By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA- Contrary to reports in some quarters that he had rejected his recent appointment as Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Professor Akintunde Ibitayo Akinwande has said he is game for the top job.
Akinwande who is currently an employee of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States said he would still honour the invitation for screening by the Nigerian Senate the moment he secured permission from his employers.
In a letter, dated 26th October, 2016, addressed to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, sent through the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Sen. Ita Enang, Akinwande said he did not turn down the offer by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science explained that:
‘‘News reports in Nigeria that I have rejected President Buhari’s nomination to be Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission have been brought to my attention.
“I have the greatest respect for President Buhari. I am fully behind the change he has brought and is bringing to the way Government business is conducted in Nigeria.
‘‘I am deeply honored that Mr. President and his team thought me worthy for this important national assignment and sought me out for it.
“I am a tenured professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“As such I am contractually constrained to seek formally the consent of the university for a leave of absence before presenting myself to the Senate for screening and if confirmed take on the assignment.’’
Akinwande apologized to the Senate Committee for not showing up for the screening process scheduled for Tuesday, October 25, 2017, noting that it was not out of disrespect for the institution.
The academic said he would be available for the screening after clearance from the MIT.