Audu/Gov Al-Makura: A shared destiny?

Destiny has been unfair to them for not bringing them out from the same family or blood. Life has been more unfair for not crossing their path even accidentally. They are two total strangers not related in any way, whether by blood, family ties or distant relation but their resemblance cannot be ignored. They do not only look like identical twins but also share everything in common, especially in their commitment to serve humanity and nation-building. MUA’ZU ABARI writes on these two strangers that look like identical twins

When the wonders of God unveiled itself in human no mortal on earth can question it, because the way of God is surely not the way of man. Engr. Lamu Audu, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mainstream Energy Solution Limited (MESL), concessionaire of
Kainji and Jebba Hydro Electrical Power Plants and Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, the amiable and workaholic governor of Nasarawa State, are two shining examples of God’s wonderful creation.
Albert Einstein, a German Swiss- us scientist, said “Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.” On his part, Ralph Waldo said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy but to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate and to make some difference that you have lived and lived well”. Mahatma Gandhi added that, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others and Zigzaler wrapped it up, “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people to get what they want, in life.”

The above postulations by these philosophers define the life and antecedents of these two strangers that look alike. What a life of resemblance and world of wonders! No wonder Albert Camus said, “Life is a story and God is the author”.
Amidst daunting challenges in Nigeria’s power sector, Engr. Lamu Audu, a graduate of mechanical engineering from the University of Maiduguri, was appointed as managing director, MESL having attended many professional courses and rose through the ranks within the sector. He was senior manager (mechanical) of Kainji Hydro Power Project, principal manager (Turbin) and later AGM (maintenance) as well as MD/CEO of Jebba Hydro Electric Plc until the completion of privatization of the plant when MESL board appointed him as MD/CEO of the company.
He took over the affairs of the company which handled both Kainji and Jebba Hydro Electric Plants at a very critical time when the entire power sector was in coma, leaving the Federal Government with no option than to privatize the two plants to MESL to revamp and effectively manage. This responsibility fell on Engr. Lamu and his team to do the miracle.
At the time Audu took over the affairs of both plants, no power was being generated from Kainji. In fact, Kainji itself was running on generator and the company was importing power from the grid to stay afloat.

There was also a loss of between 20-25% of total output of electricity with investors threatening to shut down more generating plants over unpaid invoices. In addition, no unit in both Kainji and Jebba power plants had been overhauled since their establishment. In fact, Kainji with 5 units was zero as no unit was running.
As if that was not bad enough, there was also the commercial challenge, which militated against the ability of the company to recover capacity and sustain what they have due to liquidity crisis to the extent that their invoices were not settled as at when due and completely. The percentage payment of invoices was between 19-25%, leaving the company with 75% deficit and yet they were expected to restore the power plants to their full capacities of 760 megawatts and 57 megawatts at Kainji and Jebba, respectively.

There was also the challenge of foreign exchange because 99% of plants’ inputs are external, i.e. from off shore hence the need for the company to have forex. But it had to source forex from the open markets, which cost them more resources, among other challenges.
Engr. Audu took up these challenges and made a difference in this crucial sector to the country’s socio-economic development.
Audu quickly restored 440 megawatts of the 760 megawatts installed capacity of Kainji plant which was zero when he took over and brought to life 3units in Kainji. On Jebba, the company took over 5 plants which were on grid and considering the fact that they had gone through so many defects the output was very low but due to the ingenuity of the engineers they managed them over the years and succeeded to ensure the availability and reliability of the other units.

He also streamlined MoU with the National Power Training Institute (NAPTI) on manpower development. Beyond the core responsibilities of the company, Audu embarked on corporate social responsibility (CRS) to the community. To achieve this noble objective of impacting on the common man in its area of  operation, MESL led by Audu set aside 1% of its revenue for CRS, especially in the areas of infrastructure, water, education, employment and other social services.
MESL has so far provided transformers and other instillations for electrification and boreholes in their catchment areas within Kainji and Jebba. They have also awarded contract for the construction of an injection sub-station 3311KVA line to link New Bussa and environs to national grid. They have also provided lights and water for their host communities.
On health and education, the company has provided scholarship to some indigenes being trained at NAPTI for subsequent employment by MESL. The company has also distributed typhoid vaccines, drugs and other facilities to support health centres and institutions within their areas of operation.

Furthermore, MESL in June 2016, launched the Mainstream Charity Foundation to coordinate the humanitarian interventions of the company with priority on education, environment, job creation, infrastructure, security, sanitation, etc.
Speaking at the event, Engr. Audu said, “The aim of the foundation is to give the company the leverage to focus on its core business of generating electricity while the foundation takes over its corporate social responsibility. This occasion therefore symbolizes a form of formal home coming as “Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited has been over the years actively involved in evolving solutions and collaborating with various communities towards solving crucial communal problems.”
Chairman, MESL board, Col. Sani Bello Rtd., traced the conception of the charity to a consensus of shareholders. “The shareholders wanted a focused and sustainable approach to corporate social responsibility, hence the idea to set up a foundation that will pursue this objective separate from the company’s main activity which is power generation.”

Just like Audu, Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al-Makura, through determination and bravery amidst political witch-hunting, intimidation, frustration, bumps and obstacles entered the lion’s dens of and contested for the gubernatorial seat of the state under opposition party and emerged the third executive governor of the state, defeating then incumbent Aliyu Akwe Doma in what analysts described as “first political revolution in .
Al-Makura, a professional teacher, journalist and successful businessman, took over the affairs of Nasarawa State in May 2011 at a time the state was in comatose. The electorate had lost confidence in governance to turn around the fortunes of the state for good as a result of visionless and incompetent leadership perpetrated over the years by various administrations in the state.
Al-Makura inherited a completely grounded and decayed state with absence of basic infrastructure that will drive forward its development. Even the state capital was like a glorified village lacking basic amenities. No single asphalt kilometer road apart from the one that passed through Akwanga-Jos-Lafia to Makurdi built since time immemorial which has given way to crackers and potholes.

The education and health sectors of the state were in shambles with lecturers and doctors on strike for over 9 months prior to his coming to power and all gates to tertiary institutions and hospitals in the state shut and the state economy was experiencing its worst moment.
Al-Makura also inherited a debt profile of over N40bn despite the fact that his predecessor collected a whopping N 109.2bn as federal allocations to the state between May 29, 2007 and June 2011 and without tangible projects on ground to show for it.
In addition to this huge federal allocation Doma also collected over three billion naira as security votes and another N10bn Paris Club debt given to the state, which was supposed to be shared between Nasarawa and Plateau states. But that administration squandered the money giving nothing to Plateau. When Al-Makura took over N200m was deducted monthly from the state allocations to pay Plateau, which was exited within Al-Makura’s first term in office.

Despite these challenges, Al-Makura, in his characteristic manner of humility, simplicity and commitment to the service of humanity and in line with his administration’s principle of transparency, honesty and fear of God added with a clear conscience, mission, vision and noble ideas to transform Nasarawa State and make a difference on the lives of the ordinary people that elected him into office, swung into action to fulfil his promises to the people of the state.
Al-Makura kick started his administration by investing massively in infrastructural development as never experienced in the history of Nasarawa State since its creation, especially in the area of road, education, health, power, water, among others.
Engr. Audu and Al-Makura within a short time of assuming the responsibilities of their various offices, are proofs that God did not make a mistake in making them to look alike. God also made them to resemble each other in their commitments to the service of humanity and nation.

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