THE DIRT IN THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY

I usually dont like to join issues with my colleques who comment on public affairs, but where I perceive injustice I tend to be on the side of the oppressed to ensure that fairness and balance which is the hallmark of the journalism ethos is seen to have been done.

It  is no longer in doubt that
Mr Kachikwu the Minister of State Petroluem leaked the 8-page letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari accusing Mr Baru  the GMD NNPC of “acts of insubordination, humiliation, disrespect and lack of due process in the award of contracts.”

Neither the Minister no his press crew have come out to deny the assertions being widely circulated in the main stream and social media that the memo was not leaked by him.

Its clear to me and to every decerning person that the Minister knows once the press got hold on to the document the consquencies of his action would have a huge damage on the image of the government more especially when the issues at stake borders on personalities and procurement processes.

As a public officer he ought to have known there are several ways he could reach to his boss. The leak to the press must be the last resort, if at all it must be persued.

In my little knowledge of how government works, the Minister could still use the following channels, if he perceives the Chief of Staff is becoming a stumbbling block to getting to his boss;
1. He could explore going through the  Vice President, unless if he tried and failed ;
2,. Convert whatever issues he wanted to discuss with President in to Council Memo. I am sure the minister is aware of the types of council memos they use to communicate among members of the Federal Executive Council.
3. Go through the National Economic Council of which he is member or at least attends as a revenue generating agency. The Minister knows the Vice President briefs the President on all decisions taken by the council;
4. Seek the intervention of the Party leadership if it becomes so absolutely neccessary.

But in all these the Minister choose to  gamble with the image of the government, simply because he feels the Cheif of staff and some other very close associates of the President whose  companies might have  benifitted from the procurement process.

Aware that  the leak certaintly would give press  the opportunity to pounce on the document and sensationise it with big catchy headlines that may embrass the government.

Now that he has seen the President and open up the the government to redicule. what kind of  damage control mechanism would the Minister put in place to deal with the situations he delibrately created, now that  Mr President has asked the Minister and the GMD, to find ways to work together?

In the light of the wanned trust between them how could this possibly happen?
Lest I forget before the Minister of state was up graded by Mr President he was the Group Managing Director of the same company and operated under the same rules and regulations. He approved contracts under the same threshold, he is now trying to blow whistle as if something  wrong took place.

Now that NNPc has told  its story, that all their actions were done according to extant rules and regulations.

In providing an eluminating explanation to the ensueing drama, one Ibrarhim Suleiman extensively quoting the Daily Nigeria said;  “the raging rift between the two oil czars, a senior NNPC official who preferred not to be named exclusively told DAILY NIGERIAN that the fight was beyond what was contained in the letter.
“The fight between Kachikwu and Baru emanated from two clauses within the NNPC. And these are the NNPC Act and the Clause in a correspondence from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to the then GMD of NNPC (Ibe Kachikwu) regarding contracts.

“In the NNPC Act,” the source added, “it was stated clearly that the GMD NNPC will report directly to the Substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, in this case President Muhammadu Buhari. Sadly for Kachikwu, the Act was silent on the GMD reporting to him.

“Secondly, in a letter dated June 26, 2015, the BPP clarified a clause regarding the power of the NNPC Tenders Board (and not the NNPC Board) to award contracts without recourse to the Minister of State.

“The approval limit of the NNPC Tenders Board is $20m. But where such contracts exceed the tenders board’s limits, approval must be sought from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“And in the case of the $26billion Kachikwu claimed Baru spent without due process, it was the same Federal Executive Council, with Kachikwu as a member, that approved the contracts. How would Baru, who is not even a member of FEC, be blamed for side-stepping the minister and bypassing due process?” the insider queried.

To this effect the  BPP’s clarified this position to Mr Kachikwu on powers of NNPC Tenders Board to award contracts thus;
“The [NNPC] Governing Board is responsible for approval of the work programmes, corporate contract plans and budget while the [NNPC] Tenders Board is responsible for approval of day to day

“Strangely, the same Minister who obtained such clarifications from the BPP while serving as GMD NNPC has now turned against it,” the source added.

