Chris Steven, Abuja
The Presidency on Tuesday announced the reversal of the suspension of Damilola Ogunbiyi, managing director of Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
Ogunbiyi’s suspension was ordered in December 2019 by the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman and was announced in a statement by Aaron Artimas, Special Adviser to the minister.
But the Presidency in a Twitter message said President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the suspension of Ogunbiyi from her role as Managing Director of REA be reversed.
It however said that her resignation effective 31 December 2019 has been accepted to enable her take up her new UN appointment.
When she was suspended, the minister also ordered an investigation into alleged infractions by the agency.
“Following some apparent infractions in the Rural Electrification Agency, the Minister of Power Engr Sale Mamman has directed the Managing Director of the Agency, Ms Damilola Ogunbiyi to proceed on indefinite suspension with immediate effect,” Artimas said.
“Ms Ogunbiyi is to hand over to the next most senior officer in the Agency.
“Consequently, the Minister has directed an immediate investigation into the activities of the Agency towards repositioning it for better service delivery.”
The REA was established to increase electricity access to rural and underserved clusters across the country by developing off-grid electrification strategies.
Prior to her appointment in 2017, Ogunbiyi was the general manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board.
In October, Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, announced the appointment of Ogunbiyi as chief executive officer of the organisation’s Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll).
Following Ogunbiyi’s suspension, President Buhari approved the appointment of Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of REA.
Ahmad is the first son of late Ahmad Salihijo, Buhari’s foremost consultant when he was the Chairman of the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF). A statement by the Ministry of Power which announced this, said Salihijo from Adamawa State is a renewable energy expert who holds two masters degrees in development studies and project planning.
But the president’s action came under public criticisms as the new REA MD was said to be level 12 officer and not qualified for the post.