Niger State: The Powerless Power State
Disgusting it is to suffer this bitter experience. Anyone who watched the movie titled “Revolution” would have a Teleprompt clew of what it feels to revert to an era without electricity. Absence of electricity trivializes the relevance of any given socioeconomic system.
For one, lack of electricity promotes ignorance because access to broadcast media and other forms of e-education are scarce in the meanwhile. Relationships can be severed because cell phones are always power-down. Needless to emphasize the burden that this light-less situation has placed on small businesses as a result of which many have gone on recess.
If I were any government, I would stabilize electricity,vblock corruption, and leave. Our case in Niger State, to me, has defied any genuine justification. Moreover, when authorities are keeping mute in spite of reactions from several sections of the state. It must be understood, that there is not justifiably reason why, at least, any part of the Niger state capital should live in complete darkness for months while there are states that enjoy not less than 12 hours power supply in Nigeria. Any reason will be an attributed one.
Let me restated clearly that there are three major dams in Niger State. The Kainji Dam built in 1968, Jebba Dam built in 1985 and Shiroro Dam built in 1990. These are all hydroelectric dams that have been privatized since 2013 with hollow promises of bumper harvests. We also learned that a fourth dam is being built at Zungeru: its fate is awaiting it. Let me also reestablished that the Shiroro power station was “sold” to North South Power Company under the GENCO arrangement.
The official members of the consortium behind North South Power were said to include XS Energy Limited, BP Investment Limited, Urban Shelter Limited, Transatlantic Development and Investment Company, Roads Nigeria Plc (Nigeria) and NIGER STATE GOVERNMENT. If this is still the setting then there is more to be said. 1.The role of other business entities in the consortium is less of my concern than the designation of Niger state in that rank and file. Is the state government there as an investor, or; as in section 162 (2) of the Nigerian constitution (as amended 2011), the state is there as a trustee of our collective not-less-than 13% derivation? Although we read that 10% of the state’s 26% was sold off by the immediate past government, we should still have more than 10% to the credit of Niger state government.
Any way, whether Niger state is in the North South Power consortium for business or as a curator of section 162 (2) of the constitution, we the Nigerlites have a claim to whatever power that is being generated from the Shiroro power station. 2. A secondary claim would be that great men who are indigenes of our state are also stakeholders in the GENCO. For example, we have our darling Urban Shelter in North South power limited that obtained Shiroro.
Aside that, our own revered Col. Sani Bello happens to be Chairman, Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited which bought the Kainji Hydro Electric Plant and Jebba Hydro Station. If this setting still exists, this goes to say that Niger State has both tangible and intangible claims to electricity supply.
1. By virtue of the new concession regime, we are shareholders in the Shiroro power station and we are entitled to some dividends accordingly.
2. By virtue of section 162 (2) of the current constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we are entitled to not less than thirteen per cent of the revenue accruing to the federation account directly from all the hydro-power dams within the state.
3. By virtue of some of our own family members who are also part of the business alliances, we should know better why we are in the prolonged darkness. DISCOs should not play with our powers.
They should not divert our commonwealth. In fact, we should be enjoying electricity FOC in lieu of the redeemable preference shares that we possess, and, the right accorded us by the constitution.
Incongruously, however, our statutory and familiar powers do not yield the rightful social, economic, political or electric power development in the state.
Usman Mohammed. IBB University, Lapai-Niger State. 07060815443 (SMS ONLY).