An alleged leakage of official documents concerning the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) at the Presidency is generating controversy after some members of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) said top government officials were plotting the reinstatement of the ousted managing director of the company.
The association said in a statement on Thursday that the former managing director, Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed, had been meeting prominent citizens to solicit for return to his former post.
“Two of such prominent people are the president of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed. We learnt with doubt that the AfDB president wrote the president tying loans to the appointment of an individual, Usman Mohammed.
“On the side of the minister (Zainab Ahmed), she was said to have agreed that the loan was needed even with an appointment tied to it. What an irrational proposition, if true,” said a statement issued by the association’s General Secretary, Umar Dubagari.
Our correspondent gathered that a section of the national level of the association is led by Chris Okonkwo, a member of the management staff of TCN whom the ousted managing director had removed from office after allegedly ending his four-year posting from the Ministry of Power to TCN.
The issue had raised tension at TCN shortly before Mohammed was summarily removed by the Minister of Power, Engineer Sale Mamman, after he got an approval from President Muhammadu Buhari through a series of correspondents from the president’s Chief of Staff.
On how the union got the information on which their statement was based, it was learnt from multiple sources that the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, had forwarded the letter of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to President Muhammadu Buhari with the attached letter of the president of AfDB to Engr. Mamman for his comment.
The documents, which were termed to be classified and awaited presidential action, may have been leaked in that process to the section of the union led by Okonkwo.
A top official in the power sector said: “The minister finding any fault with the TCN head, should have in the first instance, issued him a query or asked him to step down for a panel of enquiry as guided by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) who is empowered to issue appointment and dismissal letters to government appointees.
“The minister only acted through a press release without recourse to the SGF. As we speak, no letter has been given to the acting MD of TCN and his management team, or a dismissal letter to the ousted MD, nearly three weeks after,” the official explained. “The minister also knows that it was the federal government that had requested that Mohammed come to TCN on secondment from AfDB, and as such AfDB reserves the right to ask questions if that official on such critical assignment in Nigeria is summarily removed from office. This is also a spite on the presidency’s request for the official from the bank and the formal approval for his secondment to TCN by AfDB.”