TRAGEDY OF A NATION, that is how many view or see, the present precarious situation of electricity supply in Nigeria, after decades of nationhood. Within seven months of [January – July, 2022], Nigeria’s national grid collapsed six times, increasing concerns about the survival of the economy, well-being of citizens and businesses — small, medium and big enterprises. While buck-passing, on why government could not adequately and efficiently manage its power sector continue.
Buck-passing and name-calling have failed to wish away electricity power supply problem, starring the sector and country in the face. Where governments and the sector failed, the business of individual citizens generating personal electricity for their homes and businesses, through commercial solar energy, or generators are booming across the country. While others groan in darkness.
Peter Obi, presidential candidate of Labour Party, LP, for the 2023 presidential election, through his social media handle describe the present pathetic power situation in the country as “negative parameters” and “benchmark” of failure of President Buhari’s led administration. And added that it is a “compelling catalyst” for leadership change in the country.
Obi’s words: “Such negative parameters are not only benchmark for governance failure, but a compelling catalyst for leadership change.” Obi said the government needed to live up to its statutory responsibilities to avert socio-economic incidents that induce extreme shock and stress in the population.
Atiku Abubakar, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 2023 president race, in series of tweets on Wednesday stated that the endless collapse of the national grid is “one collapse to many”, the sixth time in seven months.
Atiku said he is proposing innovative financing of infrastructure that involve facilitation of review of financing, legal and regulatory environment, to promote private investment in power, among other sectors.
IMPROVING ELECTRICITY supply in the country, was a major campaign promise, on the cards of Buhari’s presidency. Buhari assumed office, in May 29, 2015. During the government’s National Economic Council retreat, held at the State House, Abuja, March 2016, Buhari said his administration has set a target of delivering 10,000 megawatts of electricity in his first tenure.
Hear him: “Nigerians’ favourite talking point and butt of jokes is the power situation in our country. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a laughing matter. We must and by the grace of God we will put things right. In the three years left for this administration we have given ourselves the target of ten thousand megawatts distributable power. In 2016 alone, we intend to add two thousand megawatts to the national grid.”
During the presidential election campaign in 2014/15, that brought Buhari to power, the All Progressives Congress, APC, promised to expand electricity generation and distribution to 40,000MW, between four and eight years. The party’s campaign manifesto stated: “The APC Government shall vigorously pursue the expansion of electricity generation and distribution of up to 40,000 megawatts in four to eight years”.
APC manifesto further stated that: “The party will also work assiduously at making power available from renewable energy sources such as coal, solar, hydro, wind and biomass for domestic and industrial use, wherever these prove viable.” The party stated that power remained the centre-point of development process; and other indices of development anchor on it.
Over seven years in the saddle, and about eight months to exit office, Nigeria’s power generation under President Buhari, peaks at 3,504MW; and off-peak at 2,903.4MW; according reports, coupled with erratic supply and consistent national grid collapse. And, presently, destroying economic activities and affecting quality of life; including high electricity tariff, despite non availability of power supply.
Power outages cause destruction in homes. Appliances, such as refrigerators, music systems, air-conditioners, light bulbs randomly burn out, and their owners helpless. Sometimes, power cuts in homes may lead to personal tragedy. Examples are cases of families who perished or become deformed due to kerosene lamp explosions across the country. Others have died as a result of harmful fumes from power generating sets which wafted into their unventilated rooms as they slept.