A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Why Govt sacked PHCN chiefs – Minister

07 April 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji, has explained that the three Power Holding Company ofNigeria (PHCN) top executives, recently relieved of their duties, were sacked because of their managerial deficiency.

The three affected officers are Transition Company of Nigeria (TCN) Managing Director, Engr. Akinwunmi Bada; the Market Operator, Engr. Uzoma Achinaya and the Executive Director, Human Resources at the PHCN, Mr. Olushoga Muyiwa.

Their sack led to a protest, Thursday, by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), which saw members of the union shut the main entrance of the PHCN headquarters in Abuja.

A statement titled, “NUEE Executives Should See Beyond Their Noses,” issued by Mr. Ogbuagu, Special Assistant on Media to the minister, said the ministry had noted that NUEE secretary general, Comrade Joe Ajaero, who is defending the fired officials, had once complained that the sacked PHCN official was discriminating against distribution companies.

Anikwe said Ajaero had complained that the officer was releasing salaries that failed to harmonise the unprecedented 50 per cent salary increase that the unions extracted from government as one of the conditions to allow privatisation to go on.

He maintained that the union’s incessant complaints about discriminatory payment of the 50 per cent salary increase was an indication of the officer’s poor management rating.

“It is a fact that, sometimes, technical ability does not translate to managerial ability. It is ironic to note that the rabble-rousing antics of Joe Ajaero and his cohorts in NUEE was one of the issues that worked against the person that Ajaero is today shedding crocodile tears over his retirement,” Anikwe said.

He added: “Or is it possible that Ajaero and the NUEE leadership have forgotten how they ceaselessly dragged this officer to various fora, complaining that he was discriminating against the distribution companies by releasing salaries that failed to harmonise the unprecedented 50 per cent salary increase that the unions extracted from government as one of the conditions to allow privatisation to go on?”

While justifying the ministry’s action, Anikwe recalled that Nigerians are witnesses to two successive explosions which led to system collapse that plunged the nation into darkness in late March.

“The fact that the second explosion occurred within a week of the first, at the same place and time and under the same circumstances, exposes a lack of attention to detail for which someone in charge ought to be called to account,” he stated.

The statement further read: “As for the ex-HR Director, members of the general public who have ever complained about PHCN staff abuses – including extortion, embezzlement and corruption – are in the best position to judge the fidelity of the culture of staff discipline that this officer superintended.

“What is disheartening is that it was also not beyond this officer to keep on the payroll for 18 months someone who was supposed to have retired – while senior staff of PHCN lamented their stagnation at one grade level for years because of ‘no vacancy’.

“We have no intention of engaging Joe Ajaero in a street fight which he clearly relishes. It is laughable that Ajaero would suggest that majority of the officers affected by government’s retirement have nothing to do with power generation, transmission and distribution. PHCN’s sole business is power generation, transmission and distribution; any staff working for the company is engaged in any of the three, either as a core or as a support staff.’’

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  • It‘s high time government expedited the transfer of this body to private operators. Nigerians are fed up with this incessant power outages. We have the resouces to make this work, we shouldn‘t be suffering like this!