The Ministry of Petroleum Resources (MPR) has released a statement addressing a report published by Premium Times which claimed that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, lied about graduating with a first class from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
The report which was published today claimed that Kachikwu made the false statement while he was addressing members of the Commonwealth Of Zion Assembly (COZA) church during the 17th anniversary of the church over two years ago in Abuja.
In the YouTube video, Kachikwu can be heard saying: “I got in there, got a scholarship and became the best student, I had a first class in that institution (UNN).”
The Director of Press at the MPR, Idang Alibi, released a statement debunking the claims made in the Premium Times report.
- Kachikwu obtained a “Second Class Honours (Upper Division) degree” from the Faculty of Law in UNN.
- The UNN had no first class graduands the year Kachikwu graduated, however, the Minister was the best graduating student in the Faculty of Law, and one of the best graduating students in the UNN the year he graduated.
- Kachikwu was the best graduating student in the Nigerian Law School in the year 1979. He won 5 out of all 7 prizes given in that year. While the Nigerian Law School had yet to begin classifying its certificates as at 1979, when it began to, Kachikwu’s certificate was classified in the First Class category by the Law School.
- The report by Premium Times had carried a citation from Wikipedia but the Director of Press also thrashed that, saying “Wikipedia cannot be used as an authentic source of referencing or verification of facts considering that anybody that has access to a Wikipedia page can also edit same to suit any narrative they want to claim or push.”
- So what exactly was the minister saying in his COZA presentation? According to Alibi, the Minister’s presentation at (COZA) was to the effect that he had a first class performance in school, a fact he pointed out for the purpose of emphasizing the need for hard work amongst young people.
Kachikwu is clearly trying to spin the situation. In the video, he said he “had a first class”. That, of course, is different from having a “first-class performance.”
Also, in the press release announcing his appointment which is still up on the NNPC website, Kachikwu was described as “a First Class Graduate of Law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the Nigerian Law School.” That statement was signed by the then NNPC spokesman, Ohi Alegbe in 2016. It is unlikely that Alegbe would have released such a statement without authorization from Kachikwu himself.
By Kachikwu’s own admission now, he did not obtain a first class degree from UNN, even though he was the best graduating student in his department. They are not the same thing – being the best graduating student is not the same thing as having a first class degree.
However Kachikwu is right about one thing: His records in school were stellar. No one can dispute that. So it will truly be cool if he stops garnishing it.