Minister of Power’s Shenanigan Taken Too Far

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Sale Mamman
Sale Mamman

By Francis Adeleye Adebowale

THE  situation  within  the  ministry  of  power superintended by  the  duo of  Sale  Mamman, an engineer  and  Goddy  Jedy-Agba  in  the  last few  weeks  undoubtedly  calls for concern.  This  unpleasant  development  portends  danger  for  every  critical sector of  the  Nation  if not immediately  addressed  and  a  solution  proffered.  The Nigerian  energy  sector,  as  over  the  years,  has  been  plagued  by  widespread corrupt  and  illicit  practices  which  has  made  successive  government’s interventions  go  noticed.  And  this is  not about  to change  if  urgent  and  critical measures are  not taken  by  the  government of President  Muhammadu  Buhari.

In  what  can  best be described  as brazen  disregard  for  due  process and competence  and  an  unwarranted  display  of  power and  preeminence,  Sale Mamman has personalized  critical  decisions within  the  power  ministry  and  its agencies,  even  to the  detriment  of  the  collective  good  of  Nigerians,  whose bidding  he  swore  to  do at  his inauguration  as minister  of  the  Federal  Republic of Nigeria.

Mamman’s  decision  to “indefinitely  suspend” Damilola  Ogunbiyi, former managing  director  of  the Rural Electrification  Agency, REA, which  has  since  been reversed  by  the  president,  further  lends credence to  his  high  level  shenanigan. Ogunbiyi,  from  her  time  as  senior special adviser  on  Public  Private Partnership, PPP,  to the  Lagos State  governor  and  then as  general  manager of Lagos State  Electricity  Board  to being  appointed  to oversee  the REA, has displayed competence  in  her  chosen  career path  in  the  energy  sector,  which  gave  rise  to her appointment  as chief executive  officer of  the  United  Nations’  Sustainable  Energy  for All.

Ogunbiyi’s “suspension”,  which  came months after she  tendered  her  resignation to enable  her  proceed  to her  new  role  at  the  United  Nations,  was  greeted  with widespread  condemnation  even  within  the  Rural Electrification  Agency, REA,  as staffs  berated  the  minister  for “hating  women”.

Nigeria’s  loss  is the  UN’s gain.  But  for  how  long  shall  the  country  continue  to sacrifice  competence  and  efficiency  for nepotism  and  undue preference?

On the  same day,  in  what  was  called  “reorganization/sanitation  in  the  Federal Ministry of Power”,  Mamman,  through  his ineffectual  mouthpiece  Aaron Artimas,  in  a  release  had  asked  Marilyn  Amobi, managing  director of  the  Nigerian  Bulk Electricity  Trading  Company, NBET, to “step  down  and  hand  over to the  most  senior director of  the  organisation”.  This decision,  according  to sources within  the  Presidency,  has  also  been  reversed  by  the  president.

It  would  be  recalled  that  few  weeks ago,  the  National  Union  of  Electricity Employees embarked  on  strike  to protest  what  was  alleged  as failure  of  the minister of  power to  implement  their  demands on  the  privatization  of  the  power sector.

In  a  memo  dated  November  7, 2019, and  sent  to  the  minister,  NUEE  had  threatened to  declare  a  nationwide  strike  if  its  demands  were  not  met.  It  was  in  fact, stated  in  the  memo  that  previous  letters  to  the  minister  since  his  assumption of  duty  as  power  minister  had  gone  unacknowledged.

How does a  minister  of  power  show  apathy  for its workers and  their  plights?

But  for  the  swift  intervention  of  the  minister  of  state  for power,  who  had first  met  with  the  Electricity  Workers’  Union  weeks  before  they embarked  on  the  industrial action  that  plunged  the  country  into darkness for nearly  24  hours,  the  situation  would  have  further  gone  unaddressed as the Nation was plunged  into  perpetual  darkness.  Nigeria  has never had  it  that  perilous.

