Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on Monday said he nominated Mohammad Barkindo as Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) because he has the “intellectual insanity” to work there.
Kachikwu said this at the headquarters of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja, on Monday, during a meeting to welcome Barkindo.
He said when the campaign for the job was heating up, he met with a prince of Saudi Arabia, who is the country’s petroleum minister, to convince him to support Barkindo by stating the qualities he possessed.
“I met with the prince, and I told him I have a candidate who has seven qualities that an OPEC SG must possess. He asked me to list them, and I said: ‘1, Barkindo has the intellectual insanity to work there’. At that time, OPEC was in a rough rumble that only a mad man will take the job,” he said.
“I also said he is humble and that he is a master statistician.”
The minister added that the achievements of OPEC under Barkindo – within a short time – showed he was the right man for the job.
Responding, Barkindo thanked Kachikwu for nominating him for the job, revealing that he had not met Kachikwu when the minister of petroleum resources chose him for the job.
Barkindo also said he was overwhelmed by the reception he received.
“It is overwhelming to be received by friends and colleagues. This is my first visit home since I left for Vienna,” he said.
“For all my years at the NNPC …in this industry, I have not met Ibeh Kachikwu. But this gentleman decided on his own wisdom to ask his staff to look for someone named Mohammad Barkindo.
“I got to know through the governor of OPEC that Kachikwu decided to nominate me for this job to his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“From day one he became my campaign manager. I saw the commitment of the son of Nigeria to make the country proud. He said don’t worry we will make it.
“He did all he could and forced the hand of these other countries to drop their candidates.”
Barkindo also said the oil industry needed more investments, disclosing that OPEC countries had lost about $1trn so far.