A Week Of Distractions

By Nebo Ike
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A day is a long time in the political life of a nation. Just like yesterday it is a already 9 months since Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) relinquished power to All Progressive Congress (APC) government. It appears that all the APC government has been doing is preparation to deliver the ‘change’ it had used as campaign slogan to garner votes that brought them to power. A realistic assessment of acquisition of and ascendancy to power starts with the state of the economy as a global parameter.

With my last comment on the ‘State of the Economy’, I highlighted the poor showing, malnutrition and desolate state of the economy and the need for PMB to continue his anti-corruption war with aggressive pursuit for policies and legislation tantamount to the ‘new deal’ that would manifest the ‘change’ agenda of this government.

Those who read the comment may be saying Billions of Naira and Dollars recovered justified PMB’s means. My response to that would be that recovery of the loots are expected as one of the campaign promises. As these huge sums flow in what feasible and bankable investment framework to absorb them is on ground? So at the end of the four years, there would be record that trillions of Naira were recovered as have been recovered previously but no tangible structures to show for it.

The fear and concern of most Nigerians was corroborated last week when the Swiss government announced their preparedness to return $231m to Nigeria but only on the condition that the government must device a framework to build economic structure with the sum to be supervised by the World Bank. I was quite pleased with that condition attached to the loot repatriation.

The first serious attempt to reverse the drifting economy of this nation was when the 13th President of Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in his campaign raised the issue that until power sector is fixed no economic blue print could flourish and yield sustainable development. He planned to declare state of emergency on power sector.

The fact that the power sector is still a serious campaign and economic issue in Nigeria is because late President Ya’Adua was unable to declare state of emergency on power sector until his demise in May 2010. Surely this was one of his lofty dreams to launch economic success in the country but was frustrated by the 6th Assembly when they failed to pass his bill to legitimize the declaration.

Today many communities are living in total darkness to the chagrin of the common man whom the government swore to provide welfare. Agreed that many outages are ascribed to Disco annual preventive initiative, what excuses can avail them for keeping the masses in darkness for weeks and months continually?

Within a fortnight the legislature has hit hard at the nation’s power sector, first when the Senate Committee on Power/Energy rejected the hike in tariff jointly proposed by Discos and National Electricity Regulatory Commission. (NERC). However what was in doubt after the face-off was whether in rejecting the hike for the previous tariff, the position of fixed charge. Paying the old tariff includes fixed charge that has been roundly condemned. The legislature hit the power sector a second time when the use of technology to solve Nigeria’s problem came up for discussion at the Green Chambers about a fortnight ago. No one was left in doubt as to the vital role electricity could play in this regard, even as Ghana has celebrated 10 years uninterrupted electricity flow. The poor excuse of having been in short supply of gas, a necessary ingredient for electricity generation for more than twenty years, was resuscitated.

The judiciary was also waiting in resentment when suits by Lagos and Abuja Lawyers to restrain Discos from enforcing the new tariff purported to take effect from February 2015. The position is that with these injunctions not set aside no new tariff is in force.

The organized labour was not left out in the nerve-racking apprehension. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) through its States branches organized a nation–wide protests on the premises of Discos, insisting that Disco workers could not cross the gate to work while the new tariff was to be enforced.

The communities without meters or any measuring device to determine how to apply the proposed 40% hike in tariff were in disarray because no proper orientation and process education have been conducted by the Discos.

As the power sector was in discussion nationwide then came distractions. First for sports lovers it was difficult not to notice that Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) had hot potatoes on their hands: throw it into the mouth with the consequences or throw it away? Sunday Oliseh was hurriedly hired to replace Steven Keshi as Super Eagles Coach. Since his appointment controversies after controversies have trailed the coach. Was Oliseh qualified?

Was he properly hired with terms and conditions or was there breach of protocols? Was he right when he dealt with Vincent Enyeama and Emmanuel Emenike summarily? Can he compile team list without interference from NFF? These were questions thrown at NFF Technical Committee. Without waiting for more heat, Oliseh threw in the towel, alleging breach of probably non- existent contract.

That sporty dust had hardly settled before another distraction emerged; this time a wicked one. The Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi, SAN; Kogi State gubernatorial candidate under CPC in the 2011 elections had lost his life in an auto-crash on 6th March, Ghana’s Independence Day. His wife, Blessing and Son Joshua also fell to the cold hands of death, during the crash. Quite unfortunate for Ocholi’s family, Kogi State and Nigeria. A great loss for a Senior Advocate of Team ’86 extraction of the Law School who finished strong, early and with distinction. Adieu.

Iyke Ozemena
Ikechukwu O. Odoemelam & Co.,
Corporate Attorneys/Consultants

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