By Victor Ahiuma-Young
National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and its Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) counterpart, have threatened to embark onÂ nationwide industrial action over alleged moves by the Federal Government to inaugurate separate boards for the successor companies in Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
This is coming even as the workers said the government was looking for excuse for perceived evidenceÂ of failure to provide 6000 megawatts to the nation as promised.
In a joint directive to members across the country, the unions said: â€œInformation at our disposal indicates a planned action by government to inaugurate separate boards for the successor companies in PHCN contrary to a signed tripartite agreement between the Federal Ministry of Power, Power Holding Company of Nigeria and the two in-house unions.
â€œWe hereby reiterate that this will not add any value to service delivery in the industry but will amount to economic waste. This resuscitated move is, therefore, unacceptable to us. It is rather a move to provoke the workers to react to enable the Power ministry and their masters manufacture an alibi for non realisation of the 6000megawatts target.
â€œWe, therefore, resolve to resist any subterraneous move to sacrifice the interest of Nigerians at the alter of politics. Huge debt in form of monetisation arrears, cash in lieu of hotel accommodation, driversâ€™ efficiency bonus, souvenir, long service awards etc arc still unpaid yet they are planning to lavish our hard-earned fund to settle political cronies.
â€œTo this effect, should Government go ahead to inaugurate these boards, members nationwide are hereby directed to disallow the so-called Board members from entering any PHCN location. Their offices should remain at the point of their inauguration.â€
Also, the two union noted that â€œThe Federal Government through the Ministry of Power as part of its efforts to cover up inadequacies in the provision of the promised 6000MW has orchestrated plans to provoke PHCN Unions and workers in order to manufacture an alibi for their inadequacy to deliver on her promise in Generation, Transmission and Distribution of 6000MW electricity come December, 2009.
Now that it has glaringly dawned on Federal Government that their one-sided uncoordinated plan of realizing 6000 megawatts by December, 2009 has become a mirage. A new plan has been hatched by the Ministry of Power to hinge this inevitable failure on the workers by provoking them into reactions. We challenge the Power Ministry to point at any project completed on the platform of the hard-earned revenue of this country. Nigerians now know better where the substantial portion of the much publicized fund released to revamp the Power Sector is going to. Yet, it has been mere propaganda all this while.â€
â€œWe are amazed to the marrow that the Government, knowing the importance of electricity to the socio-economic development of this country, can sacrifice this essential provision for political expediency. Kepco claimed to have bought the largest Thermal Station of PHCN located at Egbin in Ijede, Lagos with installed capacity of 1320megawatts. We are miffed at this because there was no transparent bidding process. Kepco never bidded for such but, was allocated Egbin Thermal Station to satisfy the economic gullibility of political God fathers.
What a flawed process! The same Kepco Director is the God father of the Power Ministry and a PHCN board member whose business interest cannot be reconciled with his assignment in PHCN. The KEPCO Directorâ€™s interest is to primarily ensure the disintegration of PHCN for his business exploits not minding the adverse effect this would have on over one hundred and forty million Nigerians and the economy.
What a clash of interes. Nigerians are therefore enjoined to hold Federal Government accountable for woes of this sector as workers will not sit by, and watch the sector collapse. Workers will definitely and continuously exercise their inalienable right to protect their future, and work for the good of this nation.