Prof. Chinedu Nebo: The Minister for Power with a Difference

There are no longer sorry statements in the power sector since Monday
February 4 2013, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria,
Nsukka (UNN), Professor Chinedu Osita Nebo, was named as the Minister for
Power, after Prof. Barth Nnaji resigned from office in August 2012.

Professor Nebo has been taking the advantage of this unique opportunity in
Nigeria’s history to enact serious vestibule reforms. His attitude to work
shows that Professor Nebo knew before he mounted the saddle that he owed
it to the Nigerian citizens in whose interest he was sent to the ministry
to root out dishonesty.

One sentence would describe who Prof. Nebo is: He is a man who had reformed
himself before coming to reform the public. His track-records at the
universities he once chaired, speak for him. He is a man without hordes of
noise and impotent gaits, but a man with hordes of project and potent
gaits. It is only a principled and truthful man like the Minister of Power
that can be influential with the truth and tell Nigerians about the number
of Nigerians who had no-access to electricity through the public power
supply system.

Prof. Nebo wasn’t quick to affirm in June that about 120million Nigerians
are suffering this electricity deprivation out of the 160million
population. He has made Nigerians to understand how attractive the power
sector is for investors to invest their money in and would not regret the
idea. He has aplomb ways to building a better Ministry of Power by
civilizing the lots of investors for the enhancement of the individuals.

Professor Nebo, without doubt, is working for the improvement of Nigeria
through the power sector. His confidence that the privatisation of the
power sector would be a success is one hope that he has given to Nigerians
without restraint. Invariably, this would help the about 120million
Nigerians who had no access to electricity to be emancipated and make
Nigerians not to think if imperialism is still a practice of today.

The reforms ongoing in the power sector under Prof. Nebo are huge
successes. Revitalisation of rural electrification board and reactivation
of the Mambilla and Zungeru hydro-electric projects, are not left out.
Unlike the many deadlocked deadlines to end power irregularities in Nigeria
in which the proponents did not bath an eyelid, Prof. Nebo in his charisma
and with regards to the intensification of the privatisation process, saw
the menace in power distribution in the country as nightmare and geared up
to arrest the situation and increasing the generation of power from 2,500
Megawatt to over 4,000 Megawatt.

The minister is not sleeping in his oars in making sure that the power
sector is improved upon, not being weighed down by some catastrophes that
have been visiting the ministry’s facilities. In Bayelsa alone, rainstorm
obliterated transmission networks, which was estimated would take a month,
as of in June, to fix. But the professor had a nomenclature that the
problem was to be handled within 10 days. Pipeline vandals are also not
allowing the reforms in this sector.

In August, Prof. Nebo said that about 1,600 Mega Watts (MWs) of electricity
have been lost to gas pipeline vandalism. He made this disclosure at the
end of the joint meeting of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC)
and the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), emphasizing that out of
the 1,600 MWs plunge in power, about 460 MWs decrease was caused by low
level of water in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba dams. The irony of the
destructions, according to the minister: Is sheer madness, or may be
essentially politically motivated, just to cause damage to the entire
country and to Nigerians. It is important to note that with regards to the
busting of gas pipelines and vandalism of the pipelines that bring gas,
there isn’t any significant commercial value behind the action.

In March, the Federal Government had empowered the Nigerian Bulk
Electricity Trader with the sum of $1billion. This was made known by the
minister of power, while receiving a delegation of USAID in Abuja.
Conversely, this empowerment, according to Prof. Nebo, was approved in form
of bond. Upon the hand of the unknown enemy in shattering the efforts of
Prof. Nebo at the power ministry, he continues to soldier on with the
unflinching aid of the FG.

At a meeting of the Presidential Action Committee on Power (PACP), chaired
by President Goodluck Jonathan in August, Prof. Nebo said the round-tabled
issues was contiguous on mounting the broadcast network, so as to guarantee
that there is plenty willing aptitude to all the power generating plants
for the advantage of Nigerians. With-reference-to a $1.6 billion, which was
delegated for the development of power transmission facilities in the
country, Prof. Nebo revealed that the fund was made up of loans expected
from the World Bank, African Development Bank, Euro Bond Issue and the
Chinese Exim Bank.

Prof. Nebo and his ministry on August 27 had the intention to unveil the
spreading-out plans of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), but for
the absence of the TCN’s chairman – Hamman Tukur. But that did not deter
the hardworking minister who described the launch as critical natured and
expected all the TCN stakeholders who were at the August 27 aborted meeting
to witness the expansion plans on August 28.

Barely two months after Prof. Nebo’s appointment, precisely April, had
power sector gas debt reduced to N20b, from its estimated N30 billion in
2012. It was at the Nigeria Economic Summit Group forum in Abuja, where
this disclosure was made. The Minister of Power has been showing to
Nigerians that he has transparent ways in establishing a lively system even
in a flawed systems such that operate in Nigeria, where poor maintenance
habit, vandalism, sabotage and poor funding and many more shortfalls have
become the trend.

The promise he made when he was but Minister-designate is felt today. Prof.
Nebo had said on January 23, after Senate confirmed President Jonathan’s
nomination of him, as minister representing Enugu State in the Federal
Executive Council (FEC). Prof. Nebo, during the screening, vowed to tackle
any mafia in the power sector tumbling, and clean up any perceived banana
peels in the sector. Inter alia, the much notable part of Prof. Nebo is
that he is not economical with truth. Many personalities have attested to

In a story of September 15, 2013, titled, “Current steady power supply in
Awka has changed our lives – UNIZIK VC”, Prof. Boniface Egboka, the Vice
Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik) Awka, and Chief Ndubuisi
Nwobu, President of Awka Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and
Agriculture (ACCIMA) told newsmen in different interviews that electricity
supply in Awka, Anambra State capital, has improved extraordinarily.

The testimony about the power sector under Prof. Nebo as such: life is
better, people are happier. We have more power source all the day round,
day and night. This has a lot of impact on security, because the lights are
on, the streetlights are on. It has a very serious impact on research and
productivity because people can now stay late hours, work on Saturdays and
Sundays. Lecturers and students can also benefit. We used to spend a lot of
money on diesel and we are going to cut down a lot on that…

But it is not only the cost in terms of money, but cost in terms of the
environment, because when you burn all these fuels in the generators, you
release a lot of noxious gases into the environment. These include carbon
monoxide, hydrogen sulphide ammonia and so on. All th

ese are not healthy
for not just the environment but the human beings and animals. All these
small scale industrialists, those who rely on generators for their small
scale industries and other small scale entrepreneurial activities, the
impacts are on them. Around the university and beyond, the current steady
power supply has changed their lives. So, it has very wide-ranging

It is our prayers for Prof. Nebo that power situation in Nigeria have to be
improved upon more than we have seen. People from all walks of life have a
need for constructive recommendations to the minister on how he can help
the ministry to grow. Unqualified personnel (brain-wise) handling any
portfolio in the ministry should be showed the exit door. Government, apart
from been said was adequately prepared to assist the power sector, there
should be policies that would create sustenance possibilities in the
ministry. Selling the power sector to different companies does not give
hope to the reality of steady power supply. Government has to always go to
drawing board to look for ways to regulate the companies so that the
desired result would be achieved. Severe laws have to be put in place
against those vandals to enable understanding among some Nigerians who are
bent on sabotaging government’s efforts, in order for the country to be
like the Republic of Ghana in having stable power supply.

Written by
Odimegwu Onwumere
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