The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, is expected to appear before a joint committee of the National Assembly on power on Monday to justify the sudden dissolution of the management of the Transition Company of Nigeria.
The joint committee issued the summon on Friday just after the Federal Government announced the sack of the Abubakar Atiku-led management of TCN, and seconded Usman Mohammed from the African Development Bank, AfDB, to head the company.
Mr. Mohammed, a statement by the Ministry of Power, Works an Housing said, would work for a 12-month non-extendable tenure to accomplish “his transformational mandate and set Transmission Service Providers and Independent System Operators on a path of greater operational efficiency and effectiveness.”
But in the statement jointly signed by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Enyinnaya Abaribe, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Power, Daniel Asuquo, the National Assembly expressed worry at the development.
“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, the joint committee said.
It continued: “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.”
The Nation newspaper reported that “the change in the leadership of the TCN was in fulfillment of the conditions to obtain the $174 million loan granted the Federal Government a year ago by the African Development Bank (ADB).”
According to the newspaper, the loan was specifically granted to tackle the country’s energy crisis. The removal of the management team of the TCN was said to be a major condition for the loan.
Then, in the absence of the management of TCN, ADB “experts” will be deployed to run the TCN and manage the national grid for six months in the first instance.