MAY 29 2007-MAY 29 2008:Another Year Wasted!

Adeola Aderounmu.

It’s been one full year since an illegitimate government was installed or enthroned in Nigeria. One can easily be deceived that Nigeria is ungovernable because of the divergence of people, opinions, cultures, attitudes and size of the country. But Nigeria is not the only country that is diverse in such many ways.

What is missing and what has eluded Nigeria is sincerity of purpose on the parts of the political class and the useless military that have plunged the country since 1960. To this day, a typical Nigerian politician is a looter and an opportunist. All he or she is aspiring towards is self-betterment and personal enrichment. The other aspects of him/ her are deceit and pure hypocrisy.

Corruption remains the main thing in Nigeria-our biggest ailment. Politicians continue to loot and milk-away the country to dryness. They are never prosecuted and when they are prosecuted, they walk away with total freedom after a deceitful trial and bail session. Who is fooling who? All the ex and serving politicians who have stolen monies from the national treasury are still enjoying their loots while the rest of us suffer, just like that!

Millions of dollars continue to disappear from the treasury daily under shady and covered deals. Nothing is done to improve the standard of living in the country. What is the essence of the few flashes of magnificent buildings in Abuja when it is made only for a negligible part of the population? Those things in Abuja mean nothing and they serve no purpose to more than 90m people living below poverty line and surviving on less than 2 dollars a day.

Nigeria needs 100 000 MW of power but she is generating less than 1 000 MW. How can a sane mind explain this? One year after the illegitimate coming of Umaru Yar Adua, power supply has gone worse. Those who stole and mismanaged billions of dollars that were earmarked for electricity development in the past 8 years are living as freemen. What a country? Those kinds of people belong in life-time jail because their negligence has sent thousands to the grave beyond. Their ineptitudes have destroyed lives and homes. They have spread sadness in the land, and the sadness and darkness persist to this day-May 29 2008 and beyond.

In other aspects of our lives as Nigerians, we are on our own while the government continues to operate at a frequency that does not tally with the expectations of the masses. The governments in Nigeria do not care about the Nigerian people. The politicians are thieves in disguise. They lie to the people and they rigged their way into power. Imagine this very wicked gang led by Yar Adua asking the people to pay more for electricity which is not even available in the first place. Absolute nonsense and senselessness!

In Nigeria, nobody cares if you have water to drink or if you “hunger to death”. Nothing is plan and nothing is in focus. The hospitals are not functioning to optimum level. Even the illegitimate president goes to Germany for treatment of his own ailment. What a shameless man? Why didn’t he build any hospital in Katsina State when he was a governor FOR 8 WHOLE YEARS? Has anyone thought about that?

Housing is an issue that is not tabled in the Nigerian government agenda. I don’t remember the last time estates or residential areas were designed and executed in that country. It is up to you as an individual to loot somewhere and build your own house. Only very few people can work legitimately to achieve such noble dreams. Majority do it at the expense of other people who must suffer. Rare and Scanty Mortgage houses are up for the rich and mighty. Where is the hope of the common man?

This country Nigeria is known worldwide as a producer of oil. Yet in a very shameful way, Nigerians continues to import petroleum products for use in Nigeria. The refineries are not working at all or they are working inefficiently. All these years of talking and talking, these civilian and military idiots in power cannot do something to build new refineries or make the available ones work maximally/ optimally. How many shameful things and mad acts can one see in governance by these gangsters?

Really, hopelessness persists. Look at the network of roads. Highways are in terrible conditions and all tiers of governance are looking the other way. Nigerian roads are terribly, terribly bad and annoying. Expressways have become snail-ways. Rather than settle down to work, these senseless politicians go about jumping from one country to another. They move from one hotel to another and from one useless function to another. They don’t even know what they are doing. Absolute scalar quantities!

The Nigerian people too do not even know their rights at all. They are just doing follow-follow. Many political thieves are still waiting for their own opportunities to steal and loot directly and indirectly. In general, the lack of purposeful leadership and the presence of a powerless followership are rubbing this country of her greatness. What is left of Nigeria is individual’s will to succeed at any cost. If you take away self-will, there is no country left to call Nigeria.

How long shall we complain about all these ills before we begin to see remarkable changes that will touch the lives of more than the 140m people? How long before corrupt politicians are sentenced to prisons? When will thieves in political offices be shown the way out? When will violence stop and when will the votes be counted? How many more fuel pipeline explosions are we going to have this year?

Who will save our souls?

Festac Town Residents, NEPA and a Very Wicked Government

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…!

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

Related post: Uganda-setting the Pace By Iriemenam N. C

Kanu Nwankwo, A living legend

Adeola Aderounmu.

Kanu’s 37th minute goal was all Portmouth needed to clinch the 2008 FA CUP. Kanu is truly the golden boy. He is the most decorated African footballer ever.

U-17 gold in Japan 1993.
Olympic gold in Atlanta 1996.

