Still on energy and power crisis

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Some nigerians have given up on government on several different issues depending on how they perceive the issues as individuals. Most nigerians who are pessimistic towards government policies and activities aimed at improving government presence through infrastructural development etc, may be underinformed, misinformed,misinformed or just uninformed. However, most nigerians are in agreement on one area of government where huge failure have been recorded repeatedly. It has continued uncontrolled and unabated. Power and energy, a very critical area in economic advancement and national development have unfortunately become very problematic as successive nigerian governments have failed to revamp and reposition it for a true expansion of the nigerian economy. Incessant power failure have become like AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome),an ailment that yet has no cure just like power failure in Nigeria. This writer, while growing up in the early eighties was witness to some steady power supply. Then interruptions in power supply where scarce and they lasted for few minutes. But my parents use to worry about the fact that power outages where becoming a common occurrence when compared to years past. Then, i couldn't figure out their point. And so, the situation continued to deteriorate until we found ourselves in this situation were an entire area could be without electricity for months for reasons they know nothing about. Suffice it to state that the most ridiculous angle to such situation, is that bills are yet sent to homes and offices without power supply lasting for weeks and months. Recently, PHCN introduced the pre-paid meters for efficiency and effectiveness in customer management or so it seems.. But typical nigerian syndrome took centre stage and have prevented persons who desire to purchase these metres for their homes from accessing them. PHCN officials soon realised how effective and efficient the new method really is and how it has shortchanged their sharp practices, and so, they started hoarding the metres. At the return to democracy under obasanjo most nigerians where happy when chief bola ige, with a track record of success as an elected governor in the second republic was appointed minister for power. Several other prominent nigerians have since occupied the same position and yet the situation have continued to deteriorate. Chief obasanjo in his eight years as president of Nigeria, continuously budgeted huge sums of money for the power sector as he repeatedly acknowledged the importance of the sector to the economy and development. During this time unfortunately and ironically, Nigeria assumed a notorious position in world rating as the highest importer and consumer of electric generator. Also, in a desperate effort by nigerians to beat the odds, they started to acquire the smallest size of power generating set available in the market, with a reputation to be the fastest selling because of its low price comparatively. Popularly known as 'i better pass my neighbour' nigerians spend their hard earned money in acquiring an alternative means of power supply. Ironically, they still pay high PHCN bills, power or no power.

In recent times, PHCN have become the standby to generating sets as no home or business premise is deemed complete until a generator has been installed, big or small. Over the years uncountable nigerians have died as a result of toxic and dangerous carbon monoxide they inhaled during sleep, while leaving their generators indoors. Businesses have been closed due to inability of their owners to install generator. Some young aspiring entrepreneurs have had their dreams of owning business killed because they can't afford the cost owning a generator, which is a major consideration in preparing a feasibility study for a business. Certainly, the cost incurred in having and maintaining power through an alternative means adds up to make starting a business in Nigeria very expensive. President goodluck Jonathan have recently declared that our children will not have to depend on generator as government is doing all in its power to check the power situation. One is tempted to regard this statement as political cheap talk going by several promises made by governments in the past. There are several issues that may work against the honest intentions of government in this respect. Over the years, the importation of generators have become booming business in Nigeria. Even government patronage is enjoyed by this importers. Where would an end to the situation in the sector leave them? What of government officials who make huge sums of money from such transactions? The issue of privatisation has continued to linger. The only way out of the woods for the nigerian government is to have a sincere attitude towards the situation, eschew politics for a logical conclusion to be got.

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Articles by Christian Chinedu