Ebuka Obi-Uchendu: When will President Jonathan learn? (YNaija Frontpage)

Makes you wonder what will become of the power sector now, especially since Government is still drunk on this “all time high” power supply record.                     

In the past month, we have all at some point made a big deal of the fact that power supply has improved drastically. Some have even made it look like they were complaining about the extreme generosity of PHCN or whatever name they go by these days. And this has gone on regardless of location. From Lagos to Abuja to Port Harcourt and Kano, the increase in power generation has been felt, even if only slightly in some parts.

Of course, the cynics will always be there to remind us that this happens every year during the rainy season. The dams get more than enough supply of water, which in turn results in an increase in hydropower generation. Some other cynics cannot seem to understand why there would be any celebration for power generation that is still far from 5000MW for the giant of Africa. For some, all these are not even words of cynics but an expression of our reality.

On the other side, there are those who already started to sing the praise of Prof. Barth Nnaji for being the messiah of our time. As far as they are concerned, if we have power then it is because the Minister is working. Hitting an all time high with generation and distribution, no matter how small, is reason to celebrate. I heard someone say President Jonathan should better run for 3 more terms if he and Prof. Nnaji continue on this path. It all seemed like we were finally heading somewhere.

Back in 2011 when the names of ministerial nominees were released, I amongst many Nigerians was skeptical about one name in particular being on the list. Okay, maybe more than one name for sure but it seemed rather curious that a certain Prof. Nnaji’s name was on, especially with speculations that he would be manning the power ministry. It was no secret that he owned Geometric Power, a private sector player in the same sector. It seemed curious that Mr. President thought it wise to employ a key player in a sector to become his very own regulator. Almost like CAF employing Stephen Keshi to be the referee in the upcoming Nations Cup qualifier between Liberia and Nigeria.

Thus, the resignation (or sack according to some) of the Power minister last week for me, throws up more questions about Mr. President’s penchant for policy reversals and courting controversy than anything else. Without a doubt, the competence of the former Power minister is not in doubt. Neither is his passion for growth in the power sector. What doesn’t sit well with me is President Jonathan’s refusal to see that Oga Geometric Power was not a good idea as power minister simply because he was already a player in the sector; only to turn around and sack the man for the same reason critics didn’t want him employed in the first place.

The spillover effects this resignation (or sack once again) would have on investor confidence in an already messy sector cannot be over emphasized. All of that is besides the fact that whoever replaces the professor, may come in and couldn’t care less about working. And if they decide to work, what’s the guarantee that we wouldn’t be heading back to square one with former bids and licenses cancelled and the entire power sector reform program made to start afresh.

The saddest part in the entire episode for me is how very nonchalant my president tends to be with these re-appointments. The Defense minister was fired forever ago and he still hasn’t been replaced. Considering the fact that we face the toughest security challenges of our time right now domestically, as well as having the Bakassi disaster going on and the Mali headache knocking on the other side, you would have expected Mr. President to see the Defense sector as a little important at least. But no, life has gone on since.

Makes you wonder what will become of the power sector now, especially since Government is still drunk on this “all time high” power supply record. We didn’t have to go down this route in the first place. It makes me worry when my President continues to give off signs that he isn’t reliable. He has told us that we should wait till 2013 when Nigeria would suddenly become paradise. The last time I checked, 2013 is less than 4 months away. People, who decide to achieve such results in so short a time, usually act fast. This President is definitely not one of those people.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (2)

  1. Ebuka,have you considered the fact that the Senate, which has the constitutional responsibility for screening and approving ministerial nominees has been on recess for about 2 months or so?If the House of Reps could have been "offended" cos the President sent the PIB as they were about taking their break, you don't expect the Senate to cut its break to screen a ministerial nominee for the President. That's the reality of the democracy we practice. It's not a military regime where the Head of State has absolute powers. The President will have to wait for them.

  2. This piece like most of Ebuka's other pieces, looks like he was writing it w me. As I start reading, I'm thinking, and he's writing my thoughts. Thumbs up. I must say that yet again it's proven that the head must be sane for the body to be taken care of. Even if the best ministers are accidently appointed by a clueless person, his poor decision making will lead to haphazard acts like this and projects will come to abrupt stops and kick-starts recurrently till all falls apart. And in his case, all can not fall apart enough.

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail