The Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman has insisted that Dr. Marilyn Amobi must handover to the new and substantive Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), Dr. Nnaemeka Ewelukwa.
The special adviser to the Minister on media and communication, Aaron Artimas on Tuesday told Daily Trust after an enquiry that, the approval for Amobi to serve out her tenure was a contradiction of the letter the Minister had obtained approving the immediate appointment of Ewelukwa as the substantive MD of NBET.
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According to a memo, Amobi was told to serve out her tenure through a memo dated June 8 along with an updated letter dated June 15 issued by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse.
The finance ministry’s letter said Amobi should handover to Ewelukwa after she completes her four year tenure by July 24, about four weeks from now.
The contrary views were coming barely 24 hours after the power minister issued a statement, asking Amobi to immediately proceed on a terminal leave and hand over to the new MD, Mr Ewelukwa.
Daily Trust reports that Engr. Mamman had in December 2019 directed that the erstwhile MD, Dr. Amobi step down over myriad complaints.
The minister also raised a five man committee to investigate the complaints against Amobi that include overriding superior officers’ decisions.
Barely 24 hours after the directive was issued, NBET confirmed in a statement that Dr. Ewelukwa, a General Manager, and the pioneer General Counsel and Company Secretary at NBET took charge of the agencies’ operations.
But in January 2020, Amobi was reinstated as the MD of NBET through a notice from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Sources privy to the development told our reporter that it was a game of superior power playing out between the actors.
“The President conveyed the approval to immediately disengage the erstwhile MD, Dr Amobi through the Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, to the Minister of Power. The letter from the Presidency also said the agency should revert to Power Ministry because there is no law backing the transfer to the Finance Ministry.
“How can the Ministry of Finance under Mrs Zainab Ahmed say she should continue to stay? Buhari in the letter from the Chief of Staff approved Ewelukwa as the substantive MD of NBET, not in acting capacity. And there is no way there will be two heads of an agency at a time,” an
Responding to the counter approval from the finance ministry, the power minister’s spokesman, Mr Artimas said: “How can she stay when her successor has been appointed in substantive position? NBET is an agency under the ministry of Power, does the Ministry of finance has superior authority over Power in this matter?
“Morally speaking, after a tenure of four years, is it not normal or conventional that the former MD proceed on terminal leave which expires on July 24th? This is an unnecessary Power play,” Artimas noted.
Speaking further, he said the Senate Committee on Power which is currently probing the power sector, has commended Engr. Mamman for the ongoing reforms he is coordinating in the power sector to bring sanity and coordination to the sector which has been ailing for long.