Wednesday, 18 May 2011 00:00 From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja
THE celebrated but controversial Ndudi Elumelu House of Representatives power committee report assumed to have been dumped, may be stalking its way back to prominence again.
Reason: The nation’s electricity workers have given a revisit to the report as a condition for a renewed negotiation with the Federal Government over the on-going electricity sector reform programme.
The workers, who had a protracted meeting with the chief negotiator and coordinator between the government and the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Labour Unions, Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, insisted that unless the reports of Ndudi Elumelu power committee of the House of Representative is revisited, they would not resume negotiation with the government on the programme.
But Sunmonu called on the parties in the negotiation, to put Nigeria first in putting forward their positions.
“Power sector is the most sensitive and the most important in the economy. If we get it right in the power sector, then the path to Nigeria’s economic development and prosperity and for the benefit of the people and the government will be secure.
“However, if we get it wrong, the other countries in the West Africa sub-region which got their power sector right would be selling their manufactured goods to the Nigerian market.”
In a chat with journalists after the meeting between the negotiator and the house unions, General Secretary of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Joe Ajaero said: “We are aware that the report exposed several acts of corruption ranging from uncompleted power projects to even non-execution of projects, even after monies have been paid. The contractors and politicians have gone ahead to become governors and senators, and nobody has been arrested or taken to jail ever since.”
He explained that the negotiations would be an easy one, stressing that the members of the government negotiation team were people of immense respect and experience, and they have all sincerely listened to the positions of the unions.
He added: “If indeed the government is consciously seeking a way forward to the electricity quagmire in this country, the right place to begin would be to see to the full and unhindered implementation of the Elumelu Committee report on how billions of naira meant for the power sector were squandered.”
He absolved electricity workers of blame in the rot in the system, even as he called on those concerned to be truly committed to making the sector functional.
“The workers are not contractors that have landed us all in this mess. The blame of unstable power supply should not be shifted to workers. It is obvious that if the contractors had done their jobs, Nigerians would have by now enjoyed better quality of electricity.”
On his part, the President of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, Bede Okpara, called for a permanent solution to the problem of the power sector, stressing, however, that all stakeholders must be carried along.
Author of this article: From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja
#1 2011-05-18 19:32