A non governmental organization (NGO), Oriental Renaissance Group (ORG), has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to check what it calls the excesses of Vice President Namadi Sambo in the ongoing privatization of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, one of the firms created out of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
In a statement in Enugu today signed by the group’s president, Professor Richard Enendu, and secretary, Comrade Raymond Iloh, the NGO said the vice president has “been not left anyone in doubt about his determination to hand over the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company to a consortium which has neither the financial resources nor the technical expertise to run a critical facility like the Enugu firm which is the only supplier of electricity to the Southeast geopolitical zone and environs like the Anioma part of Delta State.
“As has now been demonstrated abundantly, Interstate consortium has failed all the technical and commercial requirements, yet the National Council of privatization (NCP) headed by Vice President Sambo is ever enthusiastic to rig it in at every stage right from the time it was submitting bids .
“Last Wednesday, Interstate showed the whole world that it does not have the capacity to pay the outstanding 75% of the $126m bid prize for the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company by being the only group out of the 15 preferred bidders which could not pay the bid price of the PHCN asset it has been asked to pay.
“Like most Nigerians, we are convinced that the secret memo which the director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) wrote to the NCP asking for a 20-day extension for Interstate to pay for the reserved bid price was at the instance of the vice president who, from the look of things, may not mind discrediting the integrity of the entire process in order to favour his friend and business associate, Mr Emeka Offor, the controversial government contractor who is the major Interstate promoter.
“Sambo’s unflinching commitment to the acquisition of the Enugu electricity firm by Interstate, it has been discovered, has less to do with the vice president’s personal relationship with Offor than with his personal desire to ruin Igboland and turn it into what the great Professor Chinua Achebe would call .a lawless and bankrupt fiefdom.
“The Southeast already has the worst electricity infrastructure in the country, according to erstwhile Power Minister Segun Agagu, and to hand it over to a group led by Emeka Offor is equivalent to a death sentence. This development will finally bring the Southeast to its knees.
“The consortium does not have the humungous financial outlay to invest in the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, which, like any other PHCN asset, is in a technical and financial mess.
“Not only has Interstate displayed technical ineptitude and financial aridity in recent times, it has also exhibited gross indiscipline and lack of seriousness.
“While 12 other bidders made full payments as of 5pm last Wednesday and two others made frantic efforts to pay, all Interstate presented to the BPE was a non committing paper from Afrexim Bank in Egypt which regards Offor as “a highly politically exposed person”..
“Yet, the BPE DG has secretly made a case that Interstate be rewarded.
“Acts like this above undermine the integrity of the privatization process and international investor confidence in Nigeria.
“The whole nation is shocked that the attempt to subvert the power privatization effort is coming just a few weeks after the bid by Notore, the company impressively running Nigeria’s largest fertilizer firm at Onne in the Rivers State, for one of the 10 National Integrated Power Projects was disqualified for coming 30minutes late.
“On July 13, 2012, the same BPE rejected bids by the Dangote Group and Rockson Engineering for PHCN generation companies because they were 5 minutes late.
“To restore confidence in the privatization process and to reassure the people and governments of the Southeast that this administration is not out to ruin their future by handing over the Enugu electricity to Offor at all costs, President Jonathan is hereby called upon to call Vice Namadi Sambo to order. Let the vice president abide by rules of the game”.