While Nigerians might not have heard much about former head of state since he handed over to another retired General (Obasanjo) in a contentious “free and fair” election in 1999, retired General Abdulsalami has been announced the winner of the bids of the Eko, Ikeja, Ibadan and Yola electricity distribution companies.
The distributions companies – not joking, DISCOs – are offshoots of the ominously-named Government-owned Power HOLDING Company of Nigeria, a company that became the successor to NEPA (Nigerian Electricity Power Authority), itself a successor to the genteel and illustrious – in more ways than one – of the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN).
The retired General reportedly placed in the winning bid through “Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing”, a firm reportedly owned by the former Head of State.
To my global readers, a simple note; Nigeria’s former rulers: heads of states, state governors, ministers, et al. generally become exceedingly-wealthy individuals. There is nothing unusual, therefore, in Abdulsalami’s company becoming supplier of power to perhaps the two top power using areas in the country: Eko (Lagos proper) and Ikeja. Ibadan should rank in the top 10 consumers of electricity in the country. The three cities are in the Southwest; retd. General Abdulsalami is from Northern Nigeria.
Yola is in the North, and is home to a private university owned by retired General Obasanjo’s vice president, Atiku Abubakar who, as the person in charge of Bureau of Public Enterprises, purportedly sold a large chunk of the enterprises to himself. As in all things Nigerian, there was never a government publication discrediting or confirming the innuendos. The state capital and university town of Yola is not in the league of big power consumers.
There were other divested distribution offshoots of PHCN privatized, a term most Nigerians see as sharing the country’s common wealth to the powerful.