No amount of government policies in the nation’s economy will change the perspectives of Nigerians without putting into cognizance the need for constant electricity supply, which has become a pain on a nation regarded as the giant of Africa.
The amount of electricity generated is one of the major indicators to determine whether an economy is growing or not. This is why no modern economy toys with its electricity industry since power is the underbelly of wealth creation activities.
So many bills have passed through the National and State Assembly, of which emphasis has always been on their personal gains at the detriment of the masses. Nigeria has one of the lowest net electricity generation rates per capita in the world.
Both the past and present government have made Nigerians believe that the nation cannot generate an optimum percentage of megawatts that can supply electricity to sundry, however, they feel satisfied with the importation of generators into the country, thereby causing more harm than good to the health and well being of Nigerians.
As a matter of fact, the UNDP ranks Nigeria among the lowest in its Human Development Index reports. More than two-thirds (68%) of Nigerians are living below $1.25 per day. Our life expectancy is 52 years. This further gives an idea of the nature of Nigerians standard of living which has made life difficult.
It should be noted that the most essential commodity that can give the average Nigerian joy and hope of a better tomorrow is constant electricity devoid of sentiments or corruption from both the government and the power distributors (Power Holding Company of Nigeria).
A nation that can supply at least 20 hours of electricity out of the 24 hours that make a day is as good as creating a sustainable livelihood for the people. In a real sense, the increase in the rate of poverty, unemployment, armed robbery, kidnappings, low turnout of foreign investors and a few to mention, could be associated with government negligence on providing no interrupted power supply.
Like most popular demand songs which have become a household name in Nigeria, electricity has failed to reach such a peak. It is evenly bizarre that Nigerians now depend petrol as a source of power generation for their homes, offices and schools.
In 2013, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi assured Nigerians of increased electricity generation from 5,000 to 7,000 megawatts by 2014. However, has Nigeria attained the set goal by the NERC chairman?
In addition, it was reported early this year that the nation has achieved 5,000 megawatts of and 1,500MW has dropped from it. For Nigeria to enjoy steady power supply, the current administration must work towards 50, 000MW at least, something which is realistic going by the amount of money they swindle into their personal accounts.
Regardless of what is written on the front pages of the newspapers, a government who cannot afford to stick on a particular agenda that has a direct effect on the masses isn’t a friend of the masses.
Besides, considering the numbers of dams (Kainji, Shiroro, Jebba) Nigeria is blessed with, it would be bizarre for the country to be feeling the heat of epileptic power supply.
Sad enough, the Nigerian government spent billions of dollars on re-positioning the nation’s power and energy supply with no significant impact been witnessed by the people.
It is on record that the Federal Government has invested a N2.74 trillion in Nigeria’s power sector over the last 16 years (1999 to 2015). The investments were made during the regimes of former President Olusegun Obasanjo; his successor, late President Umaru Yar’Adua, and President Goodluck Jonathan. Yet, nothing tangible has come out of it.
Besides, the coming of former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola as minister of power, works and housing was believed to help solve the epileptic nature of electricity, however, his position in the proposed increase in electricity tariff further added more misery to plight of Nigerians.