By Henry Umoru – Abuja
The Senate Committee on Power has dismissed a petition against a commissioner-nominee of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Yusuf Ali (North Central) on grounds of lack of merit.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Gabriel Suswam stated this during the screening of four nominees as Commissioners for NERC held on Monday in Abuja.
While screening the 30-year old Kwara nominee who is a PhD holder, Suswam said “there is a petition against you.
“The petition says you are not from Kwara. And so as a senator from north central, I am very worried that you are nominated to represent north-central, the people that know said you are not from north central.
“You seem to be highly educated as a young man. You have a PhD under 30 years from Cambridge University, one of the best universities.
“You have a distinction in nuclear energy from the same university; you also have a first class in electrical-electronic engineering first class in Manchester University.
“Qualification wise we should have just asked you to take a bow and go.
“But we are here beyond qualification. The Constitution says regarding conduct, so we now question you a little bit based on qualification.”
The Senate had on Feb. 9, forwarded President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the confirmation of the four nominees as commissioners for the commission to the Committee on Power.
Responding, Ali who disclosed that he is an indigene of the state, said, “Indeed my father is from Osun, Ife South Local Government Area. My family immigrated to Kwara in 1983. I and my siblings were all born in Kwara. We have lived there all through our lives.
“In 1999, the process to make us indigenes of Kwara commenced and we have the documentation in the file attached. That was granted in 2002.
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“All my public records in terms of the 2006 Census, my driver licence, my NIN, my PVC all have me been from Kwara,” he noted.
Contributing, Vice Chairman of the Committee Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe said “we are seeing here a document from Ilorin West Local Government, confirmation of Kwara indigene. It was dated Sept. 2002. In order words, you didn’t envisage that you were going to face the Senate when this was done.
“I don’t think we should waste time over where he comes from, he is from Ilorin West,” Abaribe said.
In his ruling, Suswam said “we want Nigerians to know that the Constitution gives Nigerians the latitude…
“As a Senate that represents the people, I don’t think we will support such a petition because the young man who is 30 who does not know any other place other than where he was born, is from that place.
“I don’t know why we have become so conscientious about where someone comes from. What matters is the content you have and how well you can represent this country.
“As far as we are concerned, that is a very frivolous petition and we hereby dismiss the petition on ground of lack of merit.”
Other nominees are Mr Chidi Ike (South East), Mr Nathan Shatti (North East) and Mr Dafe Akpeneye (South-South).
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