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The 6,000 megawatts’ deceit

By Emmanuel Edeki
THE inability of the Federal government to  meet the 6,000 megawatts target it set for itself early last year, has once again cast doubt about government’s sincerity about  solving the power problem in the country.

Early last year, the Yar’Adua administration promised Nigerians, that come December 2009,the nation would generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity, a development that was expected to improve power supply  slightly in the country.

However in December last year,government claimed it could not meet the target, citing unavailability of gas among other reasons. Though the 6,000 megawatts was meant to be a little addition of power  to  the national grid, and could not  guarantee constant power, Nigerians were expecting it. It was therefore a disappointment to many that the target could not be met.

The disappointment on the 6,000 megawatts, adds to a long list of failed promises from  the Federal government on power over the years. In the days of the military, successive military Heads of State, promised Nigerians on coming to power, that they would improve the dismal  power situation. However, their tenures often ended without power improving.

Their civilian counterparts have also not fared any better. The  Obasanjo regime, that took over from the military, also promised Nigerians that they would   solve the   power  problem. But they too did not make any appreciable impact on the power problem. President  Umaru  Yar’ Adua while campaigning for office, promised to declare a state of emergency in the power sector  if elected. This has not materialised, two years after.

The availability of reliable power supply, is one need, Nigerians have been asking of their government, for a very long time.

Somehow, successive governments have failed to meet   this need.This need for power, is not misplaced. In our 21st century world of computers,television and machines,lack of power is certainly a problem. These devises work with light,without which nothing  meaningful can be achieved. This much has been written and said in the media to no avail.

The lack of electricity in Nigeria, has increased  the use of generators, that has caused countless domestic accidents.It has caused unemployment as the  cost of doing business is high, and companies that cannot cope close down. Criminals use the cover  of darkness to perpetrate all kinds of crimes.People cannot recreate themselves, because they do not have light to do so.All of these, have made the country an uncomfortable place to live in.

The National Assembly it seems cannot do  much  in the matter. last year, the House of Representatives, sought to probe the power sector, when it was revealed that $16 billion  had been spent in trying to provide power in the country with nothing to show for it. That probe ended in  a fiasco, as nothing good came out of it.

Some concerned people, have suggested that the non performing  parastatals be privatised, but government has not heeded that advice.

In the more advanced societies, when politicians do not keep to their promises, the electorate refuse to re-elect them into power. This realisation, that  they may  lose re-election if  they deceive the people, or do not  perform well in office, makes these politicians  to be circumspect about what they say during their campaigns and what they do in office.

So in most cases,they try to deliver on their promises.This is  however not the case  in Nigeria. The absence of a credible electoral   process has ensured that politicians, get away with their deceit each time. Nigerians are no doubt  helpless.

In the circumstances therefore, the people will  continue to live on hope. The   hope  that one day, a leader   would come, who will not only listen to the people, but do what  they want.

Incidentally, the Vice President, Dr .Goodluck Johnathan, has just been empowered as  acting president of the federation,by a joint resolution of the National Assembly after the long absence of President Yar’Adua on health grounds.

In his first speech to the nation Dr. Goodluck Johnathan,just like others before him, promised to tackle power, infrastructure, security and generation of employment.

Said he: “Our march towards 20-2020 is irreversible. Therefore we see a need to prioritise on a few of  the critical areas which continue to plague our efforts at engendering meaningful economic growth and development”.

Nigerians have heard these promises before. It is only hoped that this time around, the Acting president will live up to his words and solve the power problem once and for all.

Mr. Edeki is a staff of Vanguard Newspaper.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.