By Adeola Aderounmu
At various times I have described the Nigerian government with harsh terms. The situation remains the same.
The government of Nigeria promised to give Nigerians constant electricity power by the end of 1986. Twenty-six years later Nigerians are still living in darkness.
A cheap blackmail will be that each successive government would absolve itself of the shortcomings of the previous government. Another senseless blackmail is for the civilians to blame the military gangsters and vice versa.
But the constant truth is that every government in Nigeria, past and now, is useless and corrupt. Each government has neglected its primary roles over the years and almost no one set of corrupt politicians or tropical gangsters is better than the other in terms of providing for the populace and maintaining infrastructure.
On June 1 2013, the useless (present) government of Goodlcuk Jonathan will increase the cost of electricity and consumers will start to pay more for what is not available.
It is only in Nigeria that people pay for what is not provided.
It takes a foolish, wicked and senseless government like that of Ebele Goodluck Jonathan to increase the price of what it is not providing.
This strategy has been used in the past-with promises made and no delivery on the promises. The cost of electricity keeps going up.
This government is wicked and foolish.
What is wrong with Nigerians? Are they going to accept this nonsense, again?
I think it is time for them to emerge from their holes and push this government to the dustbin of history once and for all.
There is no alternative other than ending this murderous and repressive regime. It is the most useless ever!
By Adeola Aderounmu.
The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has threatened to go on strike if Umaru made good his promise to declare a state of Emergency (SOE) in the power sector. Now, this is Nigeria at work.
Unless my interpretation is wrong, this should mean that NEPA workers are threatening to go on strike? It is possible that ninety-nine percent of Nigerians do not have electricity in their homes while these men and women are at work at NEPA or PHCN. What then shall we miss if they go on strike? Can it be worse than now that cockroaches and rats breed safely in our second–hand Ojuelegba deep freezers?
In fairness to the Electricity Workers the problems in the power sector is out of their control or human resource capabilities. The problems have more association with the general negligence and mis-governance perpetrated by the leadership at the centre over the past four decades. The various looting governments have betrayed the masses while amassing wealth to themselves. In Nigeria, there is nothing like maintenance culture or improvement of the states of infrastructure.
Looters and thieves like Abacha, Buhari, Babangida, Abdulsalami and Obasanjo are big parts of the reasons why NEPA became an extremely miserable statutory body. The NUEE is taking the issue of the SOE very seriously and the union representatives have challenged Umaru in a way that one cannot ignore.
They are of the opinion that Umaru knows nothing about the problems in the power sector. In another way, one can postulate that if Umaru knows the problems he is pretending he doesn’t by looking the other way.
From the 2008 oil windfall, Umaru’s government is planning to spend a fresh $5bn in fixing the electricity problem. What about getting back the billions from Obasanjo and his gangs who pocketed several billions in the last decade while pretending to be working on the problem?
What will be the implication of a declaration of SOE in the power sector? How will that translate to improved power supply for the helpless masses that do not have the same privilege or opportunity as the high and mighty residing in the Maitama District of Abuja?
In NUEE words: if the government can take the supply level to 50, 000MW there will be a substantial improvement in the supply of electricity to Nigerians. This is a very powerful statement and a very serious indictment of the federal government. Has it been a deliberate wickedness that power supply in Nigeria today is below 2, 000 MW? Who or what is responsible for the dismal supply that we have today?
There are certain individuals and establishments today in Nigeria that would never wish for any improvement in the power situation. They are smiling to the bank daily as they make good money from selling generators to the helpless masses. Of course, this story is not new but one can only imagine that the recklessness in the oil sector has spilled to the generator business. In Nigeria personal interests have continued to override national interests. What a shame?
The NUEE went ahead to inform Nigerians that the SOE in the power sector will not change anything in Nigeria. They also have words for the prayer warriors of Nigeria. You can pray and fast for as long as you want to but if this government does not build power stations, nothing will change and declaring a state of emergency is not the way to go about it either. Sadly, it takes 3 years before a power station can be completed and functional.
If NEPA workers in present day Nigeria go on strike they will probably not be missed. Instead the people will be happy that there will be no electricity bills for the power supply that they didn’t get in the first place. So for their own good NUEE should drop the threat and await the implications of the SOE that Umaru has up his sleeves.
Who knows? Part of the $5bn may be used to settle their salaries arrears and to effect payment of future salaries. This might be the year they have also been praying and fasting for! A year and a new era when they don’t have to use false billings to supplement their pay package!
We shall all see if this SOE implies the prosecution of the saboteurs in the power sector. Will it mean an end to some individuals and companies making profits at the expense of the downtrodden masses? We will get to find out how Umaru will improve the power supply by building new power stations or upgrading the existing ones to maximum output/ efficiency.
