#BringBackOurLight: Why Fixing Power Should Be A Gov’t Emergency (READ)

#BringBackOurLight: Why Fixing Power Should Be A Gov’t Emergency (READ)

By Opinions | The Trent on March 1, 2016
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by Akinola Yusuff 

Looking at the number of hand fans used by colleagues in a lecture yesterday, I do not need to have a degree in meteorology nor see a meteorologist to know that these are the days when Nigerians are clamouring to ‪#‎BringBackOurLight‬ before shouting out to Bring Back Our Girls. These are the days when I sleep on a dry mattress and wake on a wet mattress, because of the unfriendly temperature facilitated by epileptic power supply in Nigeria. Viewing overwhelming Nigerian masses boycotting their rooms every night to catch the breeze passing their corridors and verandas, then I begin to question the dividends of privatising the Nigerian power sector.

Miserably, when one of the pillars of a building collapses, then the walls are on the verge of disintegration. Stable power supply is one of the cornerstones of a stable economy.

Going through some streets some days ago, I saw many able-hands that had been economically amputated as a result of the epileptic power supply in Nigeria. The power situation is so bad that most Nigerians have now resorted to the use of generators.

Photo Credit | Facebook/Akinola Yusuff Yu-jolly
Photo Credit | Facebook/Akinola Yusuff Yu-jolly

Even government establishments, as well as Aso Rock Villa – the seat of power in Nigeria – now have generators. If that is the dividends of privatisation of the power industry, then it is unnecessary necessity, because Nigerians are no longer ‘suffering and smiling’ but Nigerians are now ‘suffering and sweating’.

Unfortunately, Anambra state celebrated three weeks of uninterrupted power supply in July 2013. Not only that, two Abuja communities also celebrated one year of uninterrupted power supply as at February 2015. Have you forgotten that Ghana also celebrated ten years of uninterrupted power supply in 2009? But when will Nigeria, the so-called giant of Africa, celebrate a day of uninterrupted power supply?

No wonder Ghana became the number one destination for black Americans and Jamaicans for resettlement and for investment. Even Nigerians began flooding the streets of Ghana for business and leisure because, to many Nigerians, Ghana was a replica of heaven on earth while Nigeria is an antonym of paradise.

Fellow Nigerians! To have a stable power supply and raise our standard of living,we need a monopolistic competition and not a monopoly of power in our power sector. Back in the days when Nigerians queued under a cruel sun to secure MTN sim card because the communication industry was not keenly competitive as at that time. Back in the days when MTN extorted Nigerians with over N30,000 sim card which can now be found like sachet water in our local markets with just N150.

Let us imagine that the kind of competition in our communication sector is replicated in our power sector, then Nigerians will not strive to survive under bad temperature but thrive by surviving under a good standard of living.

Akinola Yusuff Yu-jolly is a social media activist. Connect with him on Facebook.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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