Buhari nominates Momoh as Akinwande rejects NERC job
Several months after the refusal of engineering Professor Akintunde Akinwande to return to Nigeria to appear before the Senate as nominee for the chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), President Muhammadu Buhari has this Friday announced a replacement. He is now to be replaced by James Momoh, a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu who made the announcement Friday stated that James Momoh, a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and Director of Energy Services and Controls at Howard University, United States of America, had been nominated for the plum job.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had transmitted Akinwande’s name to the senate, but he failed to appear before the upper legislative chamber for screening on two separate occasions; a development that forced the lawmakers to ask the president to nominate another person.
Prof. Akintunde Ibitayo Akinwande, who was nominated for the Chairmanship of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in July 2016 appeared not to have been interested in the job even though he had made statements to the contrary.
Last October he stated that he would honour an invitation for screening by the Nigerian Senate after obtaining clearance from his current employer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), U S A.
In a letter, dated 26th October, 2016, 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, Prof. 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.’’
Prof. Akinwande then 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.