Hours after a fact-check by PREMIUM TIMES exposed the lie by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, the minister and the petroleum ministry have claimed that the report is inaccurate.
The fact-check, by Dubawa, a fact-checking platform, and PREMIUM TIMES showed that the repeated claims by Mr Kachikwu that he graduated with a First Class degree in Law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka was false.
The report showed that while Mr Kachikwu did in fact graduate from the university, he finished with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) degree.
It is not clear why Mr Kachikwu lied about his graduation degree, especially as he has succeeded in several endeavours he ventured in since graduation including higher degrees at Harvard University.
However, hours after the report, the petroleum ministry released a statement claiming falsely that Mr Kachikwu never said he had a first class. The minister, himself, expressed a similar stance on his official twitter handle.
In the exclusive report by PREMIUM TIMES, this newspaper published a 2016 video where Mr Kachikwu told a church audience how he graduated with a first class from the UNN.
“And, I got in there, got a scholarship and became the best student, I had a first class in that institution (UNN),” he said.
“And then, I left from there to the law school and in the law school, I think just like the pastor said: people encourage you. All my colleagues came and said, we are all here representing our institutions, if you brought a first class from Nsukka you better make it work here where everybody is gathered…” he added.
At the time Mr. Kachikwu attended the Nigerian Law School, officials say the institution was yet to start classifying performance by students as first class, second class upper and so on, implying that his claim that he got a First Class from the law school is also false.
In its statement Thursday, Mr Kachikwu’s ministry tried to downplay the video showing the minister making the false claims.
“On the presentation made at the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) cited by Premium Times, the substance of his assertions was to the effect that he had a first class performance in school and was emphasizing on the need for hard work amongst youths to get them to the top of their game,” Idang Alibi, the director of press at the petroleum ministry said.
Arguably the more indicting of the minister’s false claim of a First Class was that put on the petroleum ministry’s website.
“Dr. Ibe Kachikwu is a distinction graduate of Law from the University of Nigeria Nsukka and Nigerian Law School,” the official biography of the minister on the petroleum ministry website read. “He bagged First Class degree in Law and was best graduand and multiple awards winner from both Institutions.”
In its statement on Thursday, the petroleum ministry avoided commenting on the false claim that was still in the minister’s profile on the ministry’s website at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday. Rather, it dwelled on Mr Kachikwu’s other academic and professional qualifications.
Read the petroleum ministry’s full statement below.
Setting The Records Straight
Re: FACT-CHECK: Document shows Kachikwu lied about graduating with First Class in Law
The attention of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources has been drawn to a publication in an online medium Premium Times with a title “FACT-CHECK: Document shows Kachikwu lied about graduating with First Class in Law”. In the publication the writer alleged that Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu misrepresented information about obtaining a First Class Degree from the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka, citing a presentation done at Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) Abuja. We would like to categorically state that such claims are false and further from the truth.
The aim of this response is to set the records straight and to establish that the Honourable Minister of State, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu neither misrepresented facts nor made the claims written in the publication.
Please note the following facts:
1. That the official CV and resume of the Honourable Minister of State is in the public domain and has been submitted to various levels of Government and Parastatals. 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.
2. He was the best graduating student in the Nigerian Law School in the year 1979 (the first in class) with multiple prizes (winning 5 out of all 7 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.
3. 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 spelt out in his CV/Resume.
4. 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.
5. On the presentation made at the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) cited by Premium Times, the substance of his assertions was to the effect that he had a first class performance in school and was emphasizing on the need for hard work amongst youths to get them to the top of their game.
In closing, 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 Honorable Minister has performed outstandingly in his school work and has records to show for it.
Dr. Kachikwu has worked at the highest level of the Oil and Gas industry globally for over 3 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 (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), then as GMD/ Honourable Minister of State, and now as Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, championed the change agenda in the Petroleum sector and changed the narrative on performance in the sector.
Finally, we urge the general public to disregard the misrepresentation of the Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.
Ministry of Petroleum Resources
11th October, 2018