Many have been puzzled and piqued over this question. How did the new Buhari/Osinbajo government suddenly and rather drastically improve the power situation in Nigeria literally overnight? Apart from Asari-Dokubo and the people of Borno, most Nigerians have celebrated stretches of uninterrupted power like never before. My niece and nephew were overheard arguing on if it had been a full 24 hours of uninterrupted light. One said it was, the other said it was over 20 hours but not 24. In the past they barely had 20 hours of light per week. It’s been so across Nigeria, an unexplained miracle of the new “change” government.
Some die-hard Jonathanians have claimed the glory, “Jonathan did it,” they say, “after all has Buhari repaired any power plant?” Some have even accused Buhari and Osinbajo of sabotage, claiming they kept the power down for the 16 years of PDP to pave way for their 2015 election victory.
Let There Be Light
I believe I figured out what the miracle was today and realize the answer is simple and rather painful. While chatting with a friend and ENDS General, who rejoiced that he had not turned on his generator for a whole month, it suddenly hit me. I asked how much fuel he bought into his generator per month, “N30,000” he replied. I asked how much fuel he bought into his car monthly, he said, “about N5,000 a week, about N20,000 a month.” It was so clear. I called up several other friends and asked the same question. One said, no, that he doesn’t use more petrol for his home generator than his car, then he said, actually I use the petrol for my office… “yeah, I do spend more fueling a generator than my car.”
You have been kept in darkness for the 16 years of PDP, not so much because of the generator cabal, but because of people more wicked than them. Because of the fuel cabal. It is the fuel cabal that ensured that you never had power, the same cabal and for the same reason that they ensured that your refineries never worked. They are the ones that said, “let there be darkness over Nigeria.”
The Nigerian fuel cabal make their trillions from fuel subsidy payments. The more petrol Nigeria consumes, the more money they make so long as the fuel is imported and not made by our refineries. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, fuel accounts for over 40% of Nigeria’s total foreign exchange expenditure on imports! When Nigeria is in darkness, there is a party in the fuel-cabals’ homes. We saw the generators as noise makers and income for the generator marketers, but we rarely recognized them as a cash cow, magic money for fuel cabal. Nigeria uses possibly double the fuel it uses for transportation, for providing power. Like a magic trick, our eyes were covered from realizing the real hustle of generators – doubling Nigeria’s fuel imports.
And this explains why, the minute Buhari and Osinbajo came into power and they repaired those refineries, banned those 120 ships and called all the fuel cabal to line-up and account for and return the billions in payments they have gotten for supplying fuel they don’t even supply, that same minute the power became steady.
We are talking of $5 billion in imports a year, more than double what it should be, thanks to our generator consumption. There is a long chain that makes money in this scam, from the government to the banks, to importers, to the supply chain and fuel stations. The banks for instance make as much as $100 million annually on premiums on forex sold to marketers to import this fuel.
How did the fuel-cabal keep the power off? The Buhari government must investigate old NEPA, they must investigate PHCN. There are people in those agencies that were on the payroll of the fuel cabal who kept the light switch off. Of course the privatization needs to be reversed as many have said. Imagine, the very same fuel cabal invested in keeping Nigeria in darkness bought PHCN assets and now controlled the switch their very selves! That’s getting the wolves to tend the sheep. The fuel cabal must sit in the dock! I have mentioned before that our refineries were never really that spoiled. Our power was always better than we suffered through. What Nigeria suffered for 16 years was people so wicked they kept us in darkness to fill their pockets. After all how can stuff built in early post colonial “prehistoric” era be impossible for us to build and maintain for 30 years of PDP and PDP’s godfathers? Of course not. We could have solved our refinery problems 10 times over and our power problems 20 times over had the fuel cabal not collaborated with the IBB and his PDP sons’ governments all these years to shut off our refineries and shut down our power supplies so they raked in their billions.
How the lack of steady power hindered Nigeria’s development can never be overstated. I believe these matters must be seriously considered, investigated and there must be justice for any and all culprits.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah; http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @EveryNigerian