by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Anyone reading through a circular, dated 19th May, 2020, from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) will only arrive at one solemn fact: Boss Mustapha is untowardly interested in goings-on in the power sector. And his actions have begun to re-enforce talks in various quarters that he is a major beneficiary of the proceeds of darkness.
The circular, in short, was a direct response to the sacking of the TCN MD by President Muhammadu Buhari on the recommendation of the Honourable Minister of Power, Eng Sale Mamman – an action that was popular as it was necessary.
The circular, citing all sorts of rules, said the minister lacked the power to sack the erring MD. But nothing could be further from the truth. And this latest adventure clearly shows he is on a collision course with his own boss, the President himself. Is he trying to overrule his own employer?
Because for those watching events closely, this may yet be another move to humiliate the minister by reversing a very effective decision just as it happened earlier this year. If that happens again, it would be an unmitigated tragedy both for national leadership, cohesion and, indeed, the entire power sector.
I’m a power sector activist; so, I should know. Many of the decisions taken by the minister are not only right but actually necessary, if we must wade out of the embarrassing darkness we found ourselves. But officialdom, small-minded meddlesomeness, and outright corruption keep getting in the way. The activities of Boss Mustapha in particular are worrisome.
I have some questions for Boss Mustapha:
1. Why does he always become restive with anything in the power ministry?
2. Why didn’t he say all of these when the minister of communications, for instance, made some changes recently in top position of that ministry?
3. Why didn’t we hear his (Boss) voice when similar reorganisation happened in key parastatal of the Ministry of Humanitarian Services when DG NEMA was replaced?
4. Is it true the rumours making the rounds that he (Boss) benefits directly from some agencies within the power ministry? The speed with which he acted when NBET MD was sacked is still fresh in my mind.
5. Is Boss Mustapha angry with the minister because SIEMENS Company got a contract he is interested in? Why has he been so hard on local contractors, making it difficult for them to meet targets?
Things to ponder:
Nigerians will sooner or later have to choose between effectiveness and strangulating official procedures in addressing the power sector conundrum. The honourable minister must be empowered to go beyond those administrative red-tapism to deal with matters heads on. Procedures are great but not when an emergency like we have now has to be addressed.
The removal of the TCN boss was greeted with widespread jubilation in the industry, especially by patriots, who want to see an end to darkness. The former MD was practically against the FG’s effort with SIEMENS and was openly granting interviews against the company due to his vested interest.
By replacing him with a sound professional, Eng Abdulaziz, the minister demonstrated that he was willing and, in fact, capable of delivering on his mandate. He, the minister, must not be frustrated in this bid.
And Boss Mustapha must clearly know his place at the Federal Executive Council. A minister of the federal republic is clearly ahead of him in the Federal Executive Council (FEC). He must not be seen as rubbing shoulders with his superiors.
Edem Edem is a power sector watcher based in Sweden.