- The Senate committee on power, steel development and metallurgy led by Enyinnaya Abaribe was left provoked recently by the absence of a presidential nominee
- It was later learnt that Professor Akintunde Akinwande had sent a message to some members rejecting the offer
Professor Akintunde Akinwande, a nominee of President Muhammadu Buhari to chair the board of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has again rejected the offer.
NAIJ.com had reported in October that Akinwande rejected the offer as he was absent for screening by the Senate without giving the upper legislative chamber any reason. The report said Akiwande's absence put a hold on the screening.
He however denied this in a letter to the chairman of the Senate committee on power, steel development and metallurgy, Enyinnaya Abaribe, saying he was only in the process of clearing with his current employer, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, USA.
The Nigerian Tribune reports that at the resumption of the committee on Monday, November 28, the nominee, again, refused to appear for screening.
Provoked, a member of the committee, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, declared that Professor Akinwande had lost the privilege given to him to serve the nation.
The report said the nominee contacted the committee and informed its members through a text message that he was not available for the job.
Senator Hunkuyi was quoted as saying: “The nominee (Professor Akinwande) has exhausted the privilege given him by Mr President.
"He has also lost the privilege given to him by the committee by deferring the screening of the board for one month. He has finally exhausted the opportunity to serve this country."
The report further said the senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly matters (Senate), Ita Enang, tried unsuccessfully to persuade the committee not to foreclose Akiwande’s opportunity promising to make further consultations with the president.
“I do pray that the committee note that the nominee did not appear just today. Let it be a suspended matter. I will communicate with the president and get more information about him and get back,” he said.
Senator Abaribe was said to have rejected Enang's plea saying the committee’s decision would be communicated to the Senate at plenary.
Hunkuyi was said to have interjected saying: “But if somebody says I will not be able to make it, what does he imply?”
A Senator later told NAIJ.com on phone that Akinwande was not truly prepared to serve in the current government that is filled with challenges.
"It is the Nigerian government that is begging Akinwande to come serve but I think the man loves his dollar-paying job.
"Moreover, it is difficult to serve in Nigeria and not get your integrity soiled either by your actions or the actions of those around you. The power sector is filled with challenges and intriguing politics.
"So I don't blame the gentleman if he truly rejected the offer," the APC senator said.