Bringing gas under power ministry can help to resolve Nigeria’s power problems —Akande

Laolu Akande

By Oluwafemi Popoola

Former presidential spokesperson, Laolu Akande, has thrown his weight behind an idea for the restructuring of ministries under President Bola Tinubu, especially the merging of the gas and power sectors of the economy under the same ministry.

Akande argued that moving gas to the power ministry is a good idea that can help solve the perennial power problem in the country, while also improving the economy.

While speaking during the Channels TV Politics Today programme anchored by Seun Okinbaloye on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, the then spokesman to the former Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, said “Anyone who’s trying to take a fresh look at some of the challenges might actually have the option of re-designating and re-arranging and re-structuring some of these ministries in order to deliver result.

Akande added “The idea of bringing gas together with power, I think it’s something that might actually be helpful.”

Continuing, he said, “There have been all kinds of speculation about what’s going to happen, for instance, there’s a lot of buzz that you’re now going to have gas taken out of the petroleum ministry. It’s a buzz, it’s no confirmation yet, so that you now have a ministry of power and energy or ministry of energy, essentially trying to bring the issue of energy outside the petroleum.”

“It’s also possible that some of the bigger ministries might also be split but again I think it’s best to wait for the official confirmation of exactly what’s going to be.”

Speaking further on President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet formation and dissecting some of the nominees’ spectacular credentials, Akande singled out Mr Wale Edun and Dr Ali Pate from the list, commending the duo as brilliant technocrats who will bring in their experience, capacity and competence to the fore.

“We can say that Mr Wale Edun is going to be the Minister of Finance. I will be willing to stake my neck on that and the reason is that it is not just because he was the Finance Commissioner when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was the governor of Lagos State. But if you look at his antecedents, most people don’t know that he’s actually a co-founder of Stanbic IBTC bank.”

“He is a thorough-going economist, a very serious hands-on man and he understands issues. A practitioner, probably in his early sixties,” Akande stated.

He added, “Another person to also watch out for is Dr Pate. Don’t forget that Dr Pate was supposed to take up the job as the CEO of Garvin last week, a twenty-seven billion dollar international agency that deals with vaccination. But he chooses to drop that to take this job.

“I can also imagine that he would be the Minister of Health. And talking about capacity, Pate has been there before. He understands the issue pertaining to public health.

Also, while commenting on the nomination of the immediate past Kaduna governor, Akande said, “I think during the screening, former governor of Kaduna, El-Rufai had indicated that the president wanted him to deal with the issue of power, so I think there is a likelihood that he might be the one that will end up in that unit.

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“To talk about his ( el-Rufai) knowledge, he’s somebody who has demonstrated even over the years the capacity to deal with problems. Now, he does have quite a bit of issues with some of his controversial statements, but if you are able to separate or remove some of those controversial statements he has engrossed himself with, he’s somebody that can deliver.

“And specifically talking about power, I remember that even under the Buhari/Osinbajo administration the president set up a power working team that was chaired by the vice president and (former) Governor Rufai was a key member of that working group. Clearly, he’s somebody that can deliver on that.

Speaking further, Akande said, “I also think if you look at the lawyer, we can make a good estimate that Lateef Fagbemi is going to be the next Minister of Justice. Besides the fact that he’s out of the lot of three and four, he’s clearly the leader in terms of litigation, in terms of reputation and somebody that’s not as political, somebody that you can think that people can build credibility and reputation about.”