By James Uche

There have been significant challenges in Nigeria’s power industry for as long as its citizens can remember. It serves as the main infrastructural bottleneck hindering the productivity and full economic potential of Nigeria, which boasts the largest economy in Africa.

For Nigeria to compete on the global stage, we need to be capable of producing end products locally at a competitive price. In the manufacturing of goods, electricity constitutes a major component of the operating cost. Therefore, having a stable and predictable source of electricity is paramount to growing the manufacturing sector in Nigeria.

The power sector is currently facing various issues. With notable drops in the frequency of power delivery to households, it seems as if the nation is reverting to the days of “Up NEPA”—assuming some regions and communities ever left that era. With such challenges at hand, how can Tinuade Sanda, the Managing Director of EKO Electricity Distribution Company, rest easy?

Tinuade is starting to feel the heat associated with overseeing a state as proverbially upside-down as the power sector. Before now, the former banker appeared to take everything in stride, exhibiting an attitude that indicated calm and control. However, from the decisions made so far, Tinuade seems to know her onions.

Dr. Tinuade Sanda assumed office as EKEDC Director in March 2021. She is an accomplished professional and business executive leader in the energy industry with over 22 years of extensive experience in financial management, financial reporting, treasury management, and particularly over 14 years of experience in leadership roles.

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For her, being the first female MD/CEO at EKO Disco marked a significant milestone, actively promoting more women to top management positions. Notably, the recent groundbreaking achievement of Engr. Mrs. Margaret Aina Oguntala, breaking a 65-year tradition of male engineers as presidents of a prestigious association, exemplifies the changing landscape. Her accomplishment is inspiring and illustrates that women are increasingly stepping into influential roles in the engineering field. This trend reflects a broader societal shift towards recognizing and empowering women in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Upon assuming office, Dr. Tinuade took off on the right note by developing and launching her service philosophy encapsulated by her mission’s possible mantra. This mantra revealed her mindset towards corporate leadership and growth. It underscored her belief in defiance against the odds, in rejection of mediocrity, in resistance to complacency, and in never settling for anything short of the best. It was a rallying cry to excellence. She knew that to attain collective success, the mindset needed to be right. A mindset of optimum success needed to be instilled. She understood that one’s team needed to be galvanized and inspired by a shared philosophy. This is the hallmark of purposeful leadership.

She has also shown reliability and commitment to further advancements. Notably, these include the record of the lowest-ever ATC&C of 15.69% in July 2022, showcasing financial growth via collection increase to over N16.8bn, and the launch of the fast-delivery mass metering program (Mobile MAP Initiative), resulting in the delivery of over 80,832 meters.

Tinuade is an active participant in the electricity market and a member of the CFO subcommittee of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), where her innovative ideas have led to positive changes introduced in the financial processes and systems of participants in the power sector.

She was a key member of the privatization team that examined Eko Electricity Distribution’s finances and taxes and ascended through the ranks to become Chief Finance Officer and Chief Treasury Officer before being named the Disco’s first female Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in 2022.

In 2020, she was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Financial Management & Entrepreneurship from the ICON University of Management Science & Technology, Benin Republic. She has attended several professional courses, including the Strategic Financial Analysis for Business Evaluation Program at Harvard Business School. She is a Fellow of many prestigious professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, the Institute of Management Consultants, and the Institute of Professional Financial Managers, London. She is also an Associate Member of the Risk Management Association of Nigeria, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, and the Institute of Directors, Nigeria.