He has won Champions league with Ajax….and many other cup glories in Italy and England.

Another FA cup glory at the tail end of a wonderful career coupled with “man of the match performance” and scorer of the only goal in 90 minutes of regular play time is a very wonderful way to silent his critics.

Kanu, what next?

Congrats to you, John Utaka, the rest of the team and your coach Harry.

Bloggers Unite for Human Rights As Nigerians Boycott British Airways

Adeola Aderounmu, May 15 2008.

Bloggers from around the world are focusing on Human Rights today May 15th.

Bloggers Unite For Human Rights

Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

This day also coincide with the start of the TOTAL BOYCOTT of British Airways Flights/ Services by thousands of Nigerians from around the world.

BA does not respect Nigerians.

BA maltreats Nigerian passengers.

British Airways recently mis-use the power of the British Police to evict more than 130 Nigerians from a Lagos bound flight.

Read about the entire story HERE

BOYCOTT BRITISH AIRWAYS FROM MAY 15TH

Adeola Aderounmu.

Boycott British Airways. We can do with one “less” airline. Nigerians are very respectful and hardworking people and they deserve to be respected.

British Airways does not respect Nigerians. Join this campaign and co-opt everyone that you know. BA makes a “hell” of money from Nigerians, they should learn to respect Nigerians.

BOYCOTT BA FLYER FROM RESPECTNIGERIANS.COM

Electricity: Crisis without end (Guardian Editorial)

I am re-posting the editorial from Guardian Newspaper on my blog. The biggest problem in Nigeria is corruption without end and the biggest headache from that corruption is electricity, a crisis without end.

This is the editorial from the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper:
Guardian Editorial 12 May 2008

LONG before the onset of civil rule in 1999, the lack of electricity to power Nigeria’s development has been a much discussed subject. First, the problem was to be solved in six months, then in 18 months, then by the end of 2007, when Nigerians were assured of 10000 megawatts of electricity. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in his inaugural address in 2007, also made the provision of electricity a major priority in his seven-point agenda. He later promised to declare a state of emergency on a project which by his own admission had cost the Nigerian people $10 billion under the Obasanjo administration with nothing to show for it. By last week, power generation had fallen to an abysmal 860 MW, a quantity not even sufficient for Lagos State.

It is clear that without electricity there can be no industrial development and all those grand visions of becoming one of the world’s leading economies by 2020 cannot be realised. The harm caused by the lack of power in Nigeria is incalculable. The statistics are daunting. In Kano, for instance, it has been estimated that more than half of the city’s 400 industrial establishments have been forced to close down due to lack of power. With these closures some half a million workers have been retrenched. The Kano example is being replicated all over the country and has compounded the already tenuous security situation.

Nigerians were expecting President Yar’Adua to hit the ground running with his emergency plans. In the event, he merely constituted a committee that submitted an unpublished report to him on the power situation. Not much was heard on this subject until recently when the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) came up with a proposal that government has accepted. Under this proposal, NERC explained that the cost of electricity consumption was low and therefore a disincentive to investors. It determined that an increase of N6 to N11 or 83 per cent per kilowatt hour might lead to “correct” pricing for the commercial viability of Nigeria’s power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure.

The cost of this increase over a period of three years with effect from July 1, 2008 will amount to N178 billion. This amount phased over three years will be borne initially by government as front-end subsidy to attract new investors. Ultimately, the Nigerian consumer will indemnify government for its losses by paying a higher tariff. This arrangement has been described as Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO). Armed with an enhanced purse, NERC feels confident that at last the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) will be able to sustain itself, repair decaying facilities and invest for expansion.

Optimistic as the NERC’s explanation may sound, it is regrettable that MYTO easily reminds us of the unsatisfactory arrangements with petroleum products where “correct” pricing had been a mirage against the backdrop of unending subsidies that inflicted pain on the consumer without achieving price stability. The galloping pump prices are the direct result of a failed policy now being mimicked, it seems, by NERC. We hope that the Nigerian electricity consumer will not similarly be driven down a bottomless pit.

The MYTO is quite unnecessary at this point; what Nigerians want is an immediate solution to the power crisis in the country. Nigerians have no electricity for domestic or commercial purposes. To begin now to warn them of an impending increase amounts to gross insensitivity and could be construed as double jeopardy in a country where individuals and businesses have had to provide alternative power at high cost to themselves. For the average Nigerian whose refrigerators have grown mould from lack of use, reminding him of an increase in tariff looks like putting the cart before the horse.

Surely the interest of government should first be to provide the electricity before charging for it. If it costs N178 billion to attract foreign investors, then so be it. What the Nigerian government ultimately charges the consumer is a separate matter of public policy that takes so many variables into account. The allusion to an increase in electricity tariff among a people in darkness is provocative. First let there be light and every other thing including tariffs can be considered.
A holistic approach to the power problem should be adopted including other sources of energy such as coal, wind and solar. Additionally, states should embark on the provision of electricity as service to their people. Older Nigerians will recall that Jos in Plateau State once had its own electricity generating company that provided uninterrupted power supply for years until it was taken over by NEPA, the precursor of PHCN.

