By ABAH ADAH, Abuja
The immediate past Nigerian Minister of Power, Engr Saleh Mamman reportedly collapsed and was hospitalised in Abuja on Wednesday after being told by President Muhammadu Buhari that he had been relieved of his job.
Engr Mamman served as power minister since 2019 until he was fired on Wednesday in a minor cabinet reshuffle carried out by Mr President, which saw the power Minister fired alongside agriculture minister Sabo Nanono.
“He collapsed yesterday and was immediately hospitalised,” a family source told The People’s Gazette under anonymity. “He wasn’t expecting to be fired so soon.” The nature of Mr Mamman’s ailment was not immediately clarified and his spokesman did not return a request seeking comments.
The source revealed Mr Mamman has been quietly receiving treatment at a hospital in Abuja.
Mr Mamman, 63, was said to have been living at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja for more than three weeks on the bills of some powerful interests in the power sector, who were hoping he would still be in the office to be able to award lucrative contracts.
“He has been living permanently at Transcorp Hilton since early August,” sources told The Gazette, “His bills were being covered by elements in the power sector who were looking forward to more lucrative contracts before the bad news of his dismissal struck yesterday.”
He also reportedly has plans to run for governor in Taraba by 2023, a claim The Gazette has not been able to independently corroborate.
Mamman assumed office as Minister of Minister in 2019 at the turn of Buhari’s second term in office after the power ministry which merged with that of works and housing with Babatunde Fashola (now Minister of Works and Housing) was unbundled, paving way for the rebirth of the Ministry of Power.
Mamman’s reign over the sector was shrouded in crises and controversies including incessant power system collapses; several electricity tariff hike attempts that were met with stiff opposition from the organised labour and other stakeholders, leaving the statues quo to prevail officially in most cases consequently reversing the tariff hike in some instances; confrontations with top agency managers, persistent poor performance of the power sector in spite of several improvement assurances, etc.
Meanwhile, a statement from the ministry’s spokesman, Austin Asoluka, has said Abubakar Aliyu is the new Minister of Power.
Until this appointment, Aliyu had been working with Fashola as the Minister of State for Works and Housing.
“His appointment was announced Wednesday, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Mr President,” the statement noted.