Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, on Saturday got a tongue-lashing from the national leader of the ruling APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, over his comments on the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.
Tinubu took a swipe at the minister, who is also the Group Managing Director of NNPC, for saying he was not a magician who could end the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol.
The APC leader insisted that the minister was answerable to Nigerians and not the other way round.
Tinubu stated this in a statement titled, ‘Kachikwu Needs to Know That Respect and Good Performance Will Do What Magic Cannot.’
Referring to Mr. Kachikwu, Tinubu said he believed a member of the President Buhari-led government “has strayed from the progressive calling required of this administration.”
Tinubu stated that presently, there was no economic matter more difficult to unravel and more sensitive to the purse of the average Nigerian than the current fuel scarcity.
The APC national leader said, “I make no attempt to hide it. I am an avid and partisan supporter of this government and of the progressive policies of the party, the APC, upon which this government is based.
“With that, I do reserve the right and the duty as a Nigerian to voice my opinion when I believe a member of this government has strayed from the progressive calling required of this administration. I do this because my greater devotion and love are for this nation and its people. Party and politics fall secondary.
“Much public ire has been drawn to the statement made by the Minister of State (for Petroleum Resources) Ibe Kachikwu that he was not trained as a magician and that basically Nigerians should count themselves fortunate that the NNPC under his stewardship has been able to bring in the amount of petrol it is currently doing.
“Perhaps the statement by Kachikwu was made in a moment of unguarded frustration or was an awkward attempt at a joke. Whatever the motive, it was untimely and off-putting. The remark did not sit well with the Nigerian people; they were as right to feel insulted as the minister was wrong to have said such a thing.
“The fuel shortage is severely biting for the average person. They [Nigerians] are forced to remain in lines far too long — for too much time — to pay too much money for too little fuel. This is no joking matter. Livelihoods and people’s welfare are at stake.
“With so much on the line, Kachikwu’s flippancy was out-of-line. He was basically telling Nigerians that they should be lucky that they are getting the inadequate supply they now suffer and that they should just be quiet and endure the shortage for several weeks more.”
Saying Kachikwu’s statement was unhelpful, the APC leader said it rather panicked and disappointed the public as to the duration of the crisis.
He“It insulted the people by its tonality. He spoke with the imperious nature of a member of the elitist government the people voted out last year and not the progressive one they voted in,” he added.
The ex-governor said the NNPC GMD must also remember that he does not own the corporation and that the NNPC was not a private company that owes nothing to the public except the duty of fair dealing.
Tinubu added, “He is a public servant. The seat he sits upon is owned by Nigerians, not by him. The company he runs is owned by Nigerians, not by him. They are his boss. He is not theirs. Power is vested in the people. He is a mere custodian or agent of their will.
“In talking to us [Nigerians] in such a manner, he committed an act of insubordination. If he had talked so cavalierly to his boss in the private sector, he would have been reprimanded or worse. If wise, the man should refrain from such interjections in the future.
“As his ultimate bosses, the people have a right to demand the requisite performance and respect from him. He should apologise for treating them so lightly in this instance.”