By Adewale Sanyaolu
Stakeholders in Nigeria’s power sector have raised the alarm over the delay in the inauguration of the Board members of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), warning that the development poses a grave danger to an already fragile sector.
The delay in the inauguration of the TCN Board is coming five months after they were appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The appointed Board members are Muhammad K Ahmad (Chairman), Chief Henry Okolo, Imamudden Talba, Ambassador Usman Sarki, Ali Haruna, Engr. Simeone Atakulu, Zubaida Mahey Rasheed, Dr Mustapha Abiodun Akinkunmi, Engr Oladele Amoda and Dr Nkiru Balonwu.
The TCN, a strategic component of Nigeria’s power industry value chain, has had it board constituted since January, but four months later it is yet to be inaugurated.
Stakeholders who spoke to Daily Sun in separate interviews lamented that crucial power transmission projects that need the attention and nod of the Board are currently suffering major setbacks.
A power expert who is familiar with the workings of the power sector, Engr Abidoun Soetan, said that Nigeria’s fragile transmission network which has witnessed frequent failures in the last year, deserves urgent attention by the yet to be inaugurated Board, warning that further delay on the already weak transmission network could lead to an imminent nationwide blackout.
He warned that the sector must not be allowed to fall into total collapse due to intrigues and unhealthy politics
It was alleged that the letters of appointment of the newly constituted TCN board members, already signed and approved by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, was lost in transit and that all efforts to locate the letters, which are precursor to the inauguration of the new board, was said to have been engulfed by ‘power play and political intrigues.’
When reached for comment, the Special Assistant, Media to the Minister of Power, Aaron Artimas, said that the list of the board members is with the minister, and that the Board would be inaugurated as soon as certain issues are sorted out.
He said the minister is not against any of the Board members but that some certain things must be put in place before inauguration.
Artimas noted that the organisation has not had Board members in the last 10 years, yet it is functioning. ‘What is left to be done is an administrative thing,’ he said.
‘’All the people involved in the running of the industry must all agree. Right from the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, the office of the Vice President and that of the Minister, must all agree on all those things that would make the Board take off effectively and efficiently.’
He also stated that the minister, because of his supervisory role in the power industry, has had his hands full with other commitments, which include ensuring work commence on the Mambila power project and other projects under the ministry, a situation which has not given him the opportunity to settle down.
But some other industry players have alleged that corruption and political intrigues among federal officials have stalled the inauguration of the TCN board.
TCN has for several years been without a substantive board and this development had impacted adversely on the overall governance.
Other industry players believe that technical and policy issues may also be a factor delaying the inauguration. They argued that said some of the Board members do not have the technical know how of the industry.
The Board when inaugurated will oversee the selection of a substantive Managing Director, who will take over from the Acting Managing Director, Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, who was appointed in May 2020, as well as provide policy directions for the only power utility still owned 100 per cent owned by the federal government.