Rilwan Lanre Babalola

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Rilwan Lanre Babalola
Federal Minister of Power
In office
17 December 2008 – 17 March 2010
Succeeded by Goodluck Jonathan
Personal details
Born 1968

Rilwan Lanre Babalola was appointed Nigerian Minister of Power on 17 December 2008 after a cabinet shuffle by President Umaru Yar'Adua.[1] He left office in March 2010 when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet.[2]

Background[edit]

Babalola gained a PhD in Energy Economics from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom.[3] He was an investment banker with Lead Bank in charge of the Public Sector and Infrastructure Department.[1]

Babalola joined the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in November 2001 as head of the Power Sector Team. Under a program assisted by USAID and later the World Bank, he was responsible for reform measures including setting up the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, and unbundling the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).[1] After leaving the BPE, he was Deputy General Manager at the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission for a short period. He then joined the Economic Advisory Team of President Umar Yar'adua.[3]

Minister of Power[edit]

Appointed Minister of Power in December 2008, Babalola faced a challenging job, with severe lack of power generation and transmission facilities, tangled regulations and a highly ambitious program to expand capacity.[4]

In February 2009 Babalola suspended the Executive Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Ransome Owan, and six commissioners. They had been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 3 February 2009 for allegedly misappropriating N1.54 billion in 2008. Babalola had initiated the action.[5] In March 2009, he said President Yar'Adua has approved removal of the Executive Vice chairman of PHCN, Bello Suleiman, and two executive directors, due to disagreements about how the massive investment in the power industry by the Federal Government should be allocated.[6]

In September 2009 Babalola was quoted as promising 6000MW of capacity and 24 hours power supply by the end of the year, a target considered highly ambitious.[7] In February 2010 it was revealed that power supply had in fact fallen to 2,700 mW from 3,710 mW at the end of the previous year. Babalola blamed the problem on inadequate natural gas supply for the new generators.[8] Failure to meet the target resulted in calls for his dismissal.[9]

In January 2010 Babalola said that there would be a slow-down in the process of unbundling the Power Holding Company of Nigeria due to concerns about the viability of private power generation in the current tariff and regulatory structure, and the need to establish rules to ensure a level playing field in the competitive market.[10] He announced plans that included construction of additional gas-fired generation stations near the source of supply in the Niger Delta, reducing vulnerability to pipeline disruptions, and major projects to build transmission and distribution facilities to eliminate bottlenecks in the grid. He also said the government was encouraging private-sector power generation projects.[11]

In February 2010, Babalola was among leaders seeking to force the issue of declaring Yar'Adua incapable of discharging the functions of his office, and thus making Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan the Acting President.[12] Babalola left office on 17 March 2010 when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet.[2] When a new cabinet was formed on 6 April 2010, President Jonathan took personal responsibility for the Ministry of Power, and did not name a minister.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Nosike Ogbuenyi, Abimbola Akosile and Sufuyan Ojeifo (19 December 2008). "ar'Adua Renews His Mission". ThisDay. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  2. ^ a b Daniel Idonor (17 March 2010). "Jonathan Sacks Ministers". Vanguard. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  3. ^ a b KAZEEM JAMES (18 April 2009). "Nigeria Power Sector Needs Accountability Before Privatisation- Rilwan Babalola- Minister for Power, Nigeria". Africa Oil & Gas Report. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  4. ^ Ijeoma Nwogwugwu (29 December 2008). "Babalola Has to Hit the Ground Running". ThisDay. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  5. ^ Hamisu Muhammad (8 March 2009). "How Corruption, Power Tussle Put 6,000mw Electricity Target at Risk". Daily Trust. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  6. ^ Adeola Yusuf (4 March 2009). "Yar'Adua Sacks Sulaiman, PHCN MD". Daily Independent. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  7. ^ "Between Usain Bolt And Dr. Rilwan Babalola". ThisDay. 12 September 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  8. ^ "Nigeria: Power outage to worsen as generation drops to 2,700 mw". Afrique en ligne. 05/02/2010. Retrieved 2010-04-17.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ Collins Olayinka (February 22, 2010). "NNPC, oil firms move to boost power supply". Nigerian Newspaper Online. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  10. ^ Sopuruchi Onwuka (6 January 2010). "Power Tariff Correction Delays PHCN Privatization". Daily Champion. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  11. ^ Sopuruchi Onwuka (13 January 2010). "Power Sector Crisis - FG Shifts Priority From Generation to Distribution". Daily Champion. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  12. ^ Emmanuel Aziken and Ikechukwu Nnochiri (17 February 2010). "Resolve Yar'Adua's Health Status Or Go to Jail". Vanguard. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  13. ^ George Oji (7 April 2010). "Jonathan Takes Over Ministry of Power". ThisDay. Retrieved 2010-04-17.