According to him, “the whole bone of contention was because while Mr Kachikwu realized he was powerless to influence Baru as Minister of State in terms of contracts and other demands, the Minister could still not stand watching Baru having unfettered access to the President.

If the CUPSNIGERIA have seen or read the write up of Ibrahim Suleim and that of Daily Nigeria or conducted a more indepth ressearch I am sure they  would have  been a bit rational and circumspect in their write up, that is going round calling the chief of staff names like.
“ABBA KYARI – THE FACE OF EVIL AT THE PRESIDENCY”
Dr. Idris Ahmed who authored the article referred to above is a PHD holder I want to believe, he must have known the value of a good researched work for him to play in galary by writting without indept research and impute on the personlity of people is not fair.

Here are some of the things he wrote;
“The corrupt and unpatriotic Abba Kyari has a frightening influence at the Presidency, to the extent that most people in the know view him as the second  powerful” man at presdency, after the President himself” Is this true? if Abba is the second most powerful man in the house where then did he place the Vice president who is constitutionally regarded as the number 2 in the heirachy.  At least we witnessed situations when the VP became the acting President a couple of times.
He also accused the chief of staff of committing crimes against the Nigerian state part the crimes he said Abba committed is; “The latest one being denying the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachukwu, from seeing the President. Regardless of the wrongs or rights of his spat with Dr. Maikanti Baru,  as a Minister of the Federal Republic, Dr. Kachukwu has the right to have audience with his boss and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic. It is therefore very embarrassing and demeaning to the office of the President and image of Nigeria at home and around the world, for Buhari to learn about the Kachukwu/Maikanti saga through the media!”
Since Dr Idriss, and his cups group are well educated  I expected them to try finding out what job descriptions and the schedules of the Chief of Staff.
Allow me deviate and draw the attention  of “CUPS to the international dimension they introduced in to the discussion. Are they aware why the American President dismissed his chief of Staff recently and what happened during the alpointment of a new person?   In accepting his nomination to the office of the chief of staff, General Kerry,  a fine officer and a gentleman. told  President Trump that  he would accept the nomination on the condition that he would be allowed to determine who sees and what goes in to the presidents office. I am sure by now you must started rationalizing some of the duties of the chief of staff. My brother the chief  is a gate keeper, he articulate the President’s programme. The President has alot on his plate. And afterall at the end of the day, it is the President who decides who he sees.
Dont you think Kachukwu didnt know this? He delibrately choose to leak his letter to the press for personal reasons? He has so many ways to reach to the President, some of which I mentioned in my opening paragraph.
I was also amazed by the type of venom and out pouring the “cupsnigeria” lampoon the the Chief of staff, the hate was apparent as if the groups has a bone to pick with Abba.

I can recall similar pattern of behavior were used to force President Jonathan to sacrifice his chief  of staff for un substantiated corruption claims. Thank God President Buhari is not given to such kind of frivolity of pull him down syndrome. He listens but allows due process to take its course, before he takes any decision in respective of who was at the receiving end. 

“Cupsnigeria” further  claimed in their article that they fearless and this what they said;
” Despite the colossal evidence against him, we understand that the Nigerian media are afraid of exposing Abba Kyari, for fear of reprisals. “We at CUPS are NOT. We are ferociously independent and fearless in our reporting. We will always tell the truth, no matter whose ox is being gored”

while we salute “CUPS” for their resolve to be fearless we expect them to also be social responsible. This is the hallmark of journalism and the goals of public affairs commentators, fairness and balance in dealing with all matters that affect public affairs and public officers, should be handled responsibily.

A mare statement without coresponding incontrovertible evidence to support any comment on public affairs  are part of the junck journalism we can do without. I therefore appeal to all my colleques in this business to respect the rights of individuals and ensure that what they ditch out  to the public are factual materials devoid of sentiments and personal idiosyncracies.

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