The existence of two parallel Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has been described as a threat to the Federal Government’s reform exercise in the country’s power sector.
In an assessment of current situation at TCN, some industry experts condemned the imbroglio that has stalled final processes of activating the management contract of TCN.
TCN was in July handed over to Canadian firm, Manitoba Hydro International (MHI) in a N3.72 billion three-year management contract, which is expected to reposition TCN in anticipation of its responsibilities in Nigeria’s emerging power sector.
According to these analysts in Abuja, progress made by the country in her effort to reposition the power sector as ensconced in provisions of the Electricity Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005 might as well be threatened by development in TCN which currently has two CEOs, Mr. Olusola Akinniranye, a Nigerian and Mr. Don Priestman, the expatriate CEO from Manitoba.
Recently, at the Seventh General Assembly of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) in Abuja, the management impasse became obvious when Akinniranye and Priestman variously introduced themselves as CEOs of TCN, thus, raising suspicion amongst industry players that all was not well at the transmission company which responsibility is pivotal to the success of the power sector liberalisation exercise.
Manitoba had edged out Power Grid of India to emerge as the preferred management contractor for TCN in a competitive selection process that was overseen by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the company consequently signed a three-year contract with the Federal Government which kicked off on September 1, 2012 but is yet to fully commence operations at TCN owing to government’s refusal to issue out a schedule of responsibility to MHI.
Provisions in the management contract stipulate that eight positions in TCN will be reserved for the expatriate staff who will be assisted by Nigerians as deputies.
In other words, all first line Nigerian executive officers in the eight positions at TCN are supposed to become deputies to expatriate Manitoba staff but the situation is otherwise notwithstanding the September 1 management contract kickoff date.
Accordingly, the ministry of power which ought to sign off the contract has remained reluctant in this regard, although it stated recently that the contract was been reviewed but sources in the presidency said that some government officials have expressed discontent with the contract which is expected to see Manitoba take charge of System Operations (SO), Market Operation (MO), ICT and National Control Centre (NCC) in Oshogbo amongst other portfolios at TCN.
Meanwhile, the situation may have become compounded with the recent emergence of Akinniranye as the new Chairman of WAPP Executive Board in an election at the recently-concluded WAPP General Assembly.
Elected on the strength of his position as the CEO of TCN, Akinniranye succeeds Mr. Joseph Makoju, former Managing Director of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and former Special Adviser on Power to Late President Musa Yar’Adua.
In a press statement from the Assistant General Manager Public Affairs of TCN, Mr. Dave Ifabiyi, Akinniranye was elected by heads of power utilities and delegates from power utilities from the 15 member countries of WAPP comprising Benin, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger and Senegal as well as Sierra Leone, Togo, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.
He is expected to pilot the affairs of WAPP alongside its Secretary General, Mr. Amadou Diallo of Guinea for tenure of three years.