By JÃ©rÃ´me-Mario Chijioke Utomi
Naturally, the main factor, according to one report, which daily shortens the seriousness with which communications from officials / public offices are taken by the population is that the generality of such information is often referred to as “self-denigration”.
They are regularly known to encourage complacency because voters feel that issues raised by the government have already been addressed or that the priority is often not always in line with the will / opinion of the people on actions taken subsequently.
As expected, similar sentiments greeted the recent assurance from Energy Minister Abubakar Aliyu that the federal government was ready to generate 25,000 megawatts of electricity in the country.
The minister recently revealed this in Katsina state during his inspection of several power transmission substation projects, including the ongoing wind turbine project located in Lambar Rimi in the local government area of Charanchi as part of the efforts to improve businesses related to electricity and other economic activities in the country.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the minister’s assurance is by no means political and would, for obvious reasons, have aroused some enthusiasm among Nigerians. If not for another reason, the electricity sector, as we all know, remains very essential to meet our industrial development aspirations and energy is particularly important as many artisans have been made redundant while many manufacturing and textile companies have closed their doors due to epilepsy power supply. .
It affects the survival of humanity, our nation. After all, any nation, according to former United States of America (USA) Barack Obama (USA) that cannot control its energy sources, cannot control its future.
Notwithstanding the validity of the above statements and the strategic role that electricity plays in the socio-economic development of any nation, Nigerians are no longer moved by such a promise / assurance coming from the federal government in this direction.
What they expect from government is no longer assurance but action, progress and results. In fact, in the opinion of many, the epileptic power supply challenge in Nigeria can easily be compared to the proverbial cat with nine lives that survived different administrations.
Nigerians are particularly unhappy that instead of generating megawatts of electricity, successive administrations, including the current federal government, are known to generate megawatts of assurances that lack fairness in process and results.
They (Nigerians) now agree that the cultivation of promises of power generation and improvement by successive administrations is now seen as a familiar music hall act.
This challenge is by no means specific to President Buhari’s administration. Rather for those who have followed the trend since 1999 when democracy resurfaced in the political geography called Nigeria.
Let’s take a look at some of these past developments / promises.
In 2005, the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, relying on the media, attempted to solve the electricity problem with the Power Reform Act which provided for the privatization of the electricity sector.
As part of this reform, the former National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), which was renamed the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), was to be unbundled for privatization. But reform didn’t get very far until Obasanjo left office in 2007. But before that, a report observed that he had gobbled up $ 16 billion into the NIPP with nothing to prove.
Before the dust raised by this colossal garbage and phantom promise could set in, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) in 2010 proposed a similar roadmap for electricity reform in the country.
When launching the program, Mr. Jonathan even bragged about saying; âAs President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I and my Vice President, Arc. Namadi Sambo, GCON, understands that what we do with the Nigerian power supply industry will go a long way in determining whether Nigeria remains in the dark or joins the rest of the world in the development race.
âOur commitment is to end our country’s stunting and usher in the fresh air of prosperity by pursuing a new era of sector reform that is driven by better service delivery to every category of electricity sector customers. Nigerian. By promising that with diligent implementation and meticulous application of what this roadmap calls for, we will see an end to chronic power shortages. “
Once again, to give credit to Jonathan’s roadmap for electricity, Professor Chinedu Nebo, then Minister of Energy, told Nigerians and the world in 2013 that the process of privatizing the electricity sector President Jonathan’s electricity was going on and already.
Successful bidders, he said, paid 25 percent of the bid. They would have to pay off the remaining 75 percent in less than 90 days, after which they would take possession of the distribution companies. In addition, Nebo, according to reports, had said that the handover of the National Integrated Electricity Projects, NIPP, would soon make the electricity supply more stable.
Sadly, as when he left office in May 2015, there was no sign of any appreciable increase in power generation or the fresh air of prosperity promised.
In 2015, the All Progressives Congress (APC) led the federal government.
The previous year, the party had promised, as part of its manifesto project, to revitalize the national electricity and energy sector. According to the party, its power supply program would vigorously pursue the expansion of power generation and distribution to 40,000 megawatts in four to eight years. The party would also work diligently to make electricity available from renewable energy sources such as coal, solar, wind and biomass for domestic and industrial use, wherever they are visible.
In 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari, at the head of the federal government, successively launched a roadmap for the country’s electricity sector.
Without going into the specific concepts or approaches contained in this approach, the roadmap which, according to government sources, is part of the results of the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on August 31, 2018, will involve Nigeria in The German government and Siemens, by implementing projects to address the challenges of the sector, expand the capacity for future energy needs and supplies in Nigeria.
Continuing with the season / culture of promises / apologies that have in the past âproduced a monument to nothingness,â President Buhari on a nationwide broadcast on June 12, 2020, notably said; âThe electricity sector remains very essential to meet our industrial development aspirations and we are addressing the challenges that still exist in the supply of electricity through different strategies.
“We are carrying out some critical projects within the framework of the transmission rehabilitation and extension program, in particular: Alaoji in Onitsha, the Delta power plant in Benin and Kaduna in Kano, the 330 KV DC 62 KM line between Birnin Kebbi and Kamba, the Lagos / Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project, Abuja Transmission Ring Scheme and the Northern Corridor Transmission Project. Our agreement with Siemens will transport and distribute a total of 11,000 megawatts by 2023, to meet our electricity needs.
Today, the nation and administration have not yet left this season of promise / reassurance.
Certainly, while I believed and still believe in the FG’s efforts to ensure stable electricity in the country, the truth must be told that the whole gamut of failures rests on the tripod of corruption, summer politics and lack of sincere political will. / the desire of the nation’s managers to engage the best minds to help get the answers and deploy the resources we need to move the sector in the right direction while getting the result we need as a nation .
This article further argues that at the most basic level it is evident that what Nigerians need is the result, not reassurance or reassurance; they want to see and enjoy stable electricity delivered at a very reasonable tariff rate. Other than that, this season of doubt will continue.
Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi is the Program Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice (SEJA), Lagos. He could be contacted via [email protected]/08032725374.