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Power: Fashola Denies TCN Leadership Change Condition For $174m AfDB Loan

By Teddy Nwanunobi

Abuja (Sundiata Post) –   Minister of Power, Works and Housing minister, Babatunde Fashola, on Monday, said that the leadership change in the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) is not an African Development Bank (AfDB)’s condition to grant Nigeria the sum of $174 million.

Fashola, who made the statement before a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives’ Committee on Power, said that Isman Gur Mohammed’s appointment as the Managing Director of the TCN in place of Atiku Abubakar did not breach any law.

Mohammed’s had generated uproar as the electricity workers union protested to the Senate seeking a reversal of the decision.

Fashola, who maintained that the position had been vacant before the appointment, explained that Muhammed’s appointment cannot be reversed.

“It was done in compliance with a Presidential directive adding that the President had the prerogative of making any political appointment,” he said.

Based on the petition received against the appointment, the committee had invited Fashola to explain the citcumstances surrounding Mohammed’s appointment.

“TCN is under the supervision of head of the executive arm of government who is the president. He exercises the prerogative to decide who heads that  company, when and at what time. At the moment, TCN does not have a Managing Director. So, the person on whose behalf a petition has agitated this house is not a Managing Director. So, there is a vacancy.

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“Let me say it on record and with every emphasis and clarity that this appointment has nothing to do with the AfDB loan. AfDB did not recommend its officer.

“We asked for him because there was institutional record on his performance in government before he took up the appointment with AfDB. The terms and conditions of the AfDB loans had been settled long before this matter came up.

“By the time I became Minister, there were existing AfDB loans that had been partly disbursed and they have no connection whatsoever,” he said.

Fashola further explained that Muhammed had previously worked in the Nigerian power sector for 17 and half years as the head of Finance.

Fashola, according to a statement signed by the joint Committee, had been invited to appear in the National Assembly to provide explanations on the matter.

The Committee had also directed that “the status quo ante in respect of the management of TCN be maintained”.

The statement, which was signed by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Enyinnaya Abaribe, and his counterpart from the House, Daniel Asuquo, equally ordered that “All TCN staff and relevant stakeholders should maintain the peace in the overall interest of the nation”.

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The statement is entitled: The TCN Leadership Crisis and its Effect on the Power Sector.

“The Joint Committee on Power of the National Assembly acting on its powers of oversight received disturbing correspondences and information regarding the sudden change in the leadership of TCN, and its attendant crisis.

“Considering the urgency of the matter, especially due to the present economic recession, the Joint Committee resolved to invite the Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing to explain the decision of the Ministry to “import” from the ADB (one of the lenders to TCN) yet another duplication of the Manitoba experience which had left a negative impression on the fortunes of TCN and indeed the Power Sector.

“The Joint Committee invited the Hon. Minister for Power, Work & Housing to appear before the Committee along with relevant officials on the 3rd of February which he could not appear.

“Consequently, the Joint Committee met and resolved as follows:

“(a) That the status quo ante in respect of the management of TCN be maintained;

“(b) That the Minister should endeavor to appear before the Committee on Monday 6th February, 2017 by 10 am. and

“(c) That all TCN staff and relevant stakeholders should maintain the peace in the overall interest of the nation,” it read.

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