Over inadequate power supply, Abuja Disco management was fired.
A major management shakeup yesterday hit the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), as the embattled electricity firm named Victor Ojelabi as its acting managing director and CEO. Until yesterday, Ojelabi was the firm’s chief internal auditor.
The appointment also means the new MD becomes the sixth Chief Executive of the Disco in the last 10 years. Those before him were Neil Croucher, Ernest Mupwaya, Akinwumi Bada, Engr. Adeoye Fadeyibi, and Chris Ezeafulukwe.
For the embattled Disco, the shake-up is not unconnected with moves by its major investor, the Transcorp Group led by Tony Elumelu, to reposition the troubled AEDC. Recall that in May 2023, the national council on privatisation approved the Transcorp-led consortium as the preferred bidder for AEDC after acquiring a 60 percent stake in the troubled Disco.
Prior to the Transcorp takeover, AEDC, which was granted a license in 2013, has had its fair share of challenges, especially in the areas of financial management, a dearth of governance structure, the sector’s risk volatility, and regulatory risk exposures.
In December 2021, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) took over the Disco over the inability of its then major stakeholder, Kann Consortium, to service the $122 million loan it took in 2013 to acquire the AEDC.
By April 2023, that is, 10 years later, the bank had moved to recover its loan facility from the firm. And by May 2023, the Transcorp-led consortium had bought over 60 percent of the Disco.
Besides, the company was faced with challenges of management, improving customer relations, data centricity, revenue optimization, collection efficiencies, billing efficiencies, and reducing to the barest possible point the ATC and C losses, amongst others. AEDC has also recently experienced dwindling fortunes in revenue and cash flow, and it has become difficult to meet most of its financial obligations to some service providers and contractors.
The new appointment was contained in a memo signed by the Chairman, Board of Directors, AEDC, Dr. Stanley Lawson, and addressed to all staff of the company. “Victor has been charged with driving the board-approved turnaround plan to reposition AEDC as the leading distribution company in Nigeria,” the memo stated.
A very top source close to the Transcorp Group told The Nation that the appointment is “a move geared at repositioning the AEDC and for the Group to now stamp its foot on the ground with the aim of overhauling and fully repositioning the Disco.”
“It has taken over seven months since our group bought the majority stake in Disco; now we are set to reposition the firm and make progress after carrying out due diligence and putting the necessary things in place,” the top source said.
Perhaps corroborating the source, a statement credited to the acting managing director and the chief executive officer of AEDC described the development as a major realignment for effectiveness.
“In furtherance of the implementation of the Board-approved AEDC Turnaround Plan, please be advised of the following key updates in our dear company as we move to reposition AEDC as the clear market leader in Nigerian electricity distribution. Chief Technical Officer, Godfrey Aba; Chief Business Officer (CBO), Leticia Ejendu; Head, Human Resources, Ibem Idika; Chief Internal Auditor, Irene Nwankwo.” Other officers were also appointed in acting capacities.