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Sapele, power generation and permanent blackout

Mr Gabriel Eyide is a Sapele based legal practitioner and management consultant. In this interview with Vanguard, he spoke on sundry state and national issues. Excerpt:

HOW will you comment on the power sector, particularly in Sapele?

Power, though is in the concurrent list, both the federal and the state government should tackle it. Nigerians should stand up to their rights. If you do not have light you should not pay for what you did not consume. It is not within the power of BEDC to cut your wire from the main supply and take it away. They can only detach it and cap it from the supply point.

Sapele indigenes protesting permanent electricity blackout
Sapele indigenes protesting permanent electricity blackout

For Sapele to be producing electricity but not benefiting from light is very bad. It has an average of three power generating stations. The NIPP has two – that is, the hydro generating station and the gas/thermal generating station, and the Sapele power station. As I speak to you there is ongoing protest by residents of Sapele against the almost permanent blackout in the area.

The people are protesting every other day in the last five years, yet there has been no changes. The blackout is now almost permanent. The whole town is in a state of economic comatose, social life in the area has died, several companies have gone moribund, trading has virtually stopped, artisans are lamenting and many more problems.

Economic comatose

Above all, insecurity is in the upsurge following the near total blackout in the area.

Generally how will you rate the state and the federal government performances in your own town?

The last time I saw the glory of Sapele was during the time of Brig. Samuel Osagbovo Ogbemudia (retd), when he was governor of the defunct Bendel State. Successive governments till date, after Delta State was carved out of the old Bendel, have abandoned Sapele.

Take Crudes road as an example. It has long been abandoned. It is the only parallel road to Okpe road. It is the only road linking the Sapele skill acquisition centre to the town. The road was awarded by Ibori at the sum of N65m. It was supervised by Amioku but the supervision was poorly done, and that was in 2005.

It is long overdue for rehabilitation. Civil servants are not receiving salaries as at when due just as in Udughan administration. Using only two parameters that is, the roads and payment of civil servant salaries he has not done well. As for the federal government, we are yet to see even her least performance here. There is nothing on ground to show that the federal government knows that Sapele is existing in this country, nothing at all.

Can you comment about the agitation for secession of Biafra?

Let me paraphrase Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, when he said, “The new generation of Ibo boys do not know that even the whole country is too small for them, how much less a little enclave they are now calling Biafra, which is only one sixth of the country. The agitation is misguided and misdirected. Demography will show that those agitating for Biafra were born after the civil war and do not know the consequences of war. Maybe they want to reduce the geography of their business spread and movement.

Economically and politically the agitation is against their interest. The same applies to the Ogonis. Truly, the military was wrong to have over-run Ogoni land just because a few people there erred. That is why the Niger Delta militancy originated from the killing of Ken Saro Wiwa.

What is your take on the 2016 budget, widely acclaimed to be controversial?

Budgeting is a yearly ritual in the executive arm of government, done to compare the nation’s income to her expenditure. Buhari was taken aback because he did not first look into the budget before presenting it to the National Assembly. There would have been no problem if he had first looked into it.

All the same, he apologized after he discovered the abnormities in the budget. It all showed that the Nigerian civil and public service are the bane of the country. We must commend the president for exposing them, particularly those selected with the responsibility for budgeting.

How will you judge President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade?

Buhari’s coming is timely and he is God sent. Before now no one knew the depth of corruption in this country. Before Buhari came in, corruption has become a way of life in the private and corporate life of Nigerians. The war is for all Nigerians, not Buhari alone.

Due process of law

If we don’t eradicate corruption, corruption will eradicate us.

Before Gen. Muritala Mohammed did what he did in the time past, the degree of corruption was not up to this. I offer myself to work as one of the foot soldiers to Buhari in this fight against corruption and I know that so many Nigerians are waiting to join in the fight to stamp out corruption. I urge the media, which is the fourth estate of the realm, to put more effort in their drive against corruption.

The rule of law or due process of law should not shade culprits who themselves did not apply the rule or due process of law when they were perpetrating the crime. Let the media conduct opinion poll to ascertain the number of people in support of Buhari, and it will show that it will be more than those against him and mainly in PDP.


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