Laleye Dipo in Minna
As the nation continues to grapple with epileptic power supply believed to have been aggravated by the privatization of the power sector, some unions in the sector have called for the removal of the incumbent Minister of power, Mr. Babatunde Raji fashola SAN.
In his place the unions asked that a professional and an engineer who must have retired from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria should be appointed the Minister for a total overhaul of the energy sector.
The demand for the replacement of Fashola who is also the minister of works and that of Housing was taken at the two day meeting of one of the unions held at the press centre of the Nigeria union of Journalists in Minna, Niger State. The meeting ended on Friday.
Delegates at the Zonal meeting of the National union of Electricity Employees NUEE, THISDAY learnt, agreed that Fashola despite being a Senior Advocate of Nigeria did not have the professional competence to pilot the affairs of the ministry.
“What the union is saying is that an Engineer that retired from the defunct PHCN should be appointed Minister of power. You can’t make a civilian the minister of defence” the source said in Minna on Friday.
The meeting disagreed with Fashola’s position that the government would not reverse the privatization of the PHCN carried out by the administration of former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan saying such a position was to dance to the tune the new owners were playing.
The insider said the meeting was of the opinion that if the new owners said they were not making profit and as such requested for N309 billion bailout, the best option was for government to take back its property”.
“You cannot sell your scrap car and only for the buyer to return to ask you for money to repair the car.
“This is more paramount when the new owners have not added a pin to any of the organisation”, the source said.
It was learnt that the unions in the Electricity sector would suggest to the federal government to spend the N309 billion requested for on the construction of a new power plant or a new 700kv transmission line.
Another source at the meeting said NUEE will soon draw the battle line with mainstream, owners of Kainji Dam for illegally stopping union deductions from workers’ salaries since July this year.
“It is an attempt to incapacitate workers in the organisation and make the unions ineffective, we will not accept this”, they vowed.
The meeting praised the General Secretary of the union Comrade Joe Ajaero for giving “members of the union purposeful, result-oriented and transparent leadership”.
In apparent confirmation of the story the Zonal organising secretary, Comrade Eyuruntosanre Godwin said, “we met in Minna, we discussed many issues including the welfare of our members.
“We are not happy with the state of Electricity supply in the country, power generation and transmission has dropped drastically since PHCN was privatized”.