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Kiwon Lafiya

Buhari Reverses Jonathan’s Appointments in TCN Against NASS’s Advice



In what has been described as a show of ‘extreme bile’ towards the immediate past adminis­tration of Goodluck Jonathan and a recent attempt to disavow eve­ry good thing the administration did, President Muhammadu Bu­hari, barely five months in office then, ‘hurriedly’ reversed 29 key appointments made by President Jonathan into vacant positions in the Transmission Company of Ni­geria (TCN).

The appointments made by Jonathan in line with the Board of TCN December 2014, six months before the expiration of his admin­istration, were in respect of vacant directorship positions in the com­pany. The appointments were re­versed on November 5, 2015 via a letter from the office of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinba­jo, which itself stated that the re­versal was sequel to a stakehold­ers’ meeting held on October 12 last year “about the management of TCN and the role of Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria Ltd (MHINL).”

The letter, which was ad­dressed to the Permanent Secre­tary, Federal Ministry of Power and titled ‘Management Contrac­tor Role for Transmission Compa­ny of Nigeria (TCN)’, read, in part:

“I am directed by His Excel­lency, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Pro­fessor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to write you following the meeting we held with the Ministry of Pow­er, NERC, BPE and MHI about the management of TCN and the role of Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria Ltd on October 12, 2015.”

According to the letter, the res­olutions from the meeting were, among others, that:

A) The appoint­ment of 29 new executives at the level of director, executive direc­tor and managing director/CEO be reversed.

This, the letter said, was to allow the management con­tractor to regain control of TCN, warning that “future executive appointments must be processed with input from the management contractor and board of directors to ensure that successful applicants have the correct qualifications and experience to operate TCN.”

      B) That Manitoba Hydro In­ternational Nigeria Ltd (MHINL) be allowed to discharge fully the general duties of the contractor as shown in the TCN management contract.

Power Ministry sources, however, faulted the directive from the Vice President for what they described as “its being eco­nomical with the truth.”

“On the surface, the directive seems in order, even well-meaning and patriotic, but how could they be writing as if there was still a subsisting contract between Mani­toba and TCN, when the manage­ment contract had expired since July last year,” an informed min­istry source quipped.

“So, going by the terms of that contract, that directive was null and void ab initio because the government was investing in the management contractor the power, authority and privilege it no longer enjoyed since its contract with the govern­ment had expired way back in July last year.”

But, power sector confirm that the Manitoba contract was renewed by “this pre­sent administration against the de­cision of the last government. But, now that it is about to expire again, there is rising opposition to the re­newal.”

In fact, apart from the last ex­ecutive branch, the National As­sembly, specifically the House of Representatives, advised the Buha­ri Administration against renew­ing it. Nevertheless, the govern­ment went ahead and renewed the contract, even without the knowl­edge of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Mr. God­knows Igali, under whose purview the Manitoba contract falls. This has fueled speculations that the renewal did not go through the due process.

What seems to rankle most in the whole Manitoba saga is that even though the group is a man­agement contractor whose func­tions and operations were sup­posed to have been understudied by Nigerians, none of that hap­pened or is likely to happen.

In fact, power industry sourc­es have described “hurried rever­sal” of the appointments made by Jonathan by Buhari as “the gov­ernment shooting itself in the foot because those appointments were designed, in the first place, to create a pool of local experts who would understood and eventual­ly take over from, Manitoba after the expiration of its management contract.”

There are speculations that part of the reason for the “hasty” reversal of “those 29 critical ap­pointments made by Jonathan stems from a very complex inter­national business politics by very influential Nigerians preparing Manitoba to package TCN for them to buy.”

Power, Works and Hous­ing Minister’s spokesman Mr. Akeem Bello could not be reached for comments. But, a very relia­ble power sector source told The AUTHORITY that while there may be subterranean attempts by some influential political and busi­ness moguls to buy TCN, “I don’t think it (the sale) will happen,” as the government, the source said, “is not tinkering with the idea at the moment.”

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