As president Goodluck Jonathan-led government struggles to instill some level of confidence in the people on his administration’s determination to address Nigeria’s power sector problems, the sector recently received a remarkable boost in its human development profile following the employment of 107 young graduate engineers by Sahara Power Group. The company said this step was in keeping with the company’s commitment to youth empowerment and development of local capacity in the sector.
A leading player in the sector, Sahara Power, comprises KEPCO Energy Resource Limited, New Electricity Distribution Company and NG Power-HPS Limited. These subsidiaries have stakes in Egbin Power Plc, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, IKEDC) and First Independent Power Limited (FIPL) respectively.
The young engineers, some of whom were sourced from the host communities where the subsidiary companies operate were expected to commence a rigorous training programme that would equip them for their roles in IKEDC, Egbin and FIPL.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sahara Power, Mr Kola Adesina disclosed at the induction ceremony for the recruited engineers that the exercise was in line with the robust human capital development policy of Sahara Power aimed at ensuring enhanced capacity and seamless employee succession through knowledge transfer.
Adesina said the intensive training programme to be facilitated by the National Power Training Institute (NAPTIN) would ensure the “bright engineers hit the ground running.” “Sahara Power is laying a solid foundation for upscaling capacity, productivity and efficiency in our subsidiaries and the entire power sector through an army of young professionals that could be exposed to continuing training opportunities in line with global trends and practices,” he said.
He further explained that appointment of the 107 engineers sets the tone for the commencement of a career progression and succession plan strategy to ensure that the more experienced professionals in IKEDC, Egbin Power and FIPL transfer knowledge to the younger generation to drive sustainability and efficiency.
He urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the programme to kick-start a career that could change the face of the power sector in Nigeria. “You are coming into an organization that offers platforms for success. We believe in you all and are confident that with young professionals like you the future is bright for Nigeria,” he told the young engineers.
Speaking at the event, NAPTIN director general, Engr Reuben Okeke who also hinted that the sector had suffered lack in terms of the right engineering professionals from inception at the National Association of Energy Correspondents, NAEC annual meeting in Lagos recently commended Sahara Power for spearheading a renewed drive for enhanced human capital development in the sector. “NAPTIN is delighted with the collaboration with Sahara Power and remain committed to ensuring that young engineers who go through the institute will emerge as future leaders of the sector in Nigeria and beyond,” he said.
Commending Sahara Power for the project, Ifeyinwa Nwaoyo, one of the interns said the project represents a great opportunity for Nigerian youths to be gainfully employed and be grounded in their field of study. “This will certainly change the face of the power sector. I intend to make the best use of this platform and look forward to emerging as CEO of IKEDC in future,” she said. Another intern, Ikeolapo Sonoiki, a graduate of electrical and electronics engineering said he was looking forward to learning from more established engineers as he begins his quest for a successful career in the sector.”I am grateful to Sahara power for this opportunity and I am confident I will become a reference point in terms of expertise in the power sector in Nigeria and outside our shore.”
Also speaking on the choice of NAPTIN for this resource function, the Sahara Power boss said it was informed by the company’s belief that NAPTIN was well equipped to provide the depth of expertise required to master peculiarities of the sector as the reforms continue to unfold.
He however added that Sahara Power would also take advantage of its relationship with the globally renowned Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO) to expose its professionals to offshore training and exchange programmes.
“The graduate recruitment and training programme will be a continuous exercise as Sahara Power envisions a future of robust power supply in Nigeria led by excellent professionals who can match their counterparts anywhere in the world. We will definitely continue to play a leading role in ensuring Nigeria realizes its aspirations in the power sector,” Adesina added.
Egbin Power Plc CEO, Engr. Mike Uzoigwe who also spoke at the event said he was confident of the success of the young engineers. “As an alumnus of NAPTIN, I can assure you that our young engineers are in for an exercise that will transform and launch their careers for high performance in the sector,” he said.
Determined to boost power supply across the country, federal government said recently that it would expend $1bn to ensure adequate gas supply.
It said the fund would be sourced from Niger Delta Power Holding Company allocation, as well as the private sector providers.
This was disclosed at a stakeholders meeting with Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali and the Managing Director of the NDPHC Mr. James Olotu said the move was government concerted efforts at boosting power supply.