By Adebayo Rasheed Mabayoje
While wishing him success, the advice is needful that the new Minister of Power should read the unwritten book- “Bola Ige and the power-that-be in the Power Ministry”. While nobody can find any book of this title on any shelf because it’s my coinage, the title is philosophical and passes the message that BRF must learn from the ate Chief James Ajibola Idowu Adegoke Ige, SAN.
I learnt that our own “Uncle Bola Ige”, as he was popularly called, personally chosed to administer the Power Ministry during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime. He had determination, vigour and passion. He believed he could turn things around within months, and “let there be light”. But there was no light. Up till now, there has never been stable light in Nigeria! So what suddenly happened that Ige’s dream got busted and evaporated so that some cabal rejoiced. What happened is in that ‘book of the past’ that BRF should master.
Like Bola Ige, like BRF?
Like Ige, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fasola, SAN, is brilliant and has vigour too. That he unprecedentedly has to oversee three ministries is, however, attention catching. I don’t really envy this trinity minister, though I vehemently pray for his sounding success.
What?! Three-in-one minister! The Power Ministry is powerful. There are lots of work to be carried out in the Works Ministry, just as a lot of strategies must be housed for implementation of good ideas that would bring success in the Housing Ministry. No. I don’t envy the former Lagos State governor.
No doubt, all the ministries are very important. However, apart from the Ministry of Petroleum, no other ministry has ever gotten as much funding as the powerful Ministry of Power. For example, a whopping sum of N2.74 trillion has so far been spent in attempts to improve power supply in Nigeria since 1999 to date. This fact was disclosed during the Senate Committee investigation of investments in the power sector in the 16 years of the PDP rule in Nigeria.
On his assumption of office, the late Bola Ige expectedly tried to examine previous activities of the Power Ministry in order to know from where to take off in relation to the plans of the ministry and yearnings of Nigerians. To some block within the sector, it was like “katakata wan bust”, “there are troubles in the offing!”
BRF, I presume, would know that corruption is much hydraheaded in the power sector. He must take cognisance of that. Hence, it is not out of place to state that power is crucial for the revival of Nigeria.
BRF must talk less. He must not be a “noise maker” minister. While studying previous files, he would discover how almost N3 trillion had been wasted on power under PDP administration. No doubt, he would have to ask some individuals some questions, not probe, but there must be light in the homes of Nigerians. Whether this would translate to somebody sleeping behind bars is no big deal. Welders must get electricity to fabricate.
Small, medium and large industries must run on power that is not generated through diesel and petrol bought through the nose.
Whatever BRF has to do, he must develop the capacity to detect possible mines that could have been planted by some carbal in the sector, just as he must develop and maintain deep cordiality with Mustapha Baba Shehuri, the Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing. The cabal in the power sector, especially, must not come between them. BRF must ensure that another Yoruba Senior Advocate of Nigeria must not “fail” and later got redeployed to become the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.