Thursday 6 April 2023

● We Must Learn from Unbundling of Power Sector-Ataguba

L-R: Ibrahim Alhassan( NRC), Rowland Ataguba(Bethlehem Rail), Bello Gwandu (Shippers Council)

The Federal Government of Nigeria has resumed activities towards unbundling of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) into three components namely a regulator, asset manager/infraco and operations companies.

The Federal Government committee set up by the former Minister of Transportation has as Chairman the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye and consists of industry stakeholders such as the Chairman Nigerian Railway Corporation, Alh. Ibrahim Alhassan, Wazirin Daura, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Emmanuel Jime, Director Rail Transport Services, Adekunle Yusuf, Managing Director Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr Fidet Okhiria, Director Legal Pius Oteh, Chairmen of the Land Transport committees of the Senate and House of Representatives as well as CEO Bethlehem Rail Rowland Ataguba and others on behalf of the private sector.

The inauguration of the committee was held last year but activities slowed down due to several factors until the new Minister of Transportation revived the group to urgently address the unenviable state of the Railway Corporation.

L-R: CEO Bethlehem Rail Rowland Ataguba, Hon. Minister of Transportation Muazu Jaji Sambo, Chairman Nigerian Railway Corporation Ibrahim Alhassan Wazirin Daura.

Speaking after its recent meeting in Abuja, a private sector member of the committee and a leading advocate of railway reform in Nigeria, Mr Rowland Ataguba said that the Minister, Hon. Muazu Sambo was keen on a tangible milestone at handover next month and that means pressure.

According to him, emerging consensus favours the breaking up of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) into a regulator, asset manager/infraco and operations companies.

He however posited that this was the easy part in the face of lessons to learn from the unbundling of power and other utilities to ensure success.

“This is where the BPE’s memory is required in implementation”, Ataguba posited.

The work of the committee is done in subcommittees while the whole house meets at plenary to discuss and reach consensus.

Ataguba who is a confirmed leader of constitutional reform as it affects the railway sector said “these are exciting times for the railway sector as we are on the threshold of better days ahead.

“This is something we have canvassed for decades and now it’s here,” he posited.

Rowland Ataguba who is the instigator, initiator and promoter of the memorandum for a constitution amendment to move railways from the exclusive to the concurrent list which led to the passage of the constitution amendment into law said he is unperturbed by claims of credit from certain legislative quarters. Success has many fathers and I didn’t walk alone.

“Our advocacy began in earnest about 2008 in the NESG and we haven’t looked back since. Our media friends like Rail Business, Guardian, Daily Trust and Leadership have been incredibly supportive.

“My late brother and friend Sam Nda Isaiah even serialized extracts of my unfinished book, Modeling the Nigerian Railway, in his Leadership newspaper.

“Success belongs to all of us. Rather than worry myself over which pretender is claiming credit for my work, I am focused on the next steps and the restructuring and reform of the sector so help me God. It has taken us too long to get to this juncture. So we must hurry and make hay while the sun shines”, he added.

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