By Michael Eboh
ABUJA—Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday, described as false and baseless, report making the rounds that he misrepresented facts by claiming he graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, with a First Class degree.
In a statement in Abuja, Director of Press in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Idang Alibi, said at no time did Kachikwu claim to have graduated with a First Class from the UNN, clarifying that the minister graduated from the school with a ‘Second Class Honours (Upper Division) degree’ from the Faculty of Law of the institution in 1978, and also emerged the best student.
Alibi was reacting to a publication by an online news medium that alleged that Kachikwu lied about his academic qualifications, while it also claimed that this was not the first time it had found Kachikwu guilty of double-speak.
Alibi said: “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.”
He further stated that the ministry observed that Kachikwu’s Wikipedia page was tampered with recently by unknown persons and might have been re-edited for sinister purposes.
Explaining the video of its presentation at the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, COZA, cited by the report, Alibi said the substance of Kachikwu’s comment in the church was to the effect that he had a first class performance in school and was emphasizing on the need for hardwork amongst youths to get them to the top of their game.
Alibi maintained that the official curriculum vitae and resume of the minister was in the public domain and had been submitted to various levels of government and parastatals.
He said: “Also line 6, page 3 of the document herein attached clearly states that 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 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.
“He was the best graduating student in the Nigerian Law School in the year 1979 (the first in class) with multiple prizes (winning five out of all seven prizes given).
‘’In 1979, the Nigerian Law School had not begun a process of classifying its certificates. That begun many years later. However best graduands have subsequently now been classified in the First Class category by the Law School.
“For Harvard University, his CV correctly states that he was a Distinction graduate for the Master’s degree programme (First in Class) at Harvard University and that he obtained his SJD in a record time of one and a half years. The various academic awards received during his education days are clearly spelled out in his CV/Resume.
“On the Wikipedia page that was cited in the report, it would be expedient to note that 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.
“To buttress this fact, we have noted that Dr. Kachikwu’s page has recently been re-edited recently by persons unknown to him and to us.”
The spokesman of the ministry said Kachikwu had worked at the highest level of the oil and gas industry globally for over three decades and, indeed, lectured at respectable global institutions as the University of Ife, Nigerian Law School and Harvard Law School.