What can Kachukwu say he achieved in office as Minister of State for Petroleum?
Whereas several industry pundits have described the regime of former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachukwu in the recently dissolved cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, as lacking in definite portfolio and executive functions, his recent removal and replacement as the board chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has further raised more issues.
Recently, President Buhari appointed Dr Thomas John as the acting alternate chairman of the Governing Board of the NNPC to officially signal the tenure end of the former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.
It is not clear if Dr John would serve as Minister of State and retain the board chairmanship or he will leave on the appointment of another Minister of State for Petroleum Resources which is expected as soon as possible.
Though the outgoing GMD of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru has explained that “He (John) will hold the position of the Acting Alternate Chairman of the Governing Board until a new Minister of Petroleum Resources or Minister of State for Petroleum Resources is appointed to assume the Chairmanship or Alternate Chairmanship position, respectively in line with Sections 1(3) and 2(1) of the NNPC Act,” there are signals that John may preside over the board of the Corporation even when a new minister is appointed.
But a cursory look at the life and time of Dr Kachukwu as Minister showed that not actually much was achieved during his stay in office as Minister of State.
First, upon all the assurances and costly international trips plus uncountable discussions with the so called international investors, the four national refineries can be said to have been left worst than he met it in 2015.
Secondly, all his efforts to expose the humongous grey contract worth $25bn were rubbished as no further investigation was carried out, rather a statement was just issued suggesting that there was nothing like that and he went ahead to keep quiet till the end of the tenure.
Thirdly, all his efforts to drive the establishment Modular refineries could not yield any meaningful results as he went ahead singing praises for a private sector driven Dangote refinery in Lekki without working out efficient takeoff of over modular refineries upon well over 40 licences issued to the so called investors.
It would be recalled that Dr Kachukwu had vowed that he would resign in January 2019, if the four refineries were not revived but he even as the refineries went further into oblivion within the period ho ought never to have resigned as he pledged.
Besides, and fourthly, during his leadership, he gave earlier assurance that issues in subsidy regime will be reviewed with a view to freeing funds for infrastructure development nationwide. Checks showed that it never happened.