Professor Akintunde Akinwande, the Chairman-designate of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has turned down his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to head the agency.
His rejection marks the third time an appointee would reject his or her nominations within one week and will certainly come as a huge blow to the president.
It would be recalled, Mrs. Pauline Tallen (Plateau) and Usman Bugaje (Katsina) recently rejected their ambassadorial appointments.
It became apparently clear that Akinwande had turned down his appointment when he shunned his invitation to appear before the Senate Committee on Power for screening on Tuesday and consequently stalling the screening of other nominees.
Sources say the professor may have rejected the offer due to the fact that he was not consulted before the nomination was made.
“We also learnt that adequate consultation was not made before the man was nominated. We were therefore informed that the nominee may have turned down his nomination,” a source said.
It was also gathered that among the nominees whose credentials were sent to the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Akinwande’s credentials was nowhere to be found.
While Akinwande was to be the chairman, the other nominees for the board appointment included Sanusi Garuba (vice chairman), Nathan R Shatti (commissioner), Dr. Moses Arigu (commissioner), Dafe C Akpeneye (commissioner), Prof Frank Okafor (commissioner) and Musiliu O Oseni (commissioner).
Speaking on why the committee suspended further screening, the Chairman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said it was impossible to screen other nominees in the absence of the chairman-designate.
Abaribe also said the privatisation of electricity sector was meant to improve the power sector, adding that the inauguration of NERC board was key to solving the power sector problems.
He said: “Regrettably, when members of the committee assembled to screen the nominees made by President Buhari, we were told that the chairman-designate was unavoidably absent. The presidential liaison who brought the nominees informed us that the chairman was unavoidably absent.”
The Chairman griped that the board members were nominated three months ago, the Presidency should have confirmed the preparedness of the chairman-designate to appear for screening or otherwise.
“We cannot screen them until we have a formal communication from the presidency,” he said.