Home OPINION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL: Power Sector Collapse: Jonathan’s Parting Gift To Nigerians

EDITORIAL: Power Sector Collapse: Jonathan’s Parting Gift To Nigerians

DarknessThe curious irony that stares Nigerians in the face as President Goodluck Jonathan is set to bow out of Aso Rock, come May 29, is obviously the sudden shortage of fuel which they relatively enjoyed for the past three years, and above all, the comatose power generation across the country, despite the huge financial resources that had been pumped into it.
As a matter of fact, the nation seemed to be getting it right in the areas of power and fuel supplies, by the efforts of President Jonathan government, until shortly after the March 28 Presidential election that swept power from the hand of the ruling party to opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Despite the sordid picture that has emerged, President Jonathan still argued recently that he had lived up to his campaign pledge to Nigerians to make the power sector a priority of his administration.
However, while the President might have gotten applause a few months ago for this pronouncement, but the sudden turn around to where we were in 1999 has brought a far different and negative perception by Nigerians, to the government’s intent. Indeed, it looks like Jonathan government and or the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are on revenge mission against Nigerians for voting them out in the March 28 Presidential election.
Even while President Jonathan had, at the inauguration of the Olorunsogo II Power Station in Ogun State, tried to assuage the pent-up anger of Nigerians by saying: “the interface between 100 per cent ownership of the power sector by government and 100 percent ownership by private sector will soon be over” and that in the next two years, “Nigerians can take power sector for granted like it is obtainable in other countries,” his minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo was singing a different tune.

Professor Nebo

Professor Nebo
It doesn’t seem to matter to Nigerians the words of hope that came from the President, knowing that he had never been short of such words, and that he always relied mostly on what his aides told him or told Nigerians on his behalf. This is against the background of the confusing state of affairs and pronouncements by him and his government officials since he mounted the power in 2010.
For example, in August 2011, the former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji was quoted to have said that the government had the capacity to generate 6,000 megawatts, but was currently generating 3,000MW, even as he boasted that the Federal Government would improve power supply by increasing power generation from the current 3,000MW to 7,200MW by December of that year.
But, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Sheik Goni came up with his own version, saying that the government had set a target of increasing power generation to 40,000MW by the year 2020. Goni also said: “plans have been put in place to raise this capacity to 7,220MW by the end of 2011 and 14,018MW by the last quarter of 2013.”
This was even as Jonathan said in 2011, that his administration remained committed to the attainment of uninterrupted power supply in the country before the end of his tenure in 2015 which expires on May 29.
And, just eight days to the end of his tenure, and after five years in power, his promised uninterrupted power supply has taken a complete reverse side. Instead of steady, uninterrupted power supply, what Nigeria is going through is uninterrupted darkness, which is worse than before his coming in 2010.

To add insult to the injury, his minister of Power, Professor Nebo has been beating the familiar drum of the fact that pipe line vandals have been the main cause of the failure of the government’s power sector. That is even after so much money, over N150 Billion, had been committed not only into the power sector reform as part of the Transformation Agenda, but also the privatization processes.
It is on record that the 16 years in which PDP had ruled this country, starting from Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umar Musa Yar’Adua and ending with Dr. Jonathan, Nigeria had spent $156 billion which is more than what Britain spent to add 30,000MW.
After spending so much on power for 16 years, what Nigeria has been able to get has been between 2,500 and 3,666.76MW. And even then, they are being told that they cannot enjoy that meager number of megawatts because of some vandals somewhere.

Jonathan in Ibadan

Nigerians have been treated to so many macabre dances on this issue of power supply that they have no choice than to simply resign to their fate even as the government makes fun of itself.

In fact, the government put so much emphasis on vandalisation of gas pipeline by unknown criminals that one would think that it is the vandals that are in charge of the government. For a government that controls all the security apparatus and other legal operative systems to be crying like baby, about some inconsequential criminals, is to take ridiculous wailing to the level of bereavement.

The question that immediately comes to mind is, of what purpose people like Alhaji Mujahideen Asari Dokubo, Chief Gani Adams and others were given millions of Naira contract to provide adequate security for the pipelines? What sense does it make to inject so much money into the security system on the pipelines and they are still being vandalized, thereby constituting a headache for the government?
As a matter of fact, all these boil down to the fact that the Jonathan government has emerged as the government of shifting goal posts, shifting dates, inconsistencies, speaking from all corners of the mouth at the end of which it gets itself confused and confused the rest of us, and above all, it is the government of ‘come and chop.

Indeed, it is unfortunate that just when Jonathan’s government should be beating its chest as having right the wrongs in the power sector that has defied all solutions in the past; and even in fuel supply system, it is about to leave Nigeria and Nigerians even worse than it met them. That is aside from billion of naira and dollars thrown in all directions on the same subject; the huge money that obviously have gone down the drain.

We in Greenbarge Reporters may not be far from the truth to say that throwing Nigerians into darkness and onto the streets looking for fuel, as the citizenry have witnessed in the last few weeks, is a deliberate action by some sadists in the government to make life unbearable for them.

If this is part of the parting gift the Jonathan government would hand over to Nigeria as it made to take its exit, it is too bad. [myad]

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