By Kassim Afegbua
Nothing can be as gazundering as the launch penultimate week of a particular type of Television that uses battery as its source of energy.
The product according to the brand owners LG was designed specifically for the Nigerian market and Nigerians simply because we have become a country of perpetual darkness, no thanks to poor and epileptic power supply by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria [PHCN].
On television, one could see the promoters of this insult dancing at our collective follies and reminding us of the durability of the batteries that would power the television in place of electricity.
One could see the effrontery with which they displayed their new product waiting to capture the Nigerian market. Do you blame them?
Really, I find this development very disturbing and benumbing. In an era where the Okupes of this world have started singing new songs of performance and improved wattage of electricity, boasting on television that a nation that wants to be one of the most developed economy in the world is just operating at the periphery of 4,600 megawatts, such a geometric increase from inherited 1,700 megawatts, one wonders why the option of a battery propelled television should occupy the sensibilities of any serious manufacturer.
And granting them the right to showcase this trash meant only for the Nigerian market is an admission of failure by government that irrespective of what they make us believe, power cannot improve in the country in the nearest future.
On the one hand, government is battling with the underhand dealings and sabotage of generator providers, seeing them as one of the factors militating against improved power supply while on the other hand; government is tolerating and encouraging the importation to Nigeria of a particular type of television that uses battery as power.
For those categories of Nigerians who cannot boast of power supply, and who now see darkness as light, such introduction might mean good news to them.
At least, it will help them to keep tab on issues around them and enjoy all the programmes and facilities that a television can provide; but as a nation that is on the “fast lane” of transformation, this is arrant nonsense. It is an insult on our collective sufferance and psyche.
It is a big shame. No matter what anyone may say as to whatever advantage this might convey to the end users, it is to me a complete disincentive to our national goals and objectives. Government will now be faced with the twin evil of battling generator importers and the importers of battery television. Since this is just a new product already launched, it is not likely that it will fizzle out soon.
And once this becomes popular as is often the case with anything new in Nigeria, Nigerians might just tell government to go to hell with its power boosting effort. Agreed that power serves different purposes other than just for watching television, but the television is a resource for most homes in keeping with the trends in the society and once it is understood that there exists a battery television, you can be rest assured that it will be the new craze in town.
LG or whatever name they call themselves should have intervened in the energy sector by helping government to find a roadmap around this energy crisis in a manner that will see them as partners in our collective effort to make meaning with the energy sector. All the mouthing of Barth Nnaji and co. as to the achievement of the present administration in the power sector is mere showmanship. This battery television has just told us that.
NIGERIA: GOVERNED BY MILITANTS AND SUPER-MILITANTS.
If we are truly a sane country, we will not be in the realm of the several absurdities that have occupied our sensibilities in recent past. Reading daily newspapers in Nigeria today presents one with a very sordid tale of the several contradictions that are freely on parade.
Imagine Nigeria under the grip of militants, ex-militants or whatever name one chooses to call them. Newspapers’ reports have it that some of the ex-militants enjoy government patronage to the tune of several billions of naira and dollars depending on the nature of the contract.
As we speak, our coastal security is in the hands of Tompolo ditto our petroleum pipelines that are said to be under the surveillance of the militants or warlords.
The ex-militants have taken over the responsibilities of the armed forces; Police, Navy, Air Force, and Army. I understand they have better knowledge of the topography of the Niger-Delta than the military and Police.
Nigeria is a country where criminality pays faster than rule of law and sheer intellect. It is a country where we celebrate absurdities to comic height and render awards to those who have undermined the system.
It is a country where a trained military officer will salute a bloody ex-militant and regard him as General. When you see the roll call of militants or warlords in the Niger-Delta, you have all manners of ranks; General this, General that, General Today, General Tomorrow, General Creek, General Pipeline, General Waterways, General Land ways, General Flying Boat, General Canoe.
All manners of names! I am not aware of any country where such a prestigious rank of a General is entrusted in the hands of those who have never be in the military or received any formal training in any of the Armed Forces. But in Nigeria, the fear of militants and ex-militants they say is the beginning of wisdom.
Boko Haram has taken its turn now with more dangerous approach than we had hitherto known in the history of armed struggle in Nigeria.
We celebrate corruption in Nigeria with pride. We rejoice when we see the corrupt being paraded before our very eyes. We give them awards and laurels.
We organize for them ostentatious ceremonies to announce the deepness of their wallets. Those who are respecters of law and order are treated with disdain. We sack the honest ones among us and keep the thieving ones in office. We expose the whistle blowers in our fight against corruption and protect those who are known to be big rats in government swimming in corruption.
For example, why is it difficult for Dr. Doyin Okupe to tell his story about contract or no contract fraud in Imo and Benue States? Why will PDP put up a vainglorious defense in support of an individual who is very much alive and being accused of corruption? I won’t be surprised if Dr. Doyin Okupe is given a national merit award or what is it called; national honours; OFR, MFR, CON, etc in the next edition of that wasteful exercise. It is a country where we reward those who are under-performing and reject those who are achievers in their different fields. It is a story that is scathingly painful but has refused to go away.
When I entitled this column; “Stomach Democracy”, some people were wondering what could have informed my choice of words. But with the realities on ground today especially the penchant to satisfy individual needs as opposed to the nation’s needs,I am sure the import of this would have dawned on all of us.
Rather than have rolling plans that will put under focus our future agenda for national rebirth and development, we prefer to oil the pockets of a few individuals who ordinarily should be cooling off in jail; with juicy contracts and patronages. With such reward for criminality, why would anyone deserve to see an end to the Boko Haram menace when they could see how much of patronages their contemporary ex-militants are enjoying now in the name of amnesty? It is the only reason why the militants have been preaching war.
Having taken so much than what they would need for their lifetime, they prefer to build new empires and fest their nest on their conquered territories. For a country still struggling to walk straight, too much money in the hands of ex-militants is an invitation to doom for the entire country.
Despite the obsession for stupendous wealth acquisition with such a conquistador lifestyle by the ex-militants, the rationale for their armed struggle in the first place, still exists in the Niger-Delta. There is still pollution, environmental degradation, oil spills, polluted streams and water, exploitation, bunkering, oil theft and other associated vices.
The quality of life has dropped for an average peasant in the oil rich Niger-Delta whilst their so-called elite class wallows in byzantine squander-mania. The reasons for taking up arms against a democratically elected government in Nigeria [which culminated in hostage taking and killing of innocent ones] have been defeated because the former bandits who have now become billionaires are now blinded to the challenges in the Niger-Delta. They now live in exotic hotels in choice locations across the world.
They live artificial lifestyles; life of fear of the unknown. They live for today and not for tomorrow because the petro-dollars will continue to roll in with exuberant ease.
That is the Nigeria story of today. A story of absurdities and incongruities. A story of the insane dictating for the sane. A story where intellect is subsumed in the aqua of hedonism and crass materialism, where money power speaks the language of power and not knowledge or ideas. That is the Nigerian story.