Darkness in the Land



THE privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigerian by the present administration on September 13, 2013, gave Nigerians the hope that power outage will be a thing of the past. But 18 months after the privatisation was completed, Nigerians all over the country have been agonising over the incessant power outages.

Perhaps, what worries Nigerians most is that, the worse the power supply gets, the more crazy bills the distribution companies, DISCOs, send to consumers. This has led to several protests across the nation but it appears no one seems to have the answer to the perennial power problems in the country. Power outage in a way has been the undoing of many medium and small scale businesses in the country, which cannot afford to fuel their generators at a high cost to remain in business. Suffice it to state that this has also worsened the unemployment situation in the country.

Yet there is no respite to the power problem in the near future. This is because the federal government is still flapping its hands in the air, and had over time, blamed shortage of gas which is caused, in most cases by vandalisation of gas pipeline, as the major reason for power outages. This excuse is most unacceptable given that government should provide adequate security for the pipelines. It is also annoying because, the government has spent quite enormous amount to engage security outfits to protect the pipelines and is yet to arrest and prosecute the vandals conclusively.

Government’s inability to arrest the situation, results in the harsh reality now that Nigeria is only generating about 3500 megawatts of power to service 170 million people compared to South Africa with lesser population which generates about 40,000 megawatts. It means that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has not made any significant improvement in power generation in the six years that he has administered the affairs of this country despite the much acclaimed power road map it launched in 2010, when power generation was at 2500 megawatts. What this boils down to is that as the government of President Jonathan winds down, he has failed woefully in fulfilling his promise to solve the power problem in the country.

This brings us to the question as to whether the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari, president-elect, will put an end to power outages in the country. He can, if he shuns politics and running populists policies and leverages on the structures that has been put in place by the outgoing administration and provides concrete security for the gas infrastructure and ensure appropriate pricing machinery to enable gas producers to sell to DISCOs instead of exporting it abroad where it is most lucrative. Realnews in 2013 predicted that ending the power outage in 2014 as promised by the government will remain a mirage has once again chronicled the appalling power situation in the country as the administration of Jonathan ends in 10 days to enable the incoming administration to know where to begin in addressing the problem to bring relief to the suffering masses of the nation. The cover story for this week’s edition which is entitled: A Nation in Darkness was written by Anayo Ezugwu, reporter researcher. Enjoy it.

Maureen Chigbo


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— May 25, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT


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