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Fashola begins enquiry into power sector shame

By Emeka Anuforo, Karls Tsokar and Cornelius Essen (Abuja)   |   13 November 2015   |   5:20 am  

fashola in senate• Fear grips civil servants over restructuring
• Presidency unfair to Culture, says Soyinka
NEW ministers, new style.
Barely 48 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated his 37-member ‘round- pegs-in-round-holes’ cabinet to man the 25 restructured ministries, some of them are already raring to go.

They have been reeling out statements that indicate the direction of the present government.
Among such ministers is Power, Works and Housing’s Babatunde Raji Fashola, who has commenced inquiry into the problems of the power sector and why it allegedly failed to deliver the desired promises to the country.

Fashola, who met with directors at the ministry shortly after he resumed Wednesday wanted to know if some of the problems of the sector were systematic or man made.

He urged the management of the ministry to be open with information, as he was determined to find a solution to the lingering power issue.
“We are here to work with you, in solving problems on ground as quickly as possible. We want to know if some of those problems are man-made or systemic,” he noted.

A meeting that took place on the day of inauguration was attended by the Minister of State, Alhaji Mustapha Baba Shehuri, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Louis Edozien and directors.

The minister said his thoughts are on how to bring together processes and activities of all the ministries now under his supervision for effective service delivery.
He assured the ministry’s leadership of his willingness to learn from them as career people who had been on the job for a long time.
“We want information on what has been done, what remained to be done, and what are the future plans; we want to continue from there.”

Also speaking, Shehuri requested a detailed Ministerial Briefing Document to serve as guide for proper takeoff.
Director, Human Resources, Mrs. Grace Papka, gave copies of the requested documents to the two ministers, in addition to a timetable for proposed briefings by departments and agencies in the power sector.

Already concerned Nigerians have hailed President Buhari’s choice of Fashola as ‘placing square peg in square hole.
Speaking under the aegis of Gateway for Empowerment and Justice for Peace Initiative (GEJPI), the group at a media briefing yesterday in Abuja said that considering the requisite experience and records of performance in maintaining sustained economic growth and unprecedented infrastructure development in the last eight years in Lagos State, it is only appropriate that Fashola be given a heavy portfolio to handle.

Leader of the group, Jide Cole, an engineer said: “Yes, we are aware that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Buhari were determined to bring on board the best technocrats and administrators into the new government. Our expectations have been met and even surpassed as the President gave Nigerians a pleasant surprise.
“Therefore, we want to lend our voice, joining other well-meaning citizens of this great nation in thanking Buhari for such great show of wisdom and administrative finesse by putting square pegs in square holes.

We also congratulate Fashola for being best suited as minister for the combined portfolios he got because he is a hard working, unassuming and transparently so. He is a person who never gets tired of whatever he sets his eyes to achieve. He came in as governor of Lagos State in 2007, and after eight years turned Lagos into the state to beat in Nigeria.
“We also believe that President Buhari saw Fashola as a disciplined man just like himself who was ready to work assiduously. He ensured that he implemented his predecessor’s idea for a Bus Rapid Transport System which eased the transportation problems of Lagosians. And of course, this trait is one of the things Fashola will bring to bear in his new assignment.”

Meanwhile, there is anxiety among directors and other senior level workers in ministries affected by the restructuring like Aviation, Police Affairs, Housing, Urban Development, Power and Works, Youths and Sports even as Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday decried the fact the Culture Ministry was a victim of the exercise.
To him, the Culture Ministry is ‘missing in action.’
“We all know that culture is, at best regarded as an orphan, but does General Buhari have to make it so obvious? Even orphans are entitled to a foster home,” he lamented.

Culture is now subsumed by the Ministry of Information, while Special Duties was scrapped and the Department of Budget and National Planning excised from the Ministry of Finance and now a substantive ministry headed by Senator Udo Udoma.