With a declaration of SOE in the power sector imminent, Nigerians who have been paying for the power that is not available will be anxious to know if the hopes that they have kept alive over the years will finally payoff or not. On this matter, NEPA or NUEE should have a little patience with Umaru just as the rest of us have done with NEPA over the years.
I am not a fan of Umaru at all (because I will not forget that he was imposed illegally on Nigerians by Obasanjo) but in the absence of any choice at this moment and in the presence of our overstretched resiliency I am very keen on what SOE means in the power sector.
If the effects will be magical in less than 3 years that is required to build a functional power station, then I would argue that SOE should be declared on Nigerian roads, housing system, educational system, health system, anti-corruption system, socio-welfare system, political system and the scandalous electoral processes among other grossly neglected aspects of our difficult lives.
If the whole shout of SOE is another sham then I’ll never forget how a battling Umaru became part of our shameful history in the first place.
By Adeola Aderounmu
The Festac Town Resident Association (FTRA) has sent out a circular in which the body instructed residents of Festac Town not to pay the NEPA/PHCN* bills starting from May 2008. The reasons stated for this line of action are as follows:
* Lack of electric meter reading by NEPA
* Extortion through estimated coded and crazy bills
* Epileptic power supply
* Refusal of NEPA to install pre-paid meter to Festac Town Residents
* Failure of Festac Town NEPA District Business Manager to improve on the power supply and to facilitate the installation of pre-paid meter to Festac Town Residents as promised by him
* Failure of NEPA to respond to the letter written by the Resident Association to Eko Zone Chief Operation Officer for dialogue
The Resident Association thereby advised Festac Town Resident not to pay NEPA bills with effect from May 2008 until further notice.
The problem of power supply in Nigeria is now a national embarrassment. Nigeria generates exceedingly less power that she needs. Almost every home and business in Nigeria now thrives on the use of own power generators and various types of loud machines contributing endlessly to both noise and air pollution. In a nut shell, the power situation in Nigeria is a monumental disaster.
Rather than finding ways to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses in this area of gross social neglect, successive (and disruptive) regimes in Nigeria have done almost nothing in the positive direction to take the bull by the horns. Instead, the power sector in Nigeria has prevailed as one of the most corruption-ridden segments of the society.
One year after Umaru was illegitimately bundled to the realm of political power, the electric power situation has gone from worse to worst. The scenario clearly indicates that Umaru and his gangs have no idea of what the electric power sector in Nigerian entails. Indeed, almost 365 days since this wrong government emerged, there are no clear indications of its vision or mission.
Festac Town residents are not alone in this suffering; all the masses in Nigeria are experiencing similar fate. Endless blackouts and extreme frustration is the order of the day. The neglect in the power sector affects us at home and it also plays a significant role in the unemployment situation.
In present day Festac Town, it seems that the availability of electric power is almost entirely reduced to personal generators. This means that the power supply from NEPA is virtually non-existent. It is true that cockroaches now thrive in units that are supposed to serve as refrigerators and freezers. It also cost more than N6 000 per month to procure fuel to run your power generating unit if you live in a 2-bedroom flat.
It is not clear if this struggle by the FTRA will succeed or not. In Nigeria the masses have been rendered powerless and voiceless. Indeed, they always end up suffering more in the end than at the beginning of the struggle. In a persistent fashion, one can pessimistically predict that in the end, NEPA will make Festac residents to crawl on their knees. It always happens like that at the individual level.
It is not a secret that salaries of NEPA workers are paid from the estimated and crooked bills that they extort from their fellow Nigerians. But if all the residents of Festac (the common people that is) find a common rhythm this time and if everyone plays to the tune/ dictate of the Residents’ Association, there might just be a chance to change the pattern. A change must always begin from somewhere or someone.
But how long can the people go without paying bills? Would they not end up accumulating unpaid bills in the end? If the power situation improves, how will reconciliation of the billing system and the severed relationship with the district NEPA be mended?
I still have hope in Nigeria but I have a problem on whom to address my suggestions. Almost all the politicians in Nigerian got to power through crooked means and they remain unaccountable to the people. Many of them are very busy every weekend jumping from one wedding to another. Several of them simply do not comprehend what serving the people entails. They preferred to be served. In general, governance in Nigeria remains at a level simply devoid of purpose.
A few days ago, some Nigerians were almost in tears as they expressed fears and anxiety over the announcement by the Umaru led government that the tariff on electricity will be increased. As one citizen puts it, “we are paying for electricity that we don’t use and still they want to increase the tariff, it is wickedness”. Indeed, it is only a wicked and a heartless government that will increase the cost of what is not available!
*The use of NEPA instead of PHCN is deliberate.
Acknowledgement: Useful information from Abayomi Efosa Omoruyi.
Thy Glory O’ Nigeria…!
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