Playing Not by the Rules

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Sambo

Richard Enendu, president, Oriental Renaissance Group, has accused Namadi Sambo, vice-president, of trying to bend the rules in order to accommodate Interstate Electrics that failed to make full payment for Enugu Electricity Distribution Company on August 21 deadline

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Sep. 9, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

UNLESS the unexpected happens, Interstate Electrics is most likely losing its bid to acquire the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company following its failure to meet the August 21, deadline for the payment of the remaining 75 percent balance of the bid offer.

Eastern Electric Company, the reserve bidder for the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, has declared its preparedness to pay $126 million for the takeover of the company which is to provide power to the South Eastern part of Nigeria. The consortium’s willingness is contained in a statement issued by C. Don Adinuba, communication consultant to Eastern Electric Limited. “We have a robust and matchless combination of global best practices and the best experience of emerging economies. We shall not have difficulty raising the funds. The Bureau of Public Enterprises is still holding on to our $10 million bank bond raised when we were bidding for Enugu Disco. As all Nigerians must have known, the 141 MW Aba integrated power project built by Geometric Power and which cost over $450 million is about to be commissioned,” he said.

The consortium was formed by the five South Eastern state governments, Nestoil, a major indigenous operator in the upstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum industry, Aba Power Limited and Geometric Power Limited, led by Bart Nnaji, former minister of power and Pascal Dozie founding chairman, Diamond Bank. Other members are NRECA of the United States which operates in Latin America, Pakistan, Sudan, Bangladesh and controls 10 per cent of the United States one million megawatt grid amounting to some 100,000 MW, and the NETGroup of South Africa, which operated Tanzanian power and maintains a significant presence in South Africa’s electricity business.

But the desire of Namadi Sambo, vice-president, to hand over the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company to Interstate after failing to meet the deadline is causing problem in Enugu. Oriental Renaissance Group, an Enugu based non-governmental organisation, has called on President  Goodluck Jonathan to check what it calls the excesses of Sambo in the ongoing privatisation of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company.

Adinuba
Adinuba

Richard Enendu, president of the group, in a statement in Enugu, said the vice president has not left anyone in doubt about his determination to hand over the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company to a consortium which has neither the financial resources nor the technical expertise to run a critical facility like the Enugu firm which is the only supplier of electricity to the southeast geopolitical zone and environs like the Anioma people of Delta State.

“As has now been demonstrated abundantly, Interstate Consortium has failed all the technical and commercial requirements, yet the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, headed by vice-president Sambo, is ever enthusiastic to rig it in at every stage right from the time it was submitting bids. Last Wednesday, Interstate showed the whole world that it does not have the capacity to pay the outstanding 75 percent of the $160m bid prize for the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company by being the only group out of the 15 preferred bidders which could not pay the bid price of the PHCN asset it has been asked to pay.

“Like most Nigerians, we are convinced that the secret memo which the director general of the BPE wrote to the NCP asking for a 20-day extension for Interstate to pay for the reserved bid price was at the instance of the vice president who, from the look of things, may not mind discrediting the integrity of the entire process in order to favour his friend and business associate, Emeka Offor, the controversial government contractor, who is the major Interstate promoter. Sambo’s unflinching commitment to the acquisition of the Enugu electricity firm by Interstate, it has been discovered, has less to do with the vice president’s personal relationship with Offor than with his personal desire to ruin Igboland and turn it into what the great Professor Chinua Achebe would call .a lawless and bankrupt fiefdom.

“The Southeast already has the worst electricity infrastructure in the country, according to erstwhile Power Minister Segun Agagu, and to hand it over to a group led by Emeka Offor is equivalent to a death sentence. This development will finally bring the Southeast to its knees. The consortium does not have the humungous financial outlay to invest in the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, which, like any other PHCN asset, is in a technical and financial mess. Not only has Interstate displayed technical ineptitude and financial aridity in recent times, it has also exhibited gross indiscipline and lack of seriousness. While 12 other bidders made full payments as at 5pm last Wednesday and two others made frantic efforts to pay, all Interstate presented to the BPE was a non committing paper from Afrexim Bank in Egypt, which regards Offor as a highly politically exposed person.

“Yet, the BPE DG has secretly made a case that Interstate be rewarded. Acts like this undermine the integrity of the privatization process and international investor confidence in Nigeria. The whole nation is shocked that the attempt to subvert the power privatization effort is coming just a few weeks after  the bid by Notore, the company impressively running Nigeria’s largest fertilizer firm at Onne in Rivers State,  for one of the 10 National Integrated Power Projects, was disqualified for coming 30minutes late.

“On July 13, 2012, the same BPE rejected bids by the Dangote Group and Rockson Engineering for PHCN generation companies because they were five minutes late. To restore confidence in the privatization process and to reassure the people and governments of the Southeast that this administration is not out to ruin their future by handing over the Enugu electricity to Offor at all costs, President Jonathan is hereby called upon to call Sambo to order. Let the vice president abide by the rules of the game,” he said.

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