The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, last month inaugurated Prof. James Momoh, as the third substantive Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
Speaking shortly after the oath of office was administered on Momoh by the Director of Legal Services in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Adetutu Shotan, the Minister said: “It is easy for people criticise what is wrong. It is easy to criticise than to fix what is wrong and that is the choice Prof Momoh has made.”
“I heard him in concluding the oath saying, “so help me God,” but I will also help him to add so help me myself.”
He added, privatisation of the power sector has limited the role of the ministry to policy directives and has considerably cut down the manpower in the ministry, with the regulator having an essential role to play in the power sector.
“The new owners of the assets in the power sector have responsibilities to generate and distribute electricity. These new owners of electricity distribution companies and other operators are subject to the regulatory authority of NERC.”
Commending the efforts of other Commissioners, who were inaugurated on February 7, 2017, Fashola said that their collaborative efforts have brought about some creative regulations such as the Mini Grid and Meter Asset Providers Regulations which are bearing some positive testimonies. Read more: NERC releases electricity meter regulation
“Sadly however, I will tell you to do more. You will need to do more in terms of visibility. There is a lot of enlightenment to be done about customer complaints, location of your Forum Offices and customer relations. I will remain open for any necessary assistance,” the Minister concluded.
In his response, Momoh, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science with Howard University, USA said he choose to come back to Nigeria to honour a national call to duty in line with what he teaches in the University encouraging his students to return to Nigeria after their study to help build the country.
“I thank the President for accepting my recommendation by the Minister, you will not be disappointed. I thank the Senate Committee members for whatever they see in me that qualifies me for this job. I am a team player. I don’t believe in being second, I don’t settle for less. I plan to work with the Ministry; I plan to work with the National Assembly. My appointment is a trusted position and I will put in my best. Those challenges in the power sector as mentioned by the Minister I considered as opportunities.”
“As a Commission there will be enforcement of our regulations. I pledge my allegiance and dedication to the motherland and especially the power sector where I have come as an example of Nigerians in the diaspora,” he said.
The Chairman immediately resumed at the Commission where he met with the staff and encouraged them on the need for team work and dedication to duty as he said, “I am coming home to lend my expertise but I cannot do it alone. I will need your help.”
“We are going to be asking the big question- If I don’t do it, who will do it? If I fail a lot of people will feel sad that I made the wrong choice for coming. I am committed to this,” Momoh said as he concluded that failure was not an option in his new assignment.