Energy Central News

Curated power industry news from thousands of top sources.


Nigeria's power sector can witness positive turnaround under Tinubu if…-Mamman, ex-TCN GM

  • Sep 5, 2023
Nigerian Tribune

Paul Mamman, a retired General Manager, Administration and Corporate with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in this interview with NURUDEEN ALIMI speaks on what the administration of President Bola Tinubu should do to address issues in the power sector and the expectation of the masses:

AS an insider in the power sector, what do you think are the problems facing the sector and how do you think the president can tackle them?

One of the major problems facing the sector is obsolete equipment. We have been dealing with equipment that were installed since the days of Niger Dam Authority, during the era of the Sardauna [Sir Ahmadu Bello], that equipment is still in place, we need to replace them. Fortunately, the private sector, has keyed in into the power sector we are going to see that gigantic changes will come in as they are expected to invest resources into the sector and we will be able to change our equipment, we will string our lines, we will construct more lines and install more transformers. We will also take care of the staff that are doing the job. So when these things are done, we are going to have improved power. During the privatisation exercise by the past administration, a lot of mistakes were made because some of those that bought the utilities didn't have the capacity and the financial wherewithal. They took over the utilities without knowing what they were supposed to do. But the generating stations are trying. However, but if we want to boost generation, we should construct more hydro stations, we are to introduce renewable power utilities, we are also going to use our gas resources. We have installed generation capacity of about 15,000 megawatts but we are hovering between 4,000 and 5,000 megawatts. Once we are able to strengthen generation, then the government needs to pay serious attention to transmission, they are supposed to expand the grid so that we can have more power to the consumers. The present management of TCN has tried, as it has introduced programmes that will aid expansion of the system, they are building more lines, where there are single circuit before, they are now doubling them. However, the major problem we are having is with the distribution companies, when energy that is generated is sent to the distribution companies, they would not pick it because they don't want to be charged for the power because they felt the end users would not pay for it, they would only pick the one they can send to where the consumers would pay. The transmission company is having power but the distribution is not ready to take it, the government doesn't want it that way they should be able to know how to collect their money. That is why the issue of metering comes in but the discos prefer to be doing estimated billing, they must meter every house in the country.

Talking about the power sector, the president appointed a financial guru as minister, do you call this a round peg in a round hole?

A ministerial position is an administrative position; most people think you have to be an engineer before you can man the power sector, I don't believe that, because the most important thing is that you as the head know the right time to take decisions. Taking the right decision at the right time is what a minister supposed to do and he would surround himself with professionals in that area to guide him, they are abundant in the sector, people that are engineers that will bring in experiences on the table because he already has qualifications, he already has a name. The minister is going to take the best decision for the development of the sector, he doesn't necessarily need to be an engineer to perform in the power sector. When I was in service there was a managing director in Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) who was an accountant and he did very well. so an accountant can do what an engineer can do especially when you are the head, it is just for you to have qualitative advice to work with.

What is your take on the cabinet formed by the president?

The president has assembled men and women that have the capacity to achieve. He knows how to put people in positions and when he puts you in positions he doesn't stop at that, he has a way of monitoring everybody's performance which is a very big advantage. Looking at the quality of the people he has put into positions now, they are people that are competent and that are qualified in their own right, I don't see any misfit among the ministers. Most of them have already hit the ground running. The minister of works has already started working, I saw him in Lagos and I know he is going to achieve. The minister of the FCT has also hit the ground running. The minister of power has identified the problems and he is going to unveil his plans very soon.

What are the areas that you want the present government to focus on to alleviate the suffering of the people?

The first is infrastructure, particularly in the area of power supply because if we are able solve the problem of power, over 50 percent of our problems would have been solved. Then the government should also ensure food security. So that there would be less crimes. Government should also improve on the road networks across the country and I think that is why the president deploys Dave Umahi to the ministry because of his antecedents in Ebonyi State, if we fix power and road, we will be able to fix the economy.

Despite the pains being experienced by Nigerians, how do you want to encourage them to continue to support the Tinubu administration?

The president has said he feels our pains and he knows what to do and he has been doing them, although it will take time, there can't be any miracle, it cannot be overnight, it will be gradual, but there will be light at the end of the tunnel, Tinubu is somebody we can trust. Nigerians just need to exercise little patient. When we get our refineries working as being expected, the price of fuel would come down and it would affect all other things as it would make our naira to appreciate over the dollar then we are on the road to recovery, with floating of naira and the basic economic policies on the ground now, the naira would soon find its balance and compete favourably with the dollar.

Now, three months after assuming office, what is your impression about the direction of the country?

I have no doubt that this man is going to succeed. The last three months of Tinubu presidency have been very eventful. He has taken decisions that no president has been able to take because everyone was afraid that there would be uprising but these decisions have to be taken for this country to survive. I agree that people are in a little bit of hardship, it has to come like that because every change has some hardship but in the end there would be benefit. The fuel subsidy removal has pains but it will have gains at the end of the day and the gains outweigh the pains that we are temporarily facing. We would all forget the pains when the fruits of the sacrifices we are making now come to bear. We will be thanking Tinubu for taking that decision because delay is dangerous, it is better we take that decision than not taking it.

Why did you choose politics after spending 35 years in the power sector of the country?

I ventured into politics because I still felt that I have a lot to offer this country. As a civil servant you acquire a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience, you now know how to solve problems because we were taught to solve problems on the job. I was a professional human resource manager, so I can look at human beings and begin to identify their problems and proffer solutions. I felt I have solutions to some of these nagging problems that are facing the country, most especially having worked in the electricity industry for 35 years, and have seen the problems in the sector, I have managed and supervised the staff, offered discipline where they err, we know what every manager of the electricity industry supposed to do to achieve maximum result.

What was your level of involvement in the emergence of President Tinubu?

As a staunch member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), I was also a front member of one of the support groups that worked for the emergence of President Bola Tinubu. We had a support group called the national APC Support Centre, we later put our heads together and strengthened the organisation following which I became the national organising secretary and as such, we constituted coordinators for that group in the 36 states of the federation. We chose local government and wards coordinators and during the period, I went round to campaign for the presidential candidate of our party. I was at the Jos convention, where Tinubu emerged, we were in Minna, Nasarawa, Port Harcourt, Lagos and so on during the campaign. I have been studying Tinubu since his pro-democracy and NADECO struggle day when he was in the trenches, the sacrifices he made, being incarcerated by the military and how he escaped into exile and his commitment into people comfortable, none of the presidential candidates fought for democracy like Tinubu. When he became Lagos governor, he was a reference point because Lagos became a centre of excellence. One other very important attribute of that man is making people. Nobody in this country make others like Tinubu , can Atiku or Obi pinpoint their product all over the country like Tinubu.


No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network® is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »