By Dele Sobowale
“Let there be light”
It was in my Junior (third year) at the university, in the USA, when I undertook a study titled COMPARATIVE RELIGION, when the discovery was made. Until then I was under the mistaken impression that there were two religions in the world – Christianity and Islam. But, very soon, after arriving in the US in 1964, armed with an American Government Scholarship, a third religion was added to the list – Judaism.
But, it was not until 1966 that the revelation came through this course that there are more than 1000 religions worldwide. Among the most common beliefs of virtually all religions in the idea that God/Allah/Yahweh etc ordered light to be created as a pre-condition to other acts of creation and development.
Granted our nation faces several problems calling for urgent attention – mostly Boko Haram and general insecurity, corruption, unacceptably high unemployment, equitable distribution of the dividends of democracy, infrastructure, education, health, etc – but, one item on the national agenda which will speed up progress on the rest is POWER SUPPLY.
Supply has been emphasized because, the outgoing governments and its Ministers of Power, as well as praise-singers, had wasted their time and money during the campaigns pointing to increased generating capacity.
What they failed to understand, or, more likely deliberately ignored is the matter of distribution; meaning supply to homes. Let me illustrate what is meant by this from my days as a Marketing/Sales executive. Most brands fail because the brand owners fail to bring the product close enough to the consumer. Infant milk is an example.
Every nursing mother knows that when you have a baby yelling for food at two in the morning, the baby milk in a store, miles away, is a distinctly different product from the one in the refrigerator.
Jonathan’s Ministers, who became jesters with their failed promises on power supply had concentrated on production without taking corresponding steps to ensure that the power reaches consumers. Till today, the daily power supply to Nigeria is under 4000MW, irrespective of what the production capacity is. That level of power output cannot get us anywhere.
It is remarkable that the best Nigeria had been able to do was achieved in December 2012, when we attended 4517MW of power supplied. That was two years and three months ago. That feat, hardly worthy of a nation destined for greatness, had not been equaled since. The most obvious question is: what had the government been doing in twenty seven months if it could not, at least, maintain that level?
Worse still, if in two years, the nation had actually lost ground, when are we ever going to progress? Clearly, no progress had been made in twenty seven months if today we cannot receive 4517MW steady supply. More to the point; how could the outgoing President, knowing the lack of progress in power SUPPLIED have kept the Minister who had failed him and the nation so woefully? And, how could the out-going President tell Nigerians that he had fulfilled his campaign promises?
Were we promised that there would be no progress on power supply in twenty seven months, while officials earned their huge emoluments? When was such a promise made to us? President-elect Buhari must recognize that there will be no significant progress on all fronts until there is substantial increase in power supply. To this he must address himself urgently.
Unfortunately, that will require going and digging up a lot of dirt buried by his predecessors. Several contractors are still seating on our funds for contracts not fully executed ot even totally abandoned. It would amount to monumental folly to go around seeking for loans to undertake the task on hand when Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan had drawn down billions of dollars to increase our capacity to 10,000MW without doing it.
Articles which will follow will detail the list of known contracts which are yet to yield results. Something must happen. The contractors must either complete the jobs or refund our money. All economies, even from primitive times, have always run on energy; the more a nation can generate the faster it can transform the resources at its disposal to benefits for its people.
We lag behind because we are currently failing to generate the power to make rapid progress. Buhari can change a lot of things simply by altering the power supply situation as fast as possible. Once he gets that underway, he can start chasing the crooks who stole our funds. Even there, he would need to fast track. There is already sufficient information in the public domain fro him to start with – before going into the secret official files which will reveal more information. He will receive all the help he needs from me – whether he asks for it or not.