The senate has rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Akintunde Akinwande, as the chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.
However, during plenary on Tuesday, the first for 2017, the lawmakers approved the nominees for the vice chairmanship position as well as other commissioners.
Akinwande, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT in the United States of America, did not attend the screening held by the Senate for the nominees; neither did he present himself to the Department of State Services, DSS, for security checks.
The move was interpreted as a rejection of the presidential appointment but the Presidential aide on National Assembly matters, Ita Enang, said the nominee had requested for more time in order to finalise his resignation from the MIT.
Akinwande’s rejection of Buhari’s appointment became clearer when he failed to attend the second screening session, but reportedly sent a text message to one of the members of the committee that he was uninterested in the job.
Yet, Enang persuaded the committee not to take the nominee’s absence as rejection of the appointment.
“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.
The Enyinnaya Abaribe-led committee however said it would submit its report on the screening and a final recommendation would be conveyed to the senate at plenary.
Another report has it that Akinwande turned down the NERC chairmanship appointment because he was not consulted before the announcement was made, and more so because he was not ready to leave his present work.
Akinwande was reportedly chosen to herd the NERC ahead of Supo Sasore, who was believed to be the preferred candidate of the minister of works, housing and power, Babatunde Fashola.