There is no gainsaying that every developed economy thrives on availability of electricity. Thus rationale thinking would suggest that to exit the current economic recession, fixing the power sector becomes a priority. But recent developments in the sector indicate that the sector is crisis-ridden. FESTUS OKOROMADU, takes a look at the impact on the nation’s economy.
The Nigerian power sector last week suffered another setback as activities at the ministry of power, works and housing as well as the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) were disrupted in Abuja on Thursday and Friday following the protest staged by the Senior Staff Association and Allied Electricity Company (SSAAEC) and the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE).
The workers whose grievance was said to be a preserved plot by the minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola, to remove the TCN’s managing director, Dr. Atiku Abubakar, and replace him with Usman Gor Mohammed, who is currently on the employment of the African Development Bank disrupted activities while the protest lasted.
Prior to the show down, the workers had earlier on Wednesday expressed their reservation over the minister’s directive that Dr. Abubakar hands over to Mohammed.
However, Mohammad is said to have come into the scene as part of agreement between the federal government and the bank as a pre-condition for accessing a $364 million intervention fund.
The new appointee is said to have been seconded to the company to ensure the proper and appropriate disbursement of the expected funds. No thanks to previous experiences.
But the workers who strongly opposed the move pointed that the new appointee is not knowledgeable in the technicality, stressed that the focus of the company is technical-driven, hence Mohammed an accountant is perceived to lack the competence necessary to run the firm.
Speaking on the issue the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chairman of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Engr. Wisdom Nwachukwu, said his union was opposed to the development.
“How can they say he should handover to an accountant who rose through him and if we are to look at the process of promotion, the highest position the man would attain right now will be principal manager and we are talking about him becoming a managing director,” he stated.
Speaking on why they think Mohammed’s appointment was not fitting, he said, “He is an accountant by profession and this is a company that is highly technically-driven. The indices of the staff position here should be about 75 per cent technical and 25 percent non-technical. So why are you bringing an accountant as head?
Interestingly, the latest development in TCN is only one aspect of the crisis the power sector in the country is facing. This is even as the other two key subdivisions of the sector, the power generation arm operated by Gencos as well as the distribution sector under the umbrella of Disco are all facing one form of crisis or the other.