Tell former petroleum minister Ibe Kachikwu about the Nordic dramatist Henrik Ibsen’s assertion that the strongest man is he who walks most alone, and he is likely to dismiss it as cold comfort. Indeed, the man who once ruled atop the lucrative oil industry feels bereaved even though nothing of such has happened to his immediate family in recent times.
Kachikwu’s current travails prove the maxim that success has many children and failure is an orphan. As the minister of state for petroleum resources with unfettered access to the NNPC and its vast resources, Kachikwu was the beautiful bride whose attention was coveted by moneyed bachelors. They flattered and buttered him from midnight to high noon, professing undying vows of friendship. They milked their association for all it was worth, smiling to the bank with big bucks raked in from reflected reputation.
At one time there were hopes that the former president of the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) had done enough to impress the president and would make the shortlist of returnee ministers. Alas, it was not to be. His friends in name only, having already packed their bags in anticipation of such an eventuality, didn’t even say goodbye before zooming out of his life at high speed.
Now, the cynosure of all eyes has become like a beautiful flower wasting its sweetness on the desert air. Kachikwu longs for the glory days of yore when everyone hung on his every word and leaned out of their chairs to catch a glimpse of the man who could make them millions of dollars richer with just a signature on paper.
His mobile phone that rang all the time has gone dead silent. The doorbell at his house is going rusty from disuse. The number of visitors coming to be entertained, and the number of those willing to open their doors to him have thinned to a trickle. The Ibe Kachikwu of now is more of a philosopher, musing long and sighing loudly on the fickleness of human beings.