In tackling the power problem government must be careful not to be seen to be inventing new solutions all the time. The neglected electricity infrastructure throughout the country should be rehabilitated. Selective on-going projects carried out under the umbrella of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) by competent and professional engineering firms should be completed. The nation’s electricity consumption for the next 30 years should be anticipated and a work plan drawn up to achieve this.

In commending President Yar’Adua for trying to find solutions to a rather intractable problem, may we suggest that one year down the life of his administration, the pace of handling this emergency has been disappointing. Nigerians want to see immediate, medium, and long term solutions to the problem. So far, there has been no immediate solution on the agenda. In the mean time, Nigerians continue to groan and lament the inability of their governments to come to their rescue in tackling a universal primary index of development.

Related story: Obasanjo denies power corruption

British Airways and Nigerian Passengers (The Guardian Editorial)

The Guardian Editorial 9th May 2008.

LINK: British Airways and Nigerian Passengers

THE British Airways’ decision to evict over 100 Nigerian passengers from a Lagos-bound flight from London on March 27 is understandably causing a furore, and appropriately, the contempt and arrogance displayed by the management of the airline has been condemned by aggrieved Nigerians. The circumstances surrounding the incident were embarrassing and the response of the airline was somewhat high-handed. In this regard, we fully endorse President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s displeasure, and his directive that the incident should be investigated.



On March 27, Nigerians aboard a Lagos-bound British Airways flight from London, had reportedly protested the maltreatment of one of their compatriots who was being deported and was on the same flight. The miffed passengers, including one Ayodeji Omotade, who had served as spokesperson, were later ordered out of the plane. The British Airways in a press statement says it had to “offload the passengers”… in consultation with, and on the advice of the United Kingdom (UK) Police…”



And the reason for this decision, classified as “a rare occurrence,” was “to ensure the safety of our passengers, aircraft and crew”. British Airways justifies its reaction on the ground that its crew members “were subjected to verbal abuse and physical assault”. Mr. Omotade who was reportedly singled out had his luggage seized for days, he was banned from flying British Airways “for life”; he was arrested by the police and was later arraigned in court.



Since the incident occurred, on March 27, British Airways in the face of rising public outrage and criticism, maintained a disdainful silence until May 2, when it issued a press statement, through a media consultant. This official response arrived more than a month late, and over a week after both President Umaru Yar’Adua and the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Harold Demuren had both expressed serious concerns.


The president, even from his sick bed, had reportedly directed the Minister of State for Transportation (Aviation) Mr. Felix Hyatt to investigate the incident, stressing that ‘under no circumstance will his administration tolerate the subjection of Nigerian passengers to less than acceptable international standards of treatment”.


Government’s response was not swift enough, but it was well-advised. The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since held meetings with the British High Commissioner over the matter. We share the view that the Nigerian government should be ready always, to defend the rights of Nigerians and to seek explanations as it is doing. Airlines seem to have developed a habit of treating Nigerian passengers shabbily.


Besides the President’s directive, Nigerians in Diaspora have been collecting protest signatures against British Airways, there is also a widespread campaign on the internet involving Nigerians who want the airlines sanctioned. A UK-based non-governmental organisation, Africans United Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA) has decided to deny British Airways its patronage, in addition to encouraging its business partners to do the same. The levity with which British Airways has so far handled this matter is most strange, certainly it violates the ethics of community relations in business. The NCAA had demanded that within three days, i.e. by Monday, April 28, the airline should indicate a plan to compensate the passengers. Has it complied? Possibly not, for the matter was ignored in its press statement.



British Airways makes brisk business on its Nigeria-UK routes, (some would even say it is its most lucrative); it would have been wiser to handle this incident with greater sensitivity. But the airline is not alone in its alleged mistreatment of Nigerian passengers, even if what happened on March 27 was an isolated case. Recently, in Lagos, Delta Airlines reportedly ordered some of its passengers to disembark at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport for reasons that are still the subject of controversy between the airline and the concerned passengers. It is, however, quite possible that some passengers on the British Airways flight in question had over-reacted in seeking to protect their compatriot who was being deported. Some of our compatriots tend to be too dramatic in asserting their rights, and in many situations abroad, this has been the catalyst for undeserved humiliation.


Nonetheless, their rights to freely express themselves should not have been undermined to the extent of treating them with such disrespect. It is just as well that Omotade has taken his case to court. Persons who are similarly aggrieved may seek legal redress.


This incident occurred in March. Why is it that, but for President Yar’Adua’s recent directive, neither the Nigerian High Commission in the UK nor the Ministry in charge of aviation noticed or commented on it? Obviously, some persons had failed in their duty to Nigeria and her citizens.


When all is said and done, the incident should provide British Airways an opportunity to review its customer relations/communications processes and seek to make amends where necessary.