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Friday, January 31, 2020

Uninterrupted power supply: A professor and his dream - ITREALMS

Dear eeSTee, permit me to start this piece with an apology, although it has been some 20 years ago, the last time you heard from me. I want to presume that I was dreaming.

As you may remember it is not in my character to keep you incommunicado, let alone for so long. Of course, the last time, if my memory serves me right we chatted was year 2000, when I left Times Journalism Institute (TJI) to face the turf of journalism in full gear and continue my educational pursuit.

And thanks to a colleague @Silverline Kezie for asking after you when we met at a class rendezvous, recently.

Dear eeSTee, a lot have gone under the bridge but largely due to exigencies of journalism practice, including official travels both in and out, as well as with and without, which lasted for over 15 years.

I must tell you in a jiffy, apologies to uncle Bill Okonedo, that Ngozi has left the husband shortly after my wedding in year 2002. I learnt, she is now in the South-East trading with the support of her senior in Mazi Trump’s country side. And the husband yet to remarry. Don’t ask why because I may not be able to tell you the story technically as it supposed be.

Remember Mr. Peter Obi of Anambra State, the governor that was impeached sometime ago for doing none of the biddings of supposed “god’s father” had since regained his seat and even concluded his tenure after a long judicial battle at the Supreme Court, forcing Dr. Chris Ngige to go into ritual of contest for the governor of Anambra State at every election. 

Unconfirmed report had it he may be going again for the 2021 Anambra Governorship Election, more now that the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has literally thrown the judiciary independence to the dogs, thereby making a mockery of our democracy viz-a-viz the case of Emeka Ihedioha versus Hope Uzodinma where the highest court in the land cannot employ the services of mathematicians to add-up simple arithmetic, and where a polling unit with 356 votes goes to APC and the major opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got two votes. I am still dreaming how to work out that arithmetic. 

May be Nigerian Law School should make arithmetic compulsory for intakes.

Dear eeSTee, I am not interested in boring you with a two decades of gist, but they will come intermittently as I have since turned a new leaf with a pledge to keep you updated as long as “Never Expect Power Always (NEPA)” apologies to Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria; permits alongside other Nigerian unpredictable exigencies and internet connectivity too, that is when and if vandals are not cutting the telecommunications cables at the Pacific Ocean and road constructing companies agree.

It may also interest you, Dear eeSTee, that as part of efforts to unbundle NEPA which you as the National Electricity Power Authority and Nigerians christened “Never Expert Power Always (NEPA)” for lack of performance, the Federal Government (FG) based on the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005, unbundled NEPA into 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) with their coverage areas of the 11 companies. They include Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Jos Electricity Distribution Company, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, and Yola Electricity Distribution Company.

Till date, NEPA or Discos, whichever one you may choose to call them, Dear eeSTee, have not improved much despite billions of Naira and Dollars dumped on electricity generation. You may recall that in 2001, we had generated electricity capacity worth 5600 Mega Watt (MW) and as at October 2019, generated around 4,000 MW, which is grossly inadequate considering the number of our population and the fact that Nigeria is endowed with large oil, gas, hydro and solar resource, with potential to generate 12,522 megawatts (MW) of electric power from existing plants.

To crown it all in a recent video, the Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Prof. James Momoh had revealed he had a dream that Nigeria will become a country of uninterrupted power supply. As if they (NEPA) knew I was on this piece, the light went off as soon as mentioned ‘Prof and his dream’ which went viral.

This came last weekend, after he, Momoh had spent over 12 months following his confirmation as NERC chairman since 2018.

As you can see, Nigerians are still dreaming when this prophecy of Prof. Momoh will come to fruition; we are still paying for our Individual ‘Independent’ Power Supply (IPS), if you have three hours of electricity per day, you thank God and if you are using it for business, it comes at night when you are closing and at home, electricity power supply comes on when you are stepping out to your business location in the morning. Else we forgot, experts have canvassed that the minimum safe distance for generating set is 15 feet from doors, windows, vents, and other openings like your garage door

In fact after watching Prof. Momoh’s video of ‘I had a dream’ I pity Martin Lurther King for populating this phrase. Wondering if that dream does not amount to ineptitude.

Dear eeSTee, I had a dream to update you, as soon as we have power distributed to our side of the country, not minding all the boasts by Babajide Fashola before he was made Power Minister, especially now that Professor Momoh has lured Nigerians into false dreaming without proffering accompanying practical solution. 

Let the dream go on please.

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