BY IFEANYICHUKWU NWANNAH
The power industry in Nigeria was formally known as Electrical Corporation of Nigeria (ECN) which was scrapped in 1972. The scrapping of the ECN saw the emergence of National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) which Nigerians later nicknamed “NEVER EXPERT POWER ALWAYS”. Though NEPA began to show signs of seriousness until 1985 when every aspect of the organisation collapsed totally, Nigerians no longer repose confidence in the authority. Even the oil boom of the 70s and 80s could not revive the sector as many Nigerians were witnessing serious erratic power supply that NEPA was put on the defensive side.
Gradually, the problems of NEPA began to increase day by day that even hospital management and industrialists were complaining surgical operations were folded which saw the demise of many Nigerians. That brought catastrophic consequences in the country which up till today men of the underworld continue to take advantage of for their notorious activities because of the darkness and blackout. So many atrocities were committed; rapists also had a field day to commit rape.
Then it was even better because the energy generating capacity was 6,098 watts. But today the power generating capacity is fluctuating between 2,000 and 4,000 mega watts. All the thermal and hydro plants have been withered, worn out and tired. Their capacity is weakened in time. The reason is sabotage in the operation of the organization. The sabotage comes from the top management staff of the organization in collaboration with those who are supposed to protect the power sector.
Recently, former President Olusegun Obasanjo opened up when he said that the National Assembly has been soiled in corruption. He said that corruption is deeply rooted in the National Assembly. Many Nigerians believed him because many committees set up by the House could not perform. Every year, the federal government claims it is investing billions on power but the billions of naira do not reflect in the lives of Nigerians because of corruption which is deeply rooted in the National Assembly and the presidency.
The failure of the people at the helm of affairs to regulate power supply has devastated the economic sector of the country. It is very clear that power supply is the life wire of Nigerian’s economy. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is unable to regulate power for the past fifteen years that it has piloted the affairs of the country. The PDP led-government has continued to tell Nigerians that by December 2014, the power generating capacity will rise to 10,000 mega watts but up till now nothing at sight.
Since 1975 Nigerians have been living in total darkness in a country that cannot boast of even one day uninterrupted power supply, while Ghana last time celebrated ten years of uninterrupted power supply. The problem of Nigerians is leadership of PDP that has no focus and direction, nothing whatsoever. Nigerians pay high electric bills but they are not enjoying the power. There are a lot of problems in the power sector that is why everything is deteriorating.
The privatization policy of the PDP is to favour its cronies and partners in crime; the action of the PDP led government has worsened the state of affairs in the power sector. The federal government believes that the sale of the sector will rescue the sector.
If one can keep politics and sentiments aside, he would understand that the PDP led government has sabotaged all the economic sectors in the country because they have failed woefully. For most Nigerians, change is inevitable. The fundamental factors militating against power sector is corruption and bad leadership, many Nigerians have suggested that capital punishment be placed on bribery and corruption no matter the position of the person in the society because Nigeria has been described as the haven of corruption in the world which has tied down the democratic growth of the country.
The PDP led government has shown that it cannot lead Nigeria to the Promised Land; it remains a country with abundant natural and human resources but cannot maintain the principles of democracy. The country has been tagged big for nothing, the most corrupt nation in Africa. The PDP led government has made Nigeria a laughing stock before the world yet they still want to come back and devour the remaining resources. The World Bank has said that corruption is greatly affecting the country. All efforts to shape the Nigeria’s economy have failed. The corruption has caused significant damage and harm to the economy of Nigeria. The PDP has failed in its responsibility to champion national interest through objective view of national issues.
One issue that has generated serious controversy and criticism from Nigerians who frown at the PDP led government is that of power supply. The general belief is that both the presidency and the National Assembly have case to answer because they have failed to protect Nigeria’s hard earned democracy. The presidency and the National Assembly are not fighting for the interest of the masses or the generality of Nigerians.
Every right thinking person has in one way or the other faulted the PDP led government. Nigeria has over 150 million people, and the problem of Nigeria is PDP yet the party refused to relinquish power because it has failed woefully to address the issue of Nigerians who gave the power drunk politicians the chance to operate the way they like. This is a lingering problem of the nation.
Nigeria’s political impasses suggests that the nation’s woes especially the economic doldrums are tired on bad leadership which has generated a lot of confusion and public comments and what even the political analysts may call political irresponsiveness.
When Olusegun Obasanjo took over the reins of power in 1999, he became an issue in Nigerian politics. The league of former military heads of state, General Babangida with General Abdulsami Abubakar, a former head of state worked tirelessly to ensure that Obasanjo was elected as Nigeria’s leader in 1999. Olusegun Obasanjo told Nigerians and the international community when he was elected that the cause of constant erratic power supply in Nigeria was the failure on the past governments to work hard on the thermal and hydro plants in Nigeria.
With that statement, Nigerians were very happy that the messiah that could salvage the power supply sector was around. He went further to constitute the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other disciplinary bodies that Nigerians believed he would use to fish out all the corrupt elements in the country and force them to return all the stolen money from the nation’s treasury. But little did Nigerians know that he was using the EFCC only to fight his political enemies.
President Olusegun Obasanjo then arrested and detained most Nigerians that did not belong to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), even as tongues began to wag until late Musa Yar’adua took over from him on the same platform of People’s Democratic Party. He came out with what he called seven points agenda which included the improvement of power supply. Nigerians did not realize their dream of having regular power supply until the President Musa Yar’adua died and President Jonathan came out with another nine points agenda which Nigerians have not realized even one till today.
He began by setting up endless committees to investigate corrupt people in the country. All the reports and findings of the committees which were submitted to him for persecution were thrown into the waste paper basket. Some said that was because most of the people who were investigated and skeletons were found in their cupboards were PDP members and the cronies of the president.
The same president again said the best thing for Nigeria to do is to privatize important government agencies and organisations to put them in proper position. Most of the government organizations were sold to PDP members and his cronies to deny Nigerians the dividends of democracy. The corruption in his government becomes unimaginable.
The worst was the missing Nigeria’s 20 billion dollars from the oil sector, Nigeria’s number one source of income which some among his cabinet members are arguing that it is even 840 billion that was missing. Apart from that all other sectors of the country’s economy have collapsed because of corruption. That is a lingering threat to the nation’s economy.