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Saturday, 15 April 2017

- Will Nigerians Ever Have The Benefit Of Enjoying 24 Hours Light?

Please I have a question, when God said

let there be light, was Nigeria among ?


This is not just for laughs,
it’s something we should pray God
help us fix since our leaders couldn’t
since 1960. Even the white men ruling
before Independence would have fixed
it. Shey if we had known, we would have asked them to carry on, and we
would have just had London in Nigeria
today. The only difference would have
been the weather, and it’s better
here because it’s warm.

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A constant burden on my living
experience in Nigeria for over 20
years has been the inefficient power
supply; I won’t be surprised if this
was the case before I was born. As a
result of the inefficiency in this sector, Nigerians have resulted in the
use of generators to power their
homes, offices, stores, everywhere,
which has resulted in massive noise
pollution – another constant burden. It is
hard to believe that the government in the past 56 years
have not proffered a solution to this
national embarrassment. Lately,
there has been lots of talk by
Nigerian leaders on the need to revive
the economy through locally produced products. How feasible is
that without the provision of constant
power? Growing up, whenever
‘brought the light’, we shouted
‘UP NEPA’, and when ‘they took It’, there were hisses and curses at
NEPA. NEPA (National Electric Power
Authority) used to be the institution in
charge of generation and distribution
of power in Nigeria before it became
PHCN (Power Holding Company of Nigeria). NEPA was privatised to
bring an end to the constant power
cuts experienced, but little has changed,
if not gotten worse. The
real problem lies with our power
generating capacity. Nigeria is endowed with about 5
trillion cubic metres of gas reserves –
9th highest in the world, and could
potentially power the whole of Africa
alone according to Kandeh Yumkella,
the former United Nations Under- Secretary-General and the Special
Representative of the Secretary-
General for Sustainable Energy for
ALL. South Africa generates about
44,000 megawatts of electricity,
40,000 megawatts is available in New York City alone. Spain generates
about 68,000 megawatts of energy, a
country of about 46 million people.
Yet, Nigeria, a nation of over 170
million people struggles to even
generate 4,500 megawatts of electricity. It begs the question, why has Nigeria
failed to tackle this fundamental
problem, the most basic of all
necessities to its citizenry? Some say
that there is a bigger conspiracy that
the fellows at the corridors of power – senators, governors, ministers, and
so on, have generator importation
businesses and efficient power
generation in Nigeria would be
detrimental to them. I oppose this
viewpoint, and I believe or would like to believe our leaders are smarter
than we give them credit for. Surely,
with the economic woes and the
dramatic drop of the Naira, they are
experiencing ‘bad business’ even
in that business. Others say it’s currently the
militancy in the South-South who
have sabotaged government plans to
improve electricity by blowing up
pipelines. Our power output woes
predate the militant insurgency; therefore, the problem is more
deeply rooted. I believe it has
stemmed out of a litany of
administrative and structural
inefficiency since independence and
lack of patriotism by the leaders, officials and even the citizens. The
government must realise that
Nigeria would NEVER be self-
sufficient; not even an export leader,
if regular power supply is not
provided. Our exports are low because the ease of doing business in
Nigeria is low, ranked according to
the World Bank as 169 out of 190
countries. A major cause of this is the
unavailability of power. Frankly, I am
not a fan of generators; the noise, the fuel purchase,
everything pertaining to it I detest.
An abnormality has become
normality in Nigeria. Such that
generators resume duties once it gets
dark in all homes. Countless cases of robberies and killings have
occurred in neighbourhoods due to
the lack of serenity at night. We the
Nigerian youth have to take charge
because nothing is given to us in this
part of the world. It churns my stomach to think that power outages
would still be in existence in this
country in the next 20 years. Darkness is
a terrible thing, and even
scripture says ‘that in the
beginning, the earth was without form and darkness was all over it.
Then God created light, and he
himself saw that it was good’. So why
can’t we ensure for ourselves
what is good? I have had the
privilege to live in the best and the worst places economically in Nigeria,
and one profound thing I realised is
that no one can function without power.
In the worst places, the poor
lowly citizens sit outside doing
nothing productive in the darkness except chatting or complaining,
hoping for light to come – to make
their night just a bit better. This lack of
productivity from a large stratum
of the population is a bad indicator
for the nation. We must be fully prepared for the
days ahead. In this extremely
modern world, electricity is as
important as the air we breathe. If
we are to have a shot at being a
great nation, we need to act. We need to remind our leaders that we
are not docile, and they have a
responsibility to us. Therefore, we
must protest the inefficient power
supply in Nigeria. The power of
protest cannot be over-emphasised. What future and legacy can this
current generation, set down for the
next generation? This is an article to
reawaken us all.
To remind us of whom we are and
what we deserve. We are Nigerians! Smart, intelligent, versatile,
productive, creative folks (the list is
endless) and we would not be short-
changed. We need to wake-up and
shine our eyes if we ever want 24hrs
power supply.

Prince Ooye's is the guy who
desires to improve the socio-
economic situation of the nation
through high-impact writing, and
critical economic discussions.

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