By Appolos Christian
Workers under the auspices of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) have threatened to ground the entire power sector over alleged “sharp practices” and highhandedness of the management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
The workers, who picketed the TCN premises on Tuesday in Abuja, to express their grievances, disrupted vehicular movement and commercial activities for several hours.
They linked their action on the “gross conduct” of TCN’s Managing Director, Usman Mohammed, and demanded his immediate sack by the Federal Government for allegedly flouting several administrative procedures.
SSAEAC General Secretary, Umar Abubakar, who led the protest, accused Mohammed of singlehandedly conducting examinations for TCN staff members of due for promotion without recourse to input from other management officials.
Mohammed was also alleged to have failed to remit appropriate taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), a development that led to the sealing of the organisation.
Abubakar further claimed that the TCN boss hijacked funds provided by the World Bank for projects in the power sector, interfered in union activities in a bid to polarise the members.
According to him, the TCN MD cleared a large consignment of electrical materials from foreign donors at the ports, but failed to deliver same to the warehouse of the organisation for proper accountability before distribution to the relevant sections where they would be used.
The protesters said that efforts by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige and his counterpart in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to intervene in the matter, flopped because Mohammed failed to attend several meetings arranged by stakeholders.
SSAEAC said: “Our grievances stem from the fact that the MD singled out promotion exercise and started to conduct it in his own way through the aid of consultants; that to us is not the ideal process. He even bragged that he set the questions himself. How can a whole MD of and organisation like TCN organise or write promotion interview or questions, unless he has selfish motives?
“The motive is that he is not prepared to promote any staff member, especially those who are due and most qualified for promotion. He probably wants to pick his stooges, and that is our suspicion.
“We have it on good authority that there were some container loads of equipment which were cleared from the ports but were not taken to the store; this again is not the proper thing to do because the procedure ought to be that whenever an organisation buys any equipment, it takes them to the warehouse for record purposes and accountability.
“His own style of leadership is management of dishing out orders, if he is not at work, nothing works. He believes that he is the only person who can do everything. Such things don’t happen in an ideal organisation? What then are the functions of the Executive Directors or General Managers?”
The protesters who carried placards with inscriptions such as “We say no to tax fraud; Sack DG Mohammed now to guarantee hope for power sector”, and “No to nepotism” sang anti-management songs.
Abubakar failed to pick calls and text messages send to his mobile by The AUTHORITY.
TCN emerged from the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) following the merger of the Transmission and Operations sectors on April 1, 2004.
It is also one of the 18 unbundled business units from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and was issued a transmission licence on July 1, 2006 for electricity transmission, system operation and electricity trading.