Abuja – There was mild drama yesterday in the Senate as another nominee of President Muhammadu Buhari, Professor Akintunde Akinwande, failed to turn up for screening as Chairman, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.
This came barely 48 hours after minister and deputy governor of Plateau State, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, turned down her ambassadorial nomination for lack of consultation
Professor Akinwande also refused to furnish the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, headed by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP, Abia South, with his date of birth, qualifications, specialization, post-graduate experience and National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.
In a list of nominees circulated by the committee, it was only Akinwade’s column that records of date of birth, qualification, specialization, experience and certificate of National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, were missing. The other six nominees provided the information to the committee for perusal and the vital information would have been a prelude to Akinwande’s screening and other nominees for the commission.
A source told Vanguard that Akinwande turned down the nomination “because he was not consulted before the nomination was made and was not ready to leave his present businesses to take up the job.’’ The source, who noted that Akinwande was doing a project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, said: “We also learned that enough consultation was not made before the man was nominated.” We were therefore informed that the nominee may have turned down his nomination.”
According to the source, Akinwande also failed to present himself to the Department of State Services, DSS, for security checks. Speaking to journalists after the drama, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said there was no way the screening could go on in the absence of the chairman designate, adding that the screening had been put on hold indefinitely until the President communicated to the Senate.
Abaribe who noted that the privatization of the electricity sector was meant to improve the sector, said the inauguration of the board of NERC was key to solving the problems of the sector. “Regrettably, when members of the committee assembled to screen the nominees made by President Buhari, we were told that the chairman designate was unavoidably absent. The Presidential liaison who brought the nominees informed us that the chairman was unavoidably absent,” he said.
Abaribe said that since the nomination was made over three months ago, the Presidency should have known whether the chairman-designate would attend the screening or not.
“The commission is vital and cannot function without a chairman,’’ Abaribe stated emphatically.
Abaribe who assured that the committee was ready to screen the nominees, said “we cannot screen them until we have a formal communication from the Presidency.” Other nominees for the board appointment include Sanusi Garuba (Vice Chairman), Nathan R. Shatti (commissioner), Dr. Moses Arigu (commissioner), Dafe C. Akpeneye (commissioner), Prof. Frank Okafor(commissioner) and Musiliu O. Oseni(commissioner).
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