Monday Reflections: Adelabu’s Agenda for Power Sector Remains Sacrosanct, Nigerians Won’t be Disappointed || Aderemi Ogundele

The state of public electricity supply in Nigeria today is abysmal. But this ugly development will soon be arrested. Call it a total blackout, you may not be far from being right. The reality is that there is nothing weird about it as it has always been like that for donkey years. But the Renewed Hope agenda is here for the remedy. Therefore, expect the narrative to change in the nearest future. However, this message is meant for only the people of faith that a better Nigeria is possible, and not the doubting Thomas.

We have not forgotten the $16 Billion purportedly expended in revamping the power sector by a particular administration in the past. The controversy surrounding it then was annoying that time, just as it is today. Why? The Independent Power Project established across the country cannot justify the humongous amount of funds expended on it.

Throughout the eight years that President Olusegun Obasanjo was in the saddle, Nigeria was in motion but without movement as far as the power sector was concerned. On several occasions, the attention of the EFCC has been called to beam their searchlight into what transpired in the sector between 1999 and 2007. Till today, nothing tangible has been achieved in that regard. But a day of reckoning will come.

Little wondered why one of the Ministers in charge of power during the period in question was recently declared wanted, arrested, arraigned and detained for forgery and corruption by the EFCC. That was just a tip