In what could easily pass as a season of rejection of appointments, another nominee of President Muhammadu Buhari for the position of Chairman of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Prof. Akintunde Akinwande, has reportedly declined his nomination.
Akinwande’s absence at the Senate session yesterday fueled speculations that the Kwara State-born engineering professor at the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), may have rejected his appointment after all.
His absence also threw a spanner in the works as the screening of other nominees into the board of the NERC could not go on as planned.
A competent source said Akinwande turned down the nomination “because he was not consulted before the nomination was made”.
In a list of nominees circulated by the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, records of date of birth, qualification, specialization, experience and certificate of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) were missing in Akinwande’s column.
Of the seven nominees for the board appointment, only the NERC Chairman-designate, had no records of his credentials.
The source further stated that Akinwande, who is currently working on a project at MIT, refused to avail himself to the Department of State Services (DSS) for security checks.
Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, told reporters that there was no way the screening could go on in the absence of the chairman-designate.
Abaribe noted that the privatization of the electricity sector was meant to improve the sector.
He added that the inauguration of the board of NERC was key to solving the problems in the sector.
“Regrettably, when members of the committee assembled to screen the nominees made by President Muhammadu Buhari, we were told that the chairman designate was unavoidably absent. The Presidential liaison who brought the nominees informed us that the chairman was unavoidably absent”, Abaribe said
The senator also said there was no way the committee could go on with the screening without the chairman designate.
He noted that since the nomination was made over three months ago, the Presidency ought to have known whether Akinwande would attend the screening or not.
He stressed that “the commission is vital and cannot function without a chairman”.
Abaribe, who assured that the committee was ready to screen the nominees, added: “We cannot screen them until we have a formal communication from the Presidency”.
Other nominees for the board appointment included Sanusi Garuba (Vice Chairman), Nathan R. Shatti (commissioner), Dr. Moses Arigu (commissioner), Dafe C. Akpeneye (commissioner), Prof. Frank Okafor (commissioner) and Musiliu O. Oseni (commissioner).