The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, caved in under a strongly worded reprimand by the leader of APC and former governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu. Tinubu had openly criticized Kachikwu for stating that he is not a majiciaan and that the current shortages of petrol in filling stations will last till May.
Kachikwu apologized for his comments last week stating that: “I share the pains of Nigerians, I feel that pain every day when I walk the streets: on Easter day, I was in Lagos monitoring fuel distribution at the depots and decided to give 24 hours attention to the problems. I have continued to work with one sole purpose, which is that every problem must have a solution and I think that is the reason I was picked. I do apologize for the comment that I made jocularly with my friends in the press about being a magician and it offended Nigerians; it was not meant to be, it was a side jocular issue. I did go on to explain what needed to be done, I did not know that it would create the kind of hyperbole (exaggeration) that it did.
“Let me first admit that I am not a typically experienced politician, I am a technocrat: I came to work. Some of the phraseologies that I may use, while being acceptable in the arena in which I play, obviously will not be acceptable in the public political arena. So, if any body’s sensibilities were offended by those, I totally apologize.”
The minister equally said immediate resuscitation of the nation’s refineries to function to optimal level was one of the panaceas to the fuel scarcity. This came as he said he had no intention of resigning from his position over last week’s comment that the commodity would remain scarce till May, which attracted criticisms from some All Progressives Congress, APC, stalwarts, with some calling for his resignation.
Following Kachikwu’s comments last week and the plethora of vitriol that followed it, the Senate Committee on Petroleum invited Kachikwu to explain himself and what his ministry is doing to resolve the fuel crisis. Kachikwu said, “I was thoroughly coached before coming to this meeting. But there is a potential answer to this question. First is a political answer, which says we are doing our very best to go away from this situation but the training in me never attempts to be very exact because I set a goal post. All I can say as an amendment to that is that in the month of April, within the first two weeks of April, we would have this issue completely resolved and you will not have this problem anymore.
“I am working very hard to make it the first week in April, it’s not going to happen in March and all am doing right now is logistics arrangements to try and cushion the pains as much as I can and Nigerians can help me by not double buying. But, once we begin to get into the 5th, 6th of April, you will see a dramatic change in all this. Sometimes it is difficult to change your skin at an old age. So I tend to tell the truth the way it is even if I get into trouble in the cause of doing them. But the reality, distinguished senators, is that we are doing everything humanly possible, nothing is out of the table, no solution is thrown into the trash bin and we have got to a point where we can confidently say we are bound to see the last days of some of these occurrences in our history.”