By Ikeoye Oyetoro
ORGANISED labour in the nationâ€™s schools and colleges, has called on President Yarâ€™ Adua to redouble his governmentâ€™s efforts at making power available to Nigerians, saying the nation cannot achieve industrialisationÂ or any meaningful development without stable power supply.
OperatingÂ under the aegis of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Related Institutions (NASU), the union faulted the government continued push for total deregulation of the downstream sector of the nationâ€™s petroleum industry despite strong opposition from most Nigerians.
AddressingÂ a meeting of members of NASU in schools and colleges Trade Group CouncilÂ in Yaba College of Technology, Deputy President of the group, Comrade Sunday EshoÂ said: â€œFor any society to economically and technologically develop, the starting point shouldÂ be small and medium scale enterprises and basically, electricity supply to run the enterprises is inevitable butÂ thatÂ isÂ unavailable.
Gone are the good old days of Electrical Corporation of Nigeria (E.C.N) which later metamorphosed into National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) in 1969 with the construction of the Kainji damÂ amongst others. Electricity supply during the period was relativelyÂ stable and encouraging though its consumption was lower. The situation has drastically changedÂ at the same time our economic activities are supposedÂ to inch up for manufacturing and extractive industrial activities to stabilize. The obvious need to revamp the process reveal the unique relevance of President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™sÂ promised 6000 megawatts of electricity generation and distribution by the end of this year.
â€œSimilarly, the Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara state enviable Independent Power Project (IPP) that generates 120 megawatts daily and now in its second phase, is an encouraging development .I am aware too that Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has wholistically embarked on similar project with a view to boosting industrial activities.
I commend these distinguished leaders for their concern and call on other leadersÂ to initiate similar schemesÂ aimed at engineering sustainable development for our country. There is no doubt that if these schemes succeed, the problem of rural-urban drift and powering of small and medium scale enterprises will ease. Similarly, the ravaging problem of climate change, informed by our inappropriate attitude to environmental protection and sustenance ethics could be checked with improved electricityÂ supply that will ease entrepreneuralÂ activities.â€
On the planned derelegulation of the downstream sector of the economy, Comrade Esho noted that â€œthe controversy over government quest to deregulate the downstream oil industry which will translate in price liberalization has dragged too long without firm support from the masses to theÂ federal governmentâ€™s plan.