Amidst vociferous outcries from several quarters accusing the president of tribalism and nepotism in his recent appointments, the president has played a joker by appointing Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu as the new Group Managing Director of the embattled Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). His appointments of Mrs Amina Zakari (North) as the new Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mordecai Ladan (North) as Head of Department of Petroleum Resources, Ahmed Idris (North) as Accountant General and Abdulrahman Mani (North) as Chief Security Officer were presented as pointers that President Buhari was “pursing a northern agenda”. This casts aspersion on the presidential declaration on the day of his inauguration that he “belongs to nobody and belongs to everybody”.
Ibe Kachikwu from Onicha-Ugbo, Delta State, was before his appointment the Executive Vice Chairman and General Counsel of Exxon Mobil. He possesses an impressive academic credential as he graduated with a first class in law from the University of Nigeria, Nussuka and the Nigerian Law School. He also bagged a Masters and PhD from the prestigious Harvard Law School. He has started work and he began by sacking eight NNPC‘s executives, appointing four new executives to replace them.
After a poor outing in the South-South and South-East in the last presidential election, it became evident that the country was still torn along religious and ethnic lines. The president’s subsequent appointment of northerners into key positions became an indication to many that he was paying the southern states in their own coin. However, the selection of Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu from the South-South for the coveted position of the DGM of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is likely to calming the seemingly gathering storm. President Buhari’s ministerial list that the country awaits with bated breath may be the final judge.