Nigeria: My Invectives Were Not Targeted at Fashola - Power Minister

The Ministry of Power has yet again reacted to the reactions of many Nigerians on the different controversies rocking the ministry in the past week.

The ministry in a Wednesday press statement signed by Aaron Artimas, Special Adviser on Media and Communications to the minister of power, said the minister did not condemn his predecessor in office, Babatunde Fashola.

Mr Fashola served as Minister of Power, Works and Housing between 2015 and 2019. He was succeeded by Sale Mamman, the current minister.

PREMIUM TIMES reported the various controversies rocking different agencies—NBET and REA—in the ministry in recent weeks.

This newspaper also reported how Nigerians on Monday attacked the ministry over its reactions to controversial appointments made in different agencies under the supervision of the ministry.

Twitter users launched attacks on the minister after a press statement reacting to reports of the controversial appointments made by the minister described many Nigerians as “wailers”.

Controversial Statement

The press statement, signed by Mr Artimas, also accused officials affected by the minister’s decision as people who “are not susceptible to relinquishing public office even after exhausting their welcome or in the face of apparent failure to perform.”

Mr Artimas also argued that the decisions were taken by the minister because, despite the huge resources President Muhammadu Buhari “poured” into the power ministry for over four years, there has been no tangible result. He attributed the failure to the “poor performance” of the officials affected by the minister’s new decision, calling on Nigerians to ask question on why there has been no improvement in the sector.

The ministry also accused a “cabal” using some “faceless groups in Lagos” of attempts to undermine the efforts of the new minister.

“As early as November last year, this cabal began to sponsor insidious reports using some faceless groups in Lagos, claiming that the ministry of power was failing under the new minister,” the statement said.

“It is the same “untouchables” who want to perpetuate themselves in power that are now resisting any form of re-organisation meant to reposition the ministry for optimum performance. The ministry should not be tied down by individuals whose only concern is the retention of power at the expense of service delivery.”

The ministry said the same “cabal” which accused the minister of poor co-ordination of the ministry now condemns it for re-organising the different agencies, adding that it would not focus on removal or appointment of officials but the mandate to deliver power to Nigerians.

“The minister should not be distracted by the detestable and nauseating appeal to sentiment at the expense of the need for genuine change in the power sector in line with the next level agenda of president Muhammadu Buhari,” the statement added.

Many Nigerians viewed the ministry’s reaction and its reference to “Lagos” groups as an indirect attack on the legacy of Mr Fashola and other officials who worked under him in the power ministry during the first four years of the Buhari Presidency. Others condemned the ministry for its use of “harsh and vulgar” languages against critics.

Mr Fashola hails from Lagos and governed the state for eight years between 2007 and 2015.

Ministry Backtracks

But in the press statement issued on Tuesday, the ministry of power debunked insinuations that the invectives were directed at Mr Fashola.

“Our attention has been drawn to a news report alleging the Hon. Minister of Power, Eng. Sale Mamman had condemned His Excellency, Babatunde Raji Fashola’s previous tenure as minister of power,” the statement said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The ministry claimed that, on the contrary, the power minister holds Mr Fashola in high esteem “as one of the most celebrated public servants in the country.”

“We hereby appeal to Nigerians to discountenance such mischievous insinuations, clearly meant to create unnecessary friction between two serving ministers of the government,” the statement concluded.

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