28 March 2016, Lagos – Minister of State (Petroleum) Dr. Ibe Kachikwu was again under attack yesterday for the biting fuel shortage that has crippled cities and businesses.
Kachikwu, who was lashed by All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for “insurbodination” after saying “I’m not a magician” in response to questions about the fuel crisis, is also the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The Civil Society Coalition for Positive Change and Stand Up for Nigeria (SUN) issued a 72 hours ultimatum to the minister to resign from office over the prolonged scarcity.
Comrade Venatius Torkuma and Labake Boboye National President and Executive Director of the groups, in a joint statement, said Kachikwu had failed to justify his appointment.
Kachikwu, had said, in reaction to public criticism of his handling of the fuel scarcity, that Nigerians should count themselves fortunate that the NNPC under his stewardship has been able to bring in the amount of fuel it is doing.
The group described the statement as “careless” and “insulting” to Nigerians who voted for the current administration. The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to fire Kachikwu should he refuse to resign.
It stated that the statement by the minister that he was not trained as a magician is an admittance of his incompetence.
The group threatened to take to the street on Wednesday in “a mother of all protests” in the nation’s capital to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the international community should the minister refuse to resign.
The statement said: “Nigerians fought hard to vote in this government of change. But to hear the minister say the kind of things he said is not only insulting to Nigerians but showed his gross incompetence. Nigerians will not tolerate such recklessness. In case the minister needs a reminder, the era of incompetence is long gone with the previous administration.
“Since he has admitted that he cannot restore normalcy to the current fuel crisis, he should immediately resign his position. Indeed Kachikwu was not coerced to take this job.”
An APC chieftain in Ekiti State, Chief Segun Osinkolu, hailed Tinubu for cautioning Kachikwu over his comment.
Osinkolu said Tinubu’s criticism of Kachikwu should not be misconstrued for a crack within the ruling party but a clarion call from a concerned party leader on how a serving senior government official should relate with the people.
Addressing party supporters yesterday at his country home in Ayede-Ekiti in Oye Local Government Area, Osinkolu said Tinubu’s remarks on Kachikwu was in the best interest of Nigerians and the need for leaders to see themselves as servants of the people.
The former APC senatorial aspirant for Ekiti North said despite the comment credited to the minister, he (Kachikwu) is competent and experienced enough to handle the ministry and head the NNPC.
He dismissed calls in some quarters that Kachikwu should resign his appointments saying throwing in the towel in the middle of the crisis could compound the situation.
Osinkolu said: “Though it is going to take a while before the issue of oil scarcity will be resolved, but the minister should learn how to manage the public. He should try and understand the mood of the people. How can a minister be saying that he is not a magician under this circumstance? I don’t think it is right.
“This is not the first time Nigeria will be experiencing fuel scarcity, but President Muhammadu Buhari represents change and this must reflect in our deeds and actions in APC. Kachikwu should have handled the current situation better than addressing the public in such a haughty and brazen manner.
“So, I want to thank our leader, Asiwaju Tinubu for mustering the bravado to speak even against someone who is in his own party.
“This scarcity does not mean Buhari’s government is overwhelmed. The problem has been there for long, it is not a new problem. What the government is trying to do is to fix it and this they will do with Nigerians’ support”.
- The Nation