INDICATION emerged yesterday that another nominee of President Muhammadu Buhari for the position of chairman of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Professor Akintunde Akinwande may have rejected his nomination. Akinwande, who was to be screened along with six other nominees for membership of the commission, failed to show up for the screening session organised by the Senate Committee on Power without any communications on his absence, which led to call-off of the session. It was gathered that the nominee also failed to avail himself to the Department of State Services, DSS, for security checks which other nominees had undergone. Efforts by the senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, to persuade the committee to screen other nominees who turned up for the screening was rebuffed, as chairman of the committee, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe declared that the failure of the presidency to inform the Senate about the reasons for the absence of the nominee amounted to disrespect. It was later learnt that Akinwande turned down the nomination because he was not consulted before the nomination was made. A sources within the committee informed that they learnt that Akinwande was doing a project at the United States of America-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT. “We also learnt that enough consultation was not made before the man was nominated. We were informed that the nominee may have turned down his nomination,” said the source. Fielding questions from journalists over the development, Abaribe said there was no way the screening could go on in the absence of the chairman-designate. He added that the inauguration of the board of NERC was key to solving the problems of the sector. “Regrettably, when members of the committee assembled to screen the nominees made by President Buhari, we were told that the chairman- designate was unavoidably absent. The presidential liaison who brought the nominees informed us that the chairman was unavoidably absent. “There was no way the committee could go on with the screening without the chairman designate. Since the nomination was made over three months ago, the Presidency should have known whether the chairman designate would attend the screening or not,” he said, adding that the commission is vital and could not function without a chairman and “we cannot screen them until we have a formal communication from the Presidency.” Names of the other nominees for the board included Sanusi Garuba (vice chairman), Nathan R. Shatti (commissioner), Dr. Moses Arigu (commissioner), Dafe C. Akpeneye (commissioner), Prof. Frank Okafor (commissioner) and Musiliu O. Oseni (commissioner). It would be recalled that two out of the 48 non-career ambassadorial nominees sent to the Senate for confirmation rejected their nominations. They are Pauline Tallen from Plateau State and Usman Bugaje from Katsina State, aside Senator Osita Izinaso who rejected his appointment into the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, early this month.
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