Opinion: Dear Power Minister, have you lost the fight against the demons in your ministry?

by Paul John

In this Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010 photo, Esther Jacob sells cassava flour by lantern light in Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria's president announced a multi-billion-dollar plan Thursday to repair and privatize the oil-rich nation's decrepit national power grid that forces people to rely on private generators to provide electricity. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

What happened to the prepaid meters that were once introduced in some parts of the country? Why are the prepaid meters not evenly distributed? Why are your workers still distributing the old analog meters at this 21st century? Why is it so that when somebody pays for a meter ,it takes so long before it is delivered and installed ?

Dear Honorable minister , when you were appointed as the `for the federal republic of Nigeria,you promised to dislodge all the demons and witches in the power sector. You boasted that, ‘uninterrupted power supply is not a mirage.’  More so, you reminded us that South Africa was generating 40,000 megawatts for her 40 million population while Nigeria was still battling with the generation of 4,000 megawatts for her 170 million population. Also, While answering questions on the floor of the Senate, during your ministerial screening, you cited your unparalleled achievements in the University Of Nigeria, Nsukka while you were the Vice Chancellor.

I cannot easily forget that fateful day of your ministerial screening  because I was watching the programme on the television in the company of my friends. I boasted to my friends that my former Vice Chancellor was going to fix our power sector for good. I told them how you turned my alma mata from the analog system to a digital system and that other vice chancellors that came after you left, were (and are still) building on the ‘foundations’  you tactically laid. I reminded them of one incident that happened when you were the VC. It was all about increment in the school fees. It was so  professionally timed that the announcement came when students were on vacation and to prevent future protests by students when they returned,the school authority mandated every student to pay the new school fees before returning back to school. The law enforcement agents were ordered not to allow any student into any of the campuses without evidence of such payment. That was the only school fees increment that did not result in riot and destruction of school properties by students .

In view of these unparalleled achievements, I was very optimistic that my former Vice Chancellor was going to restructure our power sector. When different media houses were making mockery of your arbitrary use of ‘demons’ and ‘witches’ in the power sector, I assured people around me that you knew what you were saying.

Regrettably, barely one month to the expiration of this administration, I am compelled to humbly ask you, ’what is the current status of the demons and witches you met in our power sector?’ Are they still living or dead? If they are still living, have they increased, decreased or remained the same (in number and in power)? I do not want to believe that the demons and witches in the sector have overwhelmed/overpowered you. I am aware that professor Barth Nnaji, your predecessor, an erudite scholar of international repute and one of the inventors of E-Design, might have seen the so-called demons and witches in the sector and since he was not a priest, he honorably resigned.

I do not want to talk about the issue of power generation in Nigeria or in Port Harcourt where I live – we are already accustomed to the sounds of our generating sets. What happened to the prepaid meters that were once introduced in some parts of the country? Why are the prepaid meters not evenly distributed? Why are your workers still distributing the old analog meters at this 21st century? Why is it so that when somebody pays for a meter ,it takes so long before it is delivered and installed ? Has there been any improvement in the 4000 megawatts you promised us? Yes,when I was in Enugu ,there was an improvement in the power generation there courtesy of the power substations built by the outgoing governor Sullivan Chime’s administration. However, while I was watching 4pm news on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Wednesday,29/04/15, people in Enugu were also complaining of the same  power failure.

In the same vein, the manager of Wazobia FM, NigeriaInfo and Cool FM Port Harcourt just announced about two days ago that they have been using their generating sets for about three months. If rectification of a ‘breaker’ problem takes about three months, that means we really need to be pitied in this country. Many companies are leaving our country for  neighbouring countries due to power failure in our dear country. Alternative sources of power generation will increase the costs of production for these companies. When these companies leave our country, the workers that are laid-off will add to our ‘cesspool’ of unemployment. Why will the much-taunted  African largest economy not boast of at least 18 hours of electricity daily?

Having superintended over our power sector  for more than two years, can you honorably retract your earlier  statement that, ’uninterrupted power supply is not a mirage.’ Yes, gas pipeline vandalism has really affected our power generation but my question is, ’did you not consider that before declaring your ‘spiritual’ warfare on the demons and witches in the sector? Anyway, I am still optimistic that within the next one month, there will be an unprecedented improvement in our power sector under your watch.

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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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