*Hope rises on firm’s revival
Ganiyu Obaaro & Anthony Nwakaegho
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, on Tuesday, announced the appointment of Abdul-Akaba Sumaila, as the Acting Sole Administrator of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.
Sumaila replaces Joseph Isah, who retired from the civil service in September, having attained the mandatory 35 years in service.
The appointment takes immediate effect, a statement by Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, has said.
Sumaila is a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
He was until his appointment, a Senior Advisor, Government Relations with Shell Petroleum Development Company.
He holds a Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, from the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Business School Netherlands.
It would be recalled that Ajaokuta complex, which was midwife by successful Nigerian government over the last 40 years, was designed to lay the foundation for Nigeria’s technological development.
Among other objectives, the complex, which sits on the rocky terrains of Itakpe- Okene axis, Kogi state, North Central Nigeria, has, at its initial start of operations, offered thousands of jobs, manpower development, research and revenue, thus impacting the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
However, over the years, government’s policy summersault has derailed the project, as various government actions, including concession to foreign firms, particularly an Indian company, Indorama, had crippled the firm. It was also alleged that the Indian firm had embarked on criminal stripping of the firm, forcing unions and other stakeholders to ask the Federal Government to prosecute the firm.
Keen observers say the complex should be fully rejig to enhance solid minerals’ development, as well as diversify the nation’s economy away from crude oil, the nation’s current economic mainstay.