Amanpour’s Open Mic and Nigeria’s Electricity Question by Olukayode Aluko.
If we think the open mic interview conducted by “Amanpour”‘s team in Lagos sometimes in February is to discredit the efforts of the federal government in his revitalization of the sick power sector, then you may be missing a lot as an individual by virtue of a long running mis-information.
How did we get to “open mic”???
There was actually a challenge by the President to Amanpour which in his words and I quote “I would have loved you ask an ordinary Nigerian on the streets of Lagos or Abuja or any other city about the government’s commitments to improving on power” the next we had was the open mic, to verify in my humble opinion, the veracity in asking people on those streets if actually they experience improvements in their electricity or not. The unfortunate but true incident culminated with the XLVII super-bowl event in the US that also experienced power failure.
I have not come here to cast any undue aspersion on the strides of the government vis-a-vis their efforts in reviving this sector, but the truth be told, we are not where we should be. Rather we still have a very long way to go so there is no point celebrating any early success, instead Nigerians expect the government of the day to continue to put in more efforts, seal or block any corrupt-hole that may deride their objectives on these power situations. (Ask OBJ/AGAGU and co) and other yesterday’s men in that sector in Abati’s coinage what their strides, however giant it was has brought the country today.
Come to think of it, if Nigeria generates 5,000 MW peak of electricity today, experts will tell you it’s insufficient in powering the Southwest-Nigeria industrial centers (from Lagos/ikeja/sango-ota/Agbara/Ibadan/Ijebu-ode/Abeokuta/iddo/Ijora/Oregun) to mention but a few where majority of the FCMGs companies are cited let alone residential homes across the length and breadth of the country, not to mention the Aba industrial center or Kano industrial center amongst the number of the same that littered the surface map of Nigeria.
I sat at home one Sunday watching CNN, next program in the line-up was Fareed Zakaria GPS, where he puts together a solid documentary on powering America/ A a professional in Engineering, I know what it takes to have a sustainable energy architecture that is working very well and its advantages to a developing country. Other clip from the same presenter was about Denmark, a country of about 5,580,413 in population (January 2012 est.) who depends almost solely on wind energy. As a matter of fact, Denmark has installed Wind turbines just on the offshore close to Copenhagen that cumulatively produce 80,000 MW of electricity. On the 6th of September 2012, Denmark launched the biggest wind turbine in the world and this is a country that hopes to achieve zero emissions by 2050.
Thank God for the location he cited us a nation on the world map, our proximity to the Atlantics and our highly valued inland water ways. Taking a cue from Denmark, if the Lagos state government can choose to implement the Danish model and generate 40000MW to say the least, tell me if all migrated industries and those that shut down will not grow wings and relocate back to Nigeria, because production capacity would have been sustained or increased. Remember all the industries I mentioned above if not majority or more than average depends on generated power to maintain or keep alive their production quota.
Like the Swahili word of no “UHURU”, we are not there yet but we need to continue to strive and continue to engage the models of sustainable energy development to complement the efforts of our thermal and hydroelectric power generating stations.
If I may ask, what has been happening to our NIPP projects? When will the GENCOS and DISCOs start to dance to the tunes in the Nigeria darkness so as to turn it to a perpetual light for tomorrow??? What of the power reforms and recommendations that have been embarked upon and what is the government doing about all their recommendations??? If at all we have cabal (as being speculated in some quarters) in the generator/plant business that is alleged to be scuttling the reform efforts, what is being done about this?
These are the questions that need urgent answers that can prevent future OPEN MICs with the likes of amonpour.
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