About three years ago when the Managing Director (MD) of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Engr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad was appointed, not many could believe that the seemingly moribund federal government organization can get the fastest development reawakening because of the young looks of the present MD.
Many have concluded that former President Muhammadu Buhari gave Ahmad the appointment for obvious reasons of his close relationship with the family. But now the wailers and those expecting nothing much from the agency are praising the astute managing Director for performing beyond expectation.
Salihijo has not disappointed especially by upholding the vision of the REA established by an ACT, which is to be an organization providing excellent electricity services and administration to Nigerian Rural communities.
Salihijo was appointed the Managing Director of REA on 31st December 2019, by this appointment he is in charge of the Agency with the constitutional mandate to electrify Nigerian rural communities.
On assumption of office, he hit the ground running by unveiling the blueprint of his administration and articulating them in a short along-term agenda. Chief among them is to fight and eradicate corruption by making sure contractors at the site must work within agreed specifications , strategic engagement with the stakeholders, relationship building, reorientation of the mindset of people, creation of relationship feed back base with communities and the agency amongst others.
So far he has been able to achieve these laudable objectives through his purposeful and staff centered policies.
During the period under review, the REA MD has been able to rekindle hope and trust in the Agency and this has engendered stakeholders’ respect and confidence in the Commission.
He has ensured that staff have been embarking on training and retreat unhindered, allowances of staff are paid as at when due and promotion of staff has been regular under his leadership
For the first time since the establishment of the REA, the MD normally toured all states to make sure ongoing work is done according to specification and meets agency’s standard.
Against all odds, Salihijo brought sanity in the agency. He maintained a policy of integrity that is sharping and growing well the REA that will span to generation because of the love he has for the country.
The patriotism in Salihijo has made him one of the greatest achievers since the formation of REA in the last three years.He has an unflinching commitment to ensuring the agency work by providing electricity in many rural communities despite the challenges and despite lack of operational funds.
Recently the REA Managing Director welcomed the world Bank President Ajay Banga who Visited Nigeria To Support Energy Access And Economic Development.
Because of what Salihijo is doing in REA Ajay during his visit reaffirmed support for the bank’s aspirations “for Nigerians to live with dignity in a prosperous and climate-resilient Africa”.
Ajay stated World’s bank commitment to partner with Nigeria by supporting the country with expertise and knowledge and their experience from many markets. Assured to maintain a robust friendship and partnership not just with their money, but with their minds and their hearts.
Discussion on crucial role electricity plays in the country’s economic development. The World Bank notes that 85 million Nigerians lack access to electricity, and if left unaddressed, this figure is expected to rise to 94 million by 2030.
This where Ahmad Salihijo revealed REA readiness to be part of the World’s Bank project in Nigeria and joined Banga, Ogunbiyi, and other stakeholders on a visit to Petti Village in Abuja, on Saturday.
They have “through the World Bank-funded Nigeria Electrification Project, deployed a 60 [kilowatt peak] KwP solar mini-grid, closing the energy gap in this vibrant, agrarian community”. The World Bank tweeted it aims “to assist in funding the construction of 1,000 mini solar power grids in partnership with the Nigerian government and the private sector”.
The Young and visionary MD once said that : “We need to see a lot more participation with an emphasis on implementation. This we can achieve by being innovative and focused”.
Ahmad’s vision is to also provide solar powering systems to support Mobile classroom project of organisations and foundation having projects in different communities across the country.
The REA’s mandate under Ahmad of improving the quality of life and economic opportunities for unserved and underserved communities contributing to five Sustainable Development Goals has been one of his focused agenda.
Desirous to change the narratives, he designed a template that will guide the agency implement projects in all the local government area councils in the country. The the template is receiving a tremendous boost because the stakeholders and the federal government are people-oriented.
The Executive Management Director has also being consulting experts, consultants and senior government officials. It is worthy of note that for the first time paid a visit to the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, GCON, to extend courtesies and provide an update on the advancements within the nation’s renewable energy sector.
During the meeting, the CEO presented a comprehensive overview of REA’s strategic initiatives, notable achievements in Nigeria’s off-grid renewable energy sector, and outlined the agency’s proposed measures to mitigate the impacts of the recent removal of fuel subsidy.
Obviously, the giant strides of REA Executive Director who is regarded as a core developer of Human and bundle of Human services are obvious and worthy of commendation. Indeed, Ahmad has been able to enthrone purposeful and visionary leadership within these three years in the saddle.
He is leaving an indelible mark in the sands of time as far as REA is concerned, just within three years in the saddle. Raise the cup and clink the glasses for this astute administrator.
. Tom Garba is a Journalist, a political analyst, and an opinion writer. He writes from Yola-Adamawa State, and he can be reached through these means: