By C. Don Adinuba
The governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, has commended Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Dr. Nnaemeka Ewelukwa as the chief executive of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading plc (NBET), an Anambra native popularly known as the Bulk Trader.
“You couldn’t have appointed a more qualified, competent and reform-minded technocrat for the job,” Governor Obiano said in the letter to Buhari.
The Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman, two weeks ago announced President Buhari’s approval of Dr. Ewelukwa as replacement for Dr. Marylyn Amobi, also from Anambra State, whose five year tenure will end on July 24.
“It is self-evident that the president recognizes the critical role of the NBET in the electricity value chain in Nigeria and so went for the best to help move the entire power sector in a different direction,” Governor Obiano declared.
Dr. Ewelukwa, the NBET general counsel until his appointment, has been involved in Nigeria’s power sector reform for at least 10 years, having worked at the Presidential Task Force on Power (PTFP) headed by Professor Bart Nnaji before he was appointed the Minister of Power in July, 2011, and led the greatest revamping of Nigeria’s perennially problematic power sector.
As the pioneer NBET general counsel and secretary, he led the team which negotiated with independent power producers on power purchase agreements (PPAs) and thus enabled huge investments from the private sector into Nigeria’s electricity generation business.
Governor Obiano observed that the new NBET CEO played a key role on the team which identified serious legal, regulatory and policy constraints to the development of Nigeria’s electricity and suggested ways to overcome the challenges.
“Due to the… impressive work done by such outstanding technocrats as Professor Nnaji and Dr. Ewelukwa, the British and American governments, among others, assisted Nigeria to develop the critical power infrastructure,” noted the governor who also recalled how such global firms as General Electric of the United States, Siemens of Germany and Daewoo Heavy Industries of South Korea took an unprecedented interest in the country’s power sector.
Chief Obiano described Ewelukwa as “infectiously humble and principled, a team player and farsighted leader with a good international exposure, key leadership requirements in today’s globalized world.”
The governor said he is confident that Dr. Ewelukwa would bring glory to Nigeria the way a number of Anambra indigenes given critical national assignments discharged their duties.
“The whole nation,” he stated, “remembers with nostalgia the fantastic work done since the restoration of democracy by such sons and daughters of Anambra State like Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo as the Central Bank governor; Professor Dora Akunyili as the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC); Engineer Ernest Ndukwe as the CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili as head of the Due Process Office before becoming the Minister of Solid Minerals and later Minister of Education; and Engineer Emeka Eze as the Bureau for Public Procurement Director General.”
The son of a leading academic lawyer, Ewelukwa studied law at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, before proceeding to the London School of Economics to specialize in international business law and Queen Mary College of the University of London where he took a doctoral degree in privatization of state-owned enterprises and reform of the Nigerian power sector.
Author of three authoritative books on electricity transactions, the new NBET CEO is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.♦
■ C. Don Adinuba is Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment.