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Outrage as Buhari reverses suspension of REA boss, Ogunbiyi


Damilola Ogunbiyi

Nigerians yesterday criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s reversal of the suspension of Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Damilola Ogunbiyi.

The Presidency had yesterday tweeted that Buhari had directed a reversal of Ogunbiyi’s suspension, stressing that Ogunbiyi’s resignation was accepted to enable her to take up a new role with the United Nations (UN).Ogunbiyi was appointed as UN Special Representative for Sustainable Energy and Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) in October last year, but Minister of Power, Sale Mamman had reportedly fired her when she resigned.

While some Nigerians have argued that the power play by the Presidency and Mamman was designed to rubbish Ogunbiyi’s image, the Presidency said: “President Buhari has directed that Ogunbiyi’s suspension from her role as Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency be reversed. “Her resignation, which is effective December 31, 2019 has been accepted to enable her take up a new position at the UN.”

But reacting to the Presidency’s twitter post, which attracted over 400 reactions in the first two hours, most Nigerians raised questions on government’s actions, while alleging confusion and an attempt to ridicule Ogunbiyi.Indications were rife that Mamman’s action is being questioned based on the prevailing situation, suggesting that his action may have been unauthorised.

Oluwole Dada (@oluwole_dada) tweeted that President Buhari should look into developments in the power sector, adding that the situation was affecting the sector negatively.“Why was she suspended in the first instance? If PMB is not careful, all the results of the power sector in his first term will be reversed and it will be as if nothing had happened,” he said.

Also, Jude Ekwedike said, “If the suspension was not warranted or malicious, shouldn’t whoever suspended her be sacked immediately?However, Mamman issued a statement on Monday stressing that it was unnecessary for Nigerians to cry wolf over Ogunbiyi and other suspended officers saying, “They are public officers who had been in the ministry for over four years without tangible results.”

While stakeholders raised dust over the new appointment at REA, Mamman described the development that trailed the new appointment as needless, stating that most Nigerians were not susceptible to attuned to leaving public office even after their tenures lapse or failed to perform.

“The removal of any public officer is usually accompanied by allegations of victimisation, discrimination and bias, such is the case with changes the Ministry of Power made at the REA and Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company.“Nigerians should be asking why there was no much improvement in the sector after all government efforts and not encourage wailers to sulk over public officers who had been in the ministry for four years without tangible results,” Mamman said in statement issued by his Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Aaron Artimas.

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