PHCN: Mr President hear our clarion call

By Olajumoke Akinlaja-Ajibulu
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To those who do not know, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), formerly the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) it is an organization statutorily set aside for the governing of the use of electricity in Nigeria, both in terms of power generation and distribution.

The establishment of the organization dates back to 1960 when the Niger Dam Authorities (NDA) and Electricity Cooperation came together to form the Electricity Cooperation of Nigeria (ECN). Then, immediately after the Nigerian civil war the management of ECN changed its nomenclature to NEPA.

For several years despite consistent perceived cash investment by the Federal Government, power outages have been the standard for the Nigerian populace, and are now seen as normal by the citizens of the country. To many Nigerians the word PHCN is considered as an effigy of darkness. To make matters worst PHCN is the only organization you cannot sue for charging you for fees over a service they did not provide, apart from this, they give you ''crazy bills'' which you can't resist, and failure to pay it they get you disconnected. The decay and the high profile corruption in the Nigerian energy sector have exposed the nation to avoidable shame in the comity of nations.

Some officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) recently blamed the short fall in energy supply on system disturbance. They further said the way the national grid was being operated makes it difficult for the whole country to experience a total blackout whenever there was a system disturbance, saying they no longer operate a single grid network since this administration came on board. The grid is now divided into three Islands (Island I, II and III). If there is disturbance in one, the rest two will be on. We been familiar with different excuses given by them to defend their failures year in year out.

However, the experience of unstable power in Nigeria has caused lot of damages and discomforts in the businesses of Nigerians, be it in the hospital, corporate entities, Schools, research institutes, residences, farms, factories, etc. Nigerians now largely contribute to global warming and depletion of the ozone layer as a result of fumes and noise generated from their generating set both at home and in offices. Some people have opined that the use of solar energy will serve as a permanent solution to our unending energy crises. I believe with Prof. George Adebiyi (America based mechanical engineer) this laudable vision can be seamlessly achieved.

Unfortunately some Nigerians pay their bills regularly yet they still get disconnected from benefiting from power supply, this frequently happens with the claim from PHCN that they don't see prove of payments from these affected residents. If PHCN have failed in the provision of what they are primarily established to do, have they equally failed in keeping records of those that pay? And I ask this question further, in 21st does PHCN lacks the data bank that covers records of defaulters and those of the law abiding citizens who pay their bills regularly?

Even if they display the photocopy of their bills on walls or gates as advised by PHCN, won't it get washed off as a result of heavy heat of the sun or downpour? It is again shocking to see PHCN officials connecting defaulters who perpetually have refused to pay their bills, but after collecting kick backs of N1, 000.00 (or more) from them, they get them connected at the expense of others who pay promptly and regularly. This is a fact because I'm also a victim of this ugly situation, and this is rampant in my neighborhood precisely at Anthony village (where I live in Lagos, Nigeria). If any disciplinary action must start in Nigeria, it must be in Anthony village, Ikeja, Ikoyi, Satellite town, Alagbado, Iponri ,V/I, Lagos State at large, Ogun state, Abuja, Oyo State, Anambra, Enugu, Kano, Katsina, etc. Nigeria is the only country we have and we must work towards making it great again, come what may. This is also an open invite to all the anti graft bodies EFCC and ICPC to probe the power sector and the enemies of progress who are undermining the efforts of the former and currents administrations towards revamping the energy sector in Nigeria.

This injustice and cruelty that Nigerians are frequently facing must stop now and our President (Umaru Yar'Adua) who is our last symbol of hope in this regard should come to our aide once and for all, so as to effect the long awaited paradigm shift (emergency in the power sector) in the interest of Nigerians and friends of Nigeria.

God bless Nigeria!

By Olajumoke Akinlaja-Ajibulu
(A Nigerian Diplomat)
[email protected]