Power: Enough of Sponsored Campaign Against Adelabu – CSO

A Civil Society organisation, Peoples Right Agenda (PRA) has condemned the incessant sponsored attacks on the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu and his effort to make a difference in the Nigeria power sector. It described the media assaults as sponsored.

In a statement made available to newsmen at the weekend, PRA said the attacks were sponsored by different stakeholders who desire the status quo to continue and political detractors who see nothing good in what the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is doing to make Nigeria a country that we would be proud of. These sponsored media campaigns have continued to be a major distraction towards ensuring stable electricity in the country in spite of the efforts of the Minister to make a difference in the entire Power sector value chain.

The statement which was signed by PRA’s National Coordinator, Tunde Olaoshebikan and Secretary, Isaac Olatona said Nigeria’s Power problem did not start today but with what has been put in place by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration in the Renewed Hope Agenda and what the Minister has done so far, Nigeria’s power situation will change.

“Since the day of ECN (Electricity Company of Nigeria), NEPA ( National Electricity Power of Nigeria), PHCN (Power Holding Company of Nigeria), Nigeria has had over 40 Ministers of Power, the total megawatts to the National grid has not significantly improved. The highest the country had ever pushed out was around 4000 megawatts except about two years ago when 5800 megawatts was wheeled to the grid, and this was a one-off situation. We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect a different result. Adelabu has come in as a Minister of Power who desires to do things differently and this is what those who do not want the country to enjoy stable electricity are not happy about. We know the attacks are sponsored because these people want the status quo to continue. Among all the Ministers in the cabinet, he is the only one that those behind these campaigns have singled out for re-deployment out of all the Ministers appointed by the president, some of who we barely know existed.

“We know there are cabals in the industry who want it to be business as usual, but they will not succeed , Nigeria will thrive under this administration”.

The Civil Society Organisation also noted that from its findings, the sponsorship of these negative media campaigns against the power sector and by extension the present administration have political undertone. “Apart from those who are unhappy with the reforms going on in the sector, a lot of political undertones have also been observed that clearly shows the campaign of calumny is sponsored even from within the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some opposition elements in the Minister’s home State of Oyo.

“Some of the reports either make reference to Adelabu’s governorship ambition which has no relevance in today’s situation. The Minister is barely a year in office while President Tinubu’s administration of four years is yet to spend a year of its four-year tenure, so making reference to a governorship ambition at this period is being cheeky and deliberate to portray the Minister in bad light and possibly de-market him before 2027. This should stop in order to enable him concentrate on the job at hand. We are also aware of the cabals who believe the Ministry of Power is their birth right and wants it back at all cost in order to continue their entrenched negative practices which has brought us to this state. The president is too astute to fall for such cheap blackmail. Adelabu’s track record as an achiever speaks for him and the president is aware of this and he has his reasons for putting him in that Ministry”.

We also have questions for those calling for Adelabu’s removal. Has anyone asked if one naira has been paid from the sector debt overhang that Adelabu raised? Has anybody asked If money has been made available to complete the over 120 unfinished projects at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN)? What has been done to the frequent vandalisation of the National Grid by the Security Operatives leading to Grid collapse? Did Adelabu midwife the Privatisation process that gave licenses to weak and financially troubled companies? What has been done to the inadequate gas supply to the Power Generating companies causing shortfall in generation? Are all these caused by the Minister? Will changing the Minister resolve all these issues overnight?”

Not only that, PRA also noted that in the history of the sector, no Minister has displayed a full understanding of the sectorial issues and proffered workable solutions like Adelabu did. Any one in doubt should go and listen to his interviews and speeches”.

Olaoshebikan and Olatona also revealed that information at their disposal does not indicate there is any cabinet reshuffle for now given the fact that there has not been a single Capital release for any ministry to execute its plan for 2024. “ So, it will be tough to even measure any Minister’s performance, except from policy thrust point of view and not actual implementation”.

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