Strategic Innovation Leadership Framework

for Sustainable Management of Electricity Distribution Company in Nigeria – Post Privatization



By Habeeb A. Quadri

Haquad Group

New York, USA and Lagos, Nigeria



The imperious relationship between economic growth and electricity management has been globally established and acclaimed. Wittily, in spite of being blessed with the largest potentials for electricity in Africa, Nigeria enduringly remains a developing nation because electricity capabilities are underexplored. Within the last century, electricity management in Nigeria has evolved from fully state owned monopoly to private owned enterprise where formerly state monopolized electricity generation, transmission and distribution got segregated and unbundled. Electricity distribution unbundled into 11 private owned distribution companies with 60% stake while the Federal Government of Nigeria has a 40% interest. Electricity generation unbundled into 6 while electricity transmission outsourced to Manitoba Hydro, a Canadian company.

The transformation aimed at strategic repositioning of the power sector to meet the ever-growing electricity demand in response to the growing economic activities required for GDP growth. However, a leadership appraisal of the electricity distribution company’s post-privatization revealed that significant improvements have not been recorded in operations, customer satisfaction and the privatization mandate. Meanwhile with zero investment by the FG of Nigeria throughout the 1990s, the new democratic party in 1999 spent well over $10b unproductively on the power sector between 1999-2015. This pre-privatization lack of impactful investment by the Federal Government of Nigeria for almost a quarter of a century, gives the picture of the monster inheritance the new private investors are up against.

This is why Africa has about 13% of the world population but over 600m Africans (about 47% of the world population without electricity) have no access to electricity with implications on economic activities and the GDP. Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics (NNBS) confirmed 200m Nigerian population require about 200,000MW of electricity to optimize. But less than 45% (about 80m) Nigerians have real access to the grid electricity although below the global standard per capita. The World Bank declared that countries with less than 80% level of electricity access struggle with sustainable economic growth.

To augment, over 70% of Nigerians run generating plants costing about $13b every year and about 86% of corporations, industries and small & medium enterprises in Nigeria run operations with self-generated electricity, these not only destroy the ecology but also constitute over 40% of the production cost with multiplier effects on the consumers and the GDP. You further get the picture right? These pictures confirm the World Bank assertion that any country with less than 80% level of electricity access struggle with economic growth. This is why Nigeria/Africa struggles with economic growth. There is a clear correlation between electricity and economic growth.

These backdrops led to The World Bank forecast of electricity demand increase in Nigeria. Hence, the Nigerian power sector development remains one of the major strategic priorities of the US government under the Power Africa program. The World Bank (2018) approved the injection of $486m fresh credit facility and the proposed additional $2.6b 5-year intervention fund to reduce deficit, restore viability, improve transparency via sustainable cost reflective electricity pricing, ensure better service delivery to satisfy customers, reduce losses and reposition the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) for growth. These developments confirm the conclusion of the MD/CEO of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Engr. E. Mupwaya (2017) that: “A major problem that we are facing in the sector is characterized by liquidity challenge”.

These industry pictures reinforced the fact that Nigeria electricity industry remains a deficit market and a posterity venture. Therefore, electricity distribution companies in Nigeria need to employ unconventional leadership tools to remain sustainably competitive. Boal & Hooijberg (2001) noted that the global economy is experiencing a turbulent and dynamic phase that has created a society craving for speed, action, innovation and excellence. Corporate leaders face a tremendous pressure to deliver immediate results with fewer resources, which unfortunately, resonates unrealistically well with the electricity distribution companies…


To read entire paper, click here


About the Author

Habeeb Adekunle Quadri

University of Maryland, College Park, USA
Haquad Group Incorporation, NY, USA & Lagos, Nigeria

Habeeb Quadri
, MSc, MBA, PMP, PMI-RMP, (PhD) is a PhD candidate in Project Management Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, United States. A New York-based Entrepreneur/Managing Partner at Haquad Group Incorporation, Habeeb was previously a senior executive in the Financial District of New York with professional certifications in project management and risk management including graduate degrees in Economics and Business Management.

Habeeb earned executive graduate certificates in Corporate Governance, Leadership, Management Consulting and Strategic Innovation from Harvard and Stanford, and currently a visiting Research Fellow in Energy and Power at University of Oxford and London School of Economics, UK. Habeeb is well versed in accomplishing strategic business goals and meeting critical deadlines. Habeeb is an author and a speaker with research interests in Leadership, Strategic Innovation, PMO, Value Engineering and Economic Analysis. Habeeb can be contacted at [email protected].