However, the workers in the affected ministries, yesterday gathered in groups discussing the development as many expressed the concern that they could soon be rendered redundant.

But, it was a blend of joy and sadness in many of the merged ministries, while some workers wore long faces, others were happy that their arrears of salary had been paid.

powerThe Federal Government had compulsorily retired 17 permanent secretaries from the Federal Civil Service, sending mixed signals to directors, deputy directors and other junior officers, especially cleaners.
In a related development, Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu had said that Nigeria could “not do it without science and technology.”

He spoke at a reception organised in his honour by Concerned Ebonyi State natives in Abuja, where he pledged to revive the Technology Village Project in Abia.

His words: “Science and technology will take Nigeria to a height unimagined today; we will do our best to be the instruments that Nigeria will use to get to that height. And I need your prayers; I need your support,” he said.

He noted: “One assurance that I will always give you and I have said it repeatedly, is that as your son, I will never do something that you will be ashamed of. It is better for me to leave politics than for me to do something for my own selfish interest that will make you to be ashamed of your son. I will continue to act in a way that Nigerians will know that Ebonyi State is truly the Salt of the Nation.”
Defence Minister expected to resume today

The newly appointed Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Mohammed Dan-Ali, will formally resume today.
A message from the office of the Department of Information and Public Affairs in the ministry to Defence correspondents yesterday evening said the minister would be resuming today at 8 a.m. local time.

It is expected that, like in all other ministries, Dan-Ali, on resumption, set the ball rolling as issues relating to the ministry form some of the major concerns of the present administration.



  • AA

    This is a very mis-leading and sensational headline. Shame on the editor!

  • Ify Onabu

    Let Prof Soyinka offer the Ministry of Culture some shelter in his palatial home.

    • Eyes Justice

      No, @ify_onabu:disqus

      I expected you to recommend the scrapping of the Ministry of Science and Technology. You seem to know the leading Science and Tech nations who have thrown their culture overboard. For instance UK, USA, Germany who project their empires through their CULTURAL INSTITUTES. Or Japan and China on whose name you now swear.

      As for your broadside on Soyinka – you know we midgets always think of giants as freaks of nature! Ha Ha Ha, your joke is on yourself, pal.

  • ayobamiba

    Buhari by this assignment to fashola have shown himself to be truly ignorant and totally confused about leadership of Nigeria. The great bola Ige could not handle power alone until he was removed, now buhari is giving fashola the combined task of power,housing and roads .what is the wisdom behind this almajiri somersault and demented warped thinking of over encubering a man when we have other capable hands that can be assigned with such responsibilities .how can fashola effectively oversee power,works and housing in 36 states of Nigeria with Abuja and still become effective. It is very disheartening that many Nigerians are too glued to sycophancy and hero worship that they are now dummies and imbeciles.after six months of sleepwalking around this is what Nigeria was shut down for six months running with the attendant destruction of our nation on every side.I am a Nigerian resident in Lagos for more than 30 years now and I must confess that fasholas leadership of Lagos was that of mediocrity laced with highly sophisticated corrupt media propaganda. There is no project in Lagos today that can justify over 6 trillion naira administered by fashola in Lagos.Lagos transportation sector is totally bankrupt, power nonsense, education moribund ,infrastructure in comatose. I want this bands of hooligans deceiving their treacherous Judas souls to point to one aspect of fasholas work that is different from what other governors did.they are all the same looters and corrupt people. The people of Lagos have petition pending at efcc against fashola for looting Lagos while these hired praise singers wants Nigerians to suffer dementia.

    • Jeoseph

      Allow him to try first!

    • tunde008

      story

    • amador kester

      relax friend, fashola, the action governor is a good bargain to help actualize a transformative social charter for the masses whether in the power sector or social housing in mega units i say expect change. Even if the economy got too bad he is still in his dynamic and transformative elements amidst that mad welter. . I came to this conclusion by looking over his governorship track records of dynamic implementation of focussed agenda

    • Azazelle

      You very opinionated. ..and an idiot. That’s a very dangerous combination; you should be locked up.

