BY : Ayodele Samuel Oloye
When Engr. Sale Mamman took over as the Minister of Power, there was no illusion whatsoever that the job would be a walk in the garden.
As a matter of fact it was the toughest job in Nigeria at the moment.
Amidst allegations that the Power Sector, in Nigeria was tightly gripped by a cabal, Engr Sale Mamman and his colleague , Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedi Agba have the herculean task of cracking the hydra-headed problems which have continued to frustrate all efforts to provide adequate and efficient power supply to Nigerians despite gulping many billions of both Naira and dollars.
To worsen matters, the new ministers are not members of this cabal and therefore their emergence is seen like throwing ‘spanners in the works’ for those who have made it a habit of milking the Ministry of critical funds meant to revolutionize the power sector in Nigeria.
Latest developments clearly suggest that the so-called cabals are not only uncomfortable with the new order in the Ministry, but are also prepared to frustrate and sabotage all efforts to re-position the power ministry. They are beginning to fight back.
It started last month. Barely two months after, Engr Sale Mamman assumed duties as Minister of Power, a report claimed that the Meter Asset Programme was failing under the new Minister.
The fictitious story claimed that the meter programme, ‘a noble idea’ of former Power Minister Babatunde Fashola, was being sabotaged by Engr. Mamman. The report shamelessly contradicted itself when it admitted that ‘the 108 Meter Asset provider which began operation about five months earlier was yet to record meaningful progress.
How could a minister slow down an operation that had already failed by the admittance of the report?
The truth is that the meter provider operation was not very active when Engr Sale Mamman assumed duties and therefore this allegation is an attempt to drag the Minister and make him an accomplice of the failure to implement a programme for which funds were provided more than four years ago but was not implemented.
Another libellous and blackmailing report was published online claiming that the power sector was collapsing under the new ministers.
The report quoted a faceless group masquerading as business leaders warning that the Nigerian power sector is heading for a total collapse under Engr Sale Mamman.
This pathetically hateful story did not explain how in just three months, the new minister reduced power generation in the country to 2500MW. And, dubiously the faceless business group did not tell us the level of generation before Engr Sale Mamman assumed duties or the record of achievement of the power sector in the past four years.
Again the report delved back into the Meter Asset Programme, a clear indication that the shadowy people behind these campaigns of calumny against the Minister have grievances concerning the meter issue.
However the most dangerous and distressing aspect of this desperate campaign is the attempt to create a rift between Engr Mamman and his Predecessor, a highly respected Senior Minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola.
Engr Sale Mamman was appointed to consolidate on the modest efforts made by Fashola to solve the problems facing Nigeria power sector. They are both members of the Federal Executive Council and are not opposed to each other in anyway and so the attempt to promote a comparison between them is not only mischievous but also a pretentious and dubious attempt to place personal problem above national interest. But, the Ministers will not be forced into taking any hastily decisions to satisfy personal interest; as doing so will negate a good opportunity to identify or understand the real reason for the failure of past attempts to deliver on the real mandate of the Ministry of power to Nigerians.
We are not unaware that most of the stories and social media messages against the Minister and indeed the Ministry of Power are sponsored designed to raise unnecessary anxiety and doubts in the minds of Nigerians on the ability of the country to overcome challenges facing its power sector.
It’s on record that in the past three years, the country had suffered several System Collapse but it was not deliberately caused by the government’s inaction but avoidable technical issues. This government is trying its best to tackle all the problems and place the power sector on the path to full recovery.
The Minister’s effort in this direction has already started yielding positive results. So far, the Minister has visited about seven power projects to see for himself and receive first-hand information on their problems and prospects. The visits have been revealing and have indeed thrown more light at how the problems besetting the sector could be solved. The people criticizing the Minister are those clearly unhappy with these developments and are desperate to scuttle it. But it will not work.
Not only are Nigerians aware that these negative campaigns are premature, but also they are aware that the campaigns are sponsored by those who clearly have no public interest at heart.
Ayodele Samuel Oloye writes from Lagos.