Paul Obi in Abuja
Workers under the auspices of Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) yesterday threatened to ground the entire electric power structure in the country if their demands are not met.
The threat was issued following alleged administrative irregularities and high handedness leveled against the management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
The TCN emerged from the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), a consequence of the merger of the transmission and operations sectors on April 1, 2004.
The company also represents one of the 18 unbundled business units under the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), and was issued a transmission licence on July 1, 2006. Its mandate includes electricity transmission, system operation and electricity trading.
The development prompted workers of the organisation to picket the TCN premises in Abuja, where they disrupted vehicular movement and commercial activities for several hours.
They stressed that the protest came on the heels of TCN’s Managing Director, Usman Mohammed’s disregard for labour laws, demanding that he be relieved of his appointment by the government for flouting most of the administrative procedures.
According to SSAEAC General Secretary, Umar Abubakar, the MD single handedly conducted examinations for staff due for promotion without recourse to input from other management staff.
The protesters said efforts by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to intervene in the matter, proved abortive as Mohammed failed to turn up in several meetings arranged by stakeholders.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions i.e ‘We say no to tax fraud’, ‘Sack UG Mohammed now to guarantee hope for power sector’, ‘No to nepotism’ among others, as they were also seen chanting solidarity songs against the management.
SSAEAC said: “Our grievances stem from the fact that the MD on his own singled out promotion exercise and started conducting it in his own way through the aid of consultants, that to us is not the ideal process, he was even bragging that he set the questions himself. How can a managing director in an organisation like TCN in Nigeria organise or write promotion interview or questions? Except he has another motive in his mind.
“The motive is that he is not prepared to promote any staff, especially those who are due and most qualified for promotion. He probably wants to pick people who are his ‘boys’ and who will be loyal to him, that is our suspicion.
“We have it on good authority that there were some containers loaded with equipment that was cleared from the ports but was not taken to the store, this again is not the proper thing to do.
“His own style of leadership is management of dishing out orders, if he is not around, nothing takes place, he believes he is the only person that can do everything, such thing doesn’t happen in an ideal organisation. Is he the only person in the organisation? What then are the functions of the Executive Directors or General Managers?
“To cap it all and to prove his incompetence, the FIRS has sealed off our office over tax default, how can a responsible managing director claim to be in charge and this is happening?”