By Chidi Obineche
In the 33 Strategies Of War, a 2006 book written by American author Robert Greene that is distinctly described as a “ guide to the subtle social game of everyday life informed by the military principles in war, a glimpse into the spiraling web of intrigues in Nigeria’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the octopus Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC is domiciled and evaluated. As in the unfolding scenario, General George Marshall in early World War 1 established a set of protégés carefully teaching them his philosophy of command.
This created the ability to know and trust the actions of his subordinates, eventually allowing him to place generals like Dwight Eisenhower in positions of extreme authority knowing that the situation would be run based on his principles, beliefs and agenda. In weaving a seamless blend of fact and fiction, the Federal Government in adopting this philosophy has in an unconventional warfare upset expectations by making it hard for their enemies to know what is going on around them, feeding their expectations, manufacturing a reality to match their desires.
They control peoples perceptions of reality and control them. Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources lives in Greene’s classical world of attacks, pinpricks and void. He is clutching at the passing shadows of a cloud and taking in small bites. He has been maneuvered into weakness and is ripening for the sickle. He has transformed into a pawn, a creature lost in the clutches of power. But he is fighting back, bouncing off the wall and clawing at objects visible and invisible.
He is fussing with brine, frothing in the mouth and hollering for all may care. He is under siege in a power cauldron and a melodrama that is fluid and caustic at the same time. Hedged and banally disarmed, the minister has unhesitatingly taken the anvil of letter writing. Maikanti Baru, in concert with a lord power denizen is his nemesis in an apparently choreographed plot. And in this flux, a critical mass of effluvium is spewing out, reinforcing a fast evolving profile of invading pathogens that have turned the anti- corruption battle to a sheer theater of the absurd.
He is saying in good breath that there is no chess game if the pawn refuses to play. As we say in chess, if your king is under attack you don’t worry about losing a pawn on the Queen’s side. And on the rancid side, the minister is warning that you do not underestimate the power of a pawn and that you will sleep in the streets if you take the Queen Knight pawns. In his shackles, he echoes Saviely Tartakower, a famous American novelist that “no one ever won a game by resigning.” But he forgets that over the board, the objective is to crush the opponent’s mind.
Crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing appears better at the moment. He can fly over it or pretend it is not there and serve out his term. He can also dig under it, blow it up as he is doing, or climb it and cross to the other side. Hmmn! By writing his letter, running out is not an option. But will he chose to swim with the stealth in NNPC as he revealed?. Beyond whining, Kachukwu’s next step may depend on his mindset and his aggregation of the feud. He may learn from Greene that “When you meet a swordsman, draw your sword: Do not recite poetry to one who is not a poet.” He may be in the storm now and if the wind does not blow him away, he may have to adjust his sails. Sometimes, rock bottom can change equations. He is legit, the harder he pushes in this, the dumber he will look. As Elie Wiesel once said,” Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” His cry – baby letter and the long – pronged humiliation may be the beginning of sanctification.
He was born on December 18, 1956 at Onicha- Ugbo in Delta state He is a first class Law graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN and the Nigeria Law School. He obtained Masters and Doctorate degrees in Law from Havard University with distinctions. Before assuming office as a minister in 2015, he was the Executive Director, Africa at Mobil Exxon, an oil exploration giant. He is married to Miriam Kene and Elizabeth with children.