President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominee for the position of Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Prof. Akintunde Akinwande has failed to show up for screening for the job.
This is the second time in one month that he had failed to appear for the mandatory screening by the Senate since he was nominated over two months ago.
In October, Akinwande did not turn up for screening before the committee of Power, a move that was interpreted by many in the media as a rejection of the appointment.
However, the Presidency quickly countered the ascersion that he had rejected the appointment stressing that he was unable to tidyup his paper work before the screening date.
Senior Special Assistant to the President of National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang while addressing newsmen then said that the nominee had written and asked for more time.
He said that Prof. Akinwande was then trying to formalise his resignation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT) where he is a lecturer.
But at a second screening session convened yesterday by the Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe-led committee, Akinwande was not just absent but informally told the committee that he was not available for the job.
A source in the committee disclosed that Akinwande sent a text message to a member of the committee that he was not interested in the job.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Solomon Ita Enang, tried to persuade the committee not to interprete Akiwande’s absence to mean that he had declined the President’s nomination.
“I would want to plead to the committee that the nominee was simply absent. I will communicate with the President and get more information about him and get back” he said
This remark was quickly rebuffed by members of the committee who openly declared that they had tried enough and would not be ready to reconvene a third screening session for Akinwande.
At this point, a member of the committee, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi (APC, North) threw a question to Ita Enang.
“But if somebody says I will not be able to make it, what does he imply?” Hunkuyi asked. Enang however was unable to respond to the question.
The committee further stated that it would submit its report on the NERC screening in which a final decision on Akinwande would be communicated to the Senat at plenary.
It was further learnt that Akinwande turned down the nomination “because he was not consulted before the nomination was made and was not ready to leave his present businesses to take up the job.’’
The source, who noted that Akinwande was doing a project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, said: “We also learned that enough consultation was not made before the man was nominated.”
According to the source, Akinwande also failed to present himself to the Department of State Services, DSS, for security checks.