Monday, 25 July 2016
Buhari rejects Fashola's candidate for NERC chair
President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly stunned Babatunde Fashola, the minister of Works, Power and Housing, following his decision to nominate Akintunde Ibitayo Akinwande, as the executive chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
According to a report on The Cable, Akinwade, a professor in the electrical engineering and computer science department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was nominated ahead of Fashola’s preferred candidate, Olasupo Shasore, who was once attorney-general under him as governor of Lagos state. Babatunde Fashola, minister of works, power and housing, had preferred Olasupo Shasore, who was once attorney-general under him as governor of Lagos.
Following Ambode’s victory at the poll, the relationship between Tinubu and Fashola has not improved since then, and it was widely reported last year that Tinubu did not support the appointment of Fashola as minister because of their strained relationship. However, a presidency insider told The Cable: “Shasore was dropped because the president does not want anything that will stoke tension in the Lagos axis again.” According to the source, Buhari personally sought out the NERC nominees as he is doing in critical areas of his administration. He said: “The president’s expectation is that with more professionals in his team, including those from the Diaspora, he will be able to deliver the goods in these critical area
With his nomination, Akinwande will succeed Sam Amadi whose tenure ended in 2015. It was gathered that Buhari sent Akinwade’s name and other nominees to the Senate for confirmation before they embarked on their long recess on Thursday, July 21. Other nominees include: Musiliu Olalekan Oseni (Southwest nominee), Dafe C. Akpeneye (South-South nominee), Okafor Frank Nwoye (Southeast nominee), Sanusi Garba (Northwest nominee), Nathan Rogers Shatti (Northeast nominee), Moses Arigu (North-Central nominee). NERC, which regulates the power sector, is key to the resolution of the electricity crisis as the government has already privatised distribution and generation entities. It is under the control of the federal government and it is currently being managed by Manitoba of Canada on contractual basis.