ELECTRIC power problem in Nigeria is like a cat which is generally believed to have nine lives. The problem has survived the efforts of all past federal governments to tame, let alone kill it. For instance, in 2005, the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, attempted to solve the power problem with the Power Reform Act which provided for the privatisation of the power sector. As part of that reform, the then National Electric Power Authority, which was renamed Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, was to be unbundled for privatisation. But the reform did not go far before Obasanjo left office in 2007. But before then, he had sunk $16 billion into the NIPP without anything to show for it.
Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who took over from Obasanjo, also acknowledged the enormity of electric power problem and promised to confront it headlong by declaring a state of emergency in the power sector. He never did so for the more than two years that the regime lasted. But President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who was also a key member of the Yar’Adua presidency, showed some zeal to confront the problem when he set up the presidential Task-force on Power on August 26, 2010, with a clear mandate to come up with a power reform time-table. The task-force came up with a road map for power which Jonathan launched in 2010. According to the power road-map, by the middle of 2013, all homes and factories in Nigeria will start to enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply.
President Jonathan even boasted that by the middle of next year, Nigerian homes will have no need for generating sets and those who already have, will give them out because generators will be irrelevant in Nigeria’s power equation. All these are to happen in the next six months. But is the goal realisable in the light of what is currently happening in the power sector? How far or near is the president from his goal? These were the questions for which Realnews went out to find answers. And from our investigations, Jonathan’s promise is unrealisable because there are very many road blocks on the way. What are these road blocks? Find that out in our cover story this week entitled: 2013 Power Deadline: Why It Cannot Work written by Pita Ochai, staff writer and a 2005 economics graduate of Benue State University. It is his first cover story for Realnews and he did justice to it. Merry Christmas and a very Happy 2013.
— Dec. 31, 2012 @ 01:00 GMT