Gilbert Prince Obiakulu Chikelu is a Nigerian administrator who was a permanent secretary in the Nigerian Ministry of Economic Development, Mines and Power, National Planning and Petroleum Resources, he also served as a member and chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation board of directors. As a retired director general, he replaced the minster of Petroleum resources as chairman of NNPC in a move to bring some form of independence to the corporation. It was during his tenure as chairman that the petroleum sharing contract (PSC) gained increased favor within the government.
In 1993, he was appointed as a federal minister for Establishment and later served as the chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
Chikelu is currently the chairman of Guaranty Trust Bank and holds the title of Owelle of Ichida.
Chikelu was born to the family of Eunice and Benaiah Chikelu of Ichida, his father was a petty businessman and his mother did odd jobs to make a living. He was educated at the University College of Ghana, Legon and also attended the London School of Economics as a commonwealth scholar where he bagged a masters degree in economics.
He started work in 1948 after leaving secondary school, his first employment was at the Bank of British West Africa. Between 1950-1957, he took on various jobs partly for economic reasons, he worked at the prisons dept, the police dept, Post and Telegraph dept and as a teacher at Zik's Institute of Commerce, Onitsha where he taught mathematics, English and economic history.
Career in public service
Chikelu entered the public service n 1963 at the Ministry of Economic Development which then had Allison Ayida as the permanent secretary. However, in 1960, he briefly worked as an administrative officer in the Ministry of Finance and attended Man O'War bay.
In the 60s, he took on various assignments including stints in the Biafran ministries of Economic Development, Economic Planning Commission and the West Niger Affairs Administration. After the war, he joined a team of planners preparing the second development plan and in 1974, he was given the post of director, Central Planning Office. In 1975, he became the permanent secretary, Ministry of Mines and Power and was in charge of re-organizing the Department of Geological Survey. A year later, in 1976, he became the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development later National Planning. In 1984, he became the permanent secretary in the ministry of Employment and later in 1987, the director general of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
He was president of the Nigerian Economic Society in 1985 in whose capacity he delivered a lecture at the University of Lagos where he outlined the need for the National Planning ministry to be in charge of budget allocation and that projects without proper studies should not be included in a plan.
In 2008, he was awarded a lifetime honor by Thisday.