Meanwhile,  the  tension  that  Mamman’s  inglorious decisions of easing  out  the MDs of  REA and  NBET  had  yet  to abate,  when  his nepotistic  mien  came  to the fore  again.  This time  around,  it  was  the  appointment  of  two  of  his kinsmen  as directors  into the  REA.

Mamman  had  given  specific  directives  that  the  directors  be  in  charge  of procurement  and  funds within  the  REA.

The  directors  are  Lawal Ibrahim  (Funds)  and  Bulus  Maiyaki  (Procurement). While  Maiyaki  was internally  redeployed,  Ibrahim  was  purportedly  shipped  in from  outside.

The  manner  of  these appointments  is what  calls  for concern.

Jedy-Agba,  minister  of  State,  has had  no input  in  any  of  these  power-crazy  displays.  Even  though,  by  the  directive  of the  Ppesident,  he  supervises  the REA.

In  a  memo dated  December  27, 2019,  Sale  unilaterally  made  the  postings. “I  wish  to inform  you  of  the  deployment  of the  following  officers from  their present  position  as follows:   Dr.  Lawal  Ibrahim  (Director,  Funds);  Bulus  Maiyaki (Procurement);  Demas  Y.  Dideno  (Deputy  Director of Procurement  now  Deputy Director,  Planning,  Research  and  Development);  Adeyemi  Moses  Adelekan (Assistant  Director,  Procurement  to Assistant  Director,  Planning,  Research  and Development);  Engr.  Magaji  D.  Bala  (Assistant  Director,  North-West  to Assistant Director,  Procurement);  and  Engr.  Turba Gabriel  Dangula,  Assistant  Director, Projects  to Assistant  Director,  North-West)”.

Some  persons within  the  agency,  who prefer anonymity,  described  the appointment  as  “strange  and  bizarre”.

“It  is strange  and  bizarre  for a  minister  of  power  to interfere  directly  in  the  affairs of  REA by  dictating  who should  be  in  charge  of  what  units.

“This  is the  first  time  we  are  experiencing  this kind  of  interference. It  is more curious that  the  minister  is  more  interested  in  the  units on  procurement  and funds.

“Why  we  are  disturbed  is that  the  minister of  State  for  power,  Mr  Goddy  JedyAgba  is in  charge  of  the  Agency  but  he  was  not in  the  picture  of  these  postings done  by  Engr.  Sale.”

Mamman  must  be  called  to order and  be made  to  uphold  the  tenets of  the memo containing  the  directive  of  the  president,  conveyed  by  Boss Mustapha,  secretary  to the government  of  the  Federation,  which  spelt  out  the  duties of  the minister  and  his  minister  of  State.

The  memo by  the  SGF  had  on  October 18,  2019,  stated  that  REA is  to be supervised  by  the  minister  of  State  for  power. “I  write  to  formally  inform  you  that  President  Muhammadu  Buhari  has  approved the  schedule of  duties  for  Ministers  and  Ministers  of  State  to  facilitate  effective  delivery  of  their  Ministerial mandates  based  on  government  priorities. The  Minister  of  State  shall  assist  in  the  formulation  and  implementation  of  policies  within  his scheduled areas  in  a  manner  that  supports  the  realization  of  the  mandate  of  the  Ministry. “The  Minister  of  State  shall  be  responsible  for the  following  programmes  activities  of  the ministry:  Rural  Electrification  Programmes  and  Training  and  capacity  development.   The  Minister  of  State  shall  oversee  the  following  parastatals:  Rural  Electrification  Agency (REA);  National  Power  Training  Institute  of  Nigeria  (NAPTIN)  and  Nigeria  Electricity Management  Services  Agency  (NEMSA),” the memo stated.

By  these  breaches,  Mamman  may  be  guilty  of the  infractions he  accused  the  former MD of REA  of.  The president is hereby appealed to intervene to reign in the excesses of  the minister. like it did with the reversal of Ogunbiyi’s “indefinite  suspension”.

 

 

Francis Adeleye Adebowale writes from Lagos, Nigeria can be reached on fadebowale966@gmail.com

– Jan. 8, 2020 @ 18:45 GMT |

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