A former presidential aide, Dr Doyin Okupe, has revealed how some powerful interests scuttled the decision of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to bring on board a co-founder of GTBank, Fola Adeola, to fix the defunct National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA).
Adeola, he said, had agreed to fix the defunct NEPA after Obasanjo agreed to his suggestion to hand over the power firm to a proven and tested business administrator.
But Okupe claimed some powerful men, who he didn’t mention, hijacked the idea by asking the former President to constitute a committee headed by Adeola as against giving the business tycoon free hands to operate the corporation.
Okupe, who served as Special Assistant Media and Publicity to Obasanjo and Senior Special Assistant to former President Jonathan (Public Affairs), stated these in a series of tweets on Friday afternoon.
He cited the case to buttress his argument that most people in government mean well with good ideas but are encumbered by several interest groups.
Okupe tweeted: “Sometimes during Obasanjo’s regime, the President express deep concern about how NEPA can be revived and made to run effectively.
“I told the President that the person who will run NEPA efficiently and deliver on service must be:
“A very successful business manager and a good manager of men and resources.
“He must be someone who the President will have to beg to do the job and most likely for a short time, say 3years.
“The President agreed with me and asked me that I should give him a name of such a Nigerian.
“I pondered for a while and I said, “Fola Adeola”. The President banged his table in excitement and said “YES! CORRECT”.
He then asked, “can you reach him”? I replied, “yes”.
“I got Fola and acquainted him with details of my discussions with the President. He was not enthusiastic.
“He told me point blank that he was a serious minded and busy person but he will do the job with his heart for 3 years only.
“He added that on the condition that he is given a free hand to run the organisation.
“9am, we both sat before the President who was extremely warm and courteous. He then informed Fola that he wants him to help the country by leaving his business and help to put NEPA straight.
“Fola explained that I had briefed him copiously and he will do it provided he has a free hand to do so.
“Then the President said he will create a management committee which Fola will head. To me and Fola, this was news.
“So Fola asked who will run the show? To which the President replied, “You and your fellow committee members.”
“Fola declined and that was the end of the story.
“I later found out that during dinner the night the President and I agreed on Fola, he mentioned the decision to a group of close friends and powerful associates who gave him the demerits of allowing the management of such a conglomerate to just one man in a country like Nigeria.”
He added: “They also gave other cogent points which the opposition may latch on to blur the good intentions of the president in the eye of the public. So they suggested a team or committee to work with the proposed new MD.
“Of course, each of them had a nominee in the suggested committee.”