context, because according to the ministry, “that was not what he meant when he advised young people at the church meeting.
“The aim of this response is to set the records straight and to establish that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Kachikwu, neither misrepresented facts nor made the claims written in the publication.”
“The official resume of the minister is in the public domain and has been submitted to various levels of government and parastatals. Dr. Kachikwu obtained a second class Honours (Upper Division) degree from the faculty of Law in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he graduated as the best student in 1978.
“In addition, no first class honours were awarded by UNN that year. However, he was on the list for best graduands with Second Class Upper Honours for that year.”
It further explained that Kachikwu was the best graduating student in the Nigerian Law School in the year 1979 because he was the first in the class with multiple prizes.
According to the statement, “In 1979, the Nigerian Law School had not begun a process of classifying its certificates. That started many years later. However, best graduands have subsequently now been classified in the first class category by the law school.”
For his studies in Harvard University, the statement noted that his curriculum vitae correctly stated that he was a distinction graduate for the master’s degree programme he did at Harvard University, and that he obtained his Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in a record time of one and a half years.
On his remarks at the church programme which it said the publication referred to, the statement noted further that the substance of his assertions was to the effect that he had a first class performance in school and was emphasising on the need for hard work among youths to get them to the top of their game.
“The assertions in the publication are wrong and baseless, and a careful check with the ministry of petroleum resources would have cleared this misrepresentation. By every measurement index, the minister has performed outstandingly in his school work and has records to show for it.
“Kachikwu has worked at the highest level of the oil and gas industry globally for over three decades, and indeed lectured at respectable global institutions like University of Ife, Nigerian Law School and Harvard Law School.
“He has since his appointment three years ago, first as Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), then as GMD/Minister of State, and now as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, championed the change agenda in the petroleum sector and changed the narrative on performance in the sector,” the statement added.