  • Okutachi M.

    Fashola Raji is a man that is fit for the Job and he is the only preferable person for presidential race if APC wants to continue after Buhari exit from Power.

    • Pet Lauren

      i love ur message and u nailed it right. God bless you for seeing the vision i saw.

  • Joe

    This Jide of a man is a sycophant. you will perish with your sycophantic attitude. Fashola will no go anywhere. He will beg Buhari to move him out of power, just like his elder brother Bola Ige that beg OBJ to be moved to justice.

    • Taiwo

      a Pessimist.

  • emmanuel kalu

    There is a sense of good that some of the ministries were merged with other. The president could have gone a little further. however I believe no matter how smart, hardworking and determined any man or woman is. To handle power, works and housing in Nigeria is a recipe for failure. failure on the minister and on the country. our power system is of the dark age, even Germany in 1900 had better electricity than Nigeria in the year 2015. The whole system needs constant supervision and investment. Nigeria doesn’t have a road system and whatever we have is constantly falling apart. To bring the road system under funding constraints required a team of capable ministers. we have a housing shortage of over 20 million unit, we don’t have a process or policy of reducing this and yet our population continues to increase. how it is expected that one man regardless of all his quality would be able to resolve those three major issue, is just asking for failure.
    it is also asking for failure, when the president knowing the extend of Nigeria problems, would not assign some kind of objective to each minister. objective that could be measured, understood and seen by most Nigerian’s. simple but reachable goal like asking the minister of power to ensure that 80% of Nigeria electricity customers have meters installed in 2 years. or having 30% of federal road up to world standard, or reducing the number of housing deficit by 10%.

    • Kehinde Lawal

      You’ve commented on various issues in one go; I was initially thinking along your line but having a second look at Fashola’s portfolio I came to the conclusion that it is nothing beyond his ken: 1st, road system is under ministry of transport assigned to RA. Second, on the federal level, ‘works’ can be delegated to the minister of state with supervision role for Fashola. Third, I am not aware of many houses being built by the federal government for the populace (though I stand corrected) ‘Housing’ may only encompass overseeing the regulatory framework of house building by citizens, government (for some of its workers) corporate bodies and the implementation of such framework.. My knowledge is that ppl tend to build/buy their own homes since after independence with help from their employers.
      As for Buhari setting targets: far fetched; One man can’t hold sway on all matters. It is the responsibility of each minister to examine their party manifesto and aim to carry out party electioneering promise to the letter! I think there is an element of narrow mindedness when everything is pinned on just one man:Buhari.
      All in all, this is the right time to streamline our governing structure because of the economic crunch.

  • Oladoja wahab

    …..this make me confident that Bmb know what he is doing and where he is heading, Nigeria we soon be better!

  • Offor

    Managing three or four merged ministries is not entirely difficult. It is not as complex as it has been variously depicted. I am shocked to read that some people have been responding to this new development as something almost impossible if not completely impossible. Of course it is quite doable. The key to success when you are entrusted with such an enormous responsibility is “to keep it simple” and not make things complicated. The outcome is that the success will be totally yours. Of course, the first step is to identify the problems and challenges in each ministry; the Power sector for instance: Is it in Generation of power, or transmission or distribution? When it comes to Works, because of the economic situation in the country, it is now advisable to always proceed with direct labor and if possible eschew the middleman business syndrome (aka contractors) – For instance, when it comes to road construction, simply negotiate directly with the companies or firms that have tested and proven track records of reliable building and construction capability. Many ministries in the past have turned out high-quality finished products without contractors, built solid 4,6 inches and above road networks without middlemen…. The same is applicable to other sectors….Everybody must have gotten the message by now that the major problem that has been killing Nigeria is corruption: QED.

  • amador kester

    Good and an forensic audit of that sector is also most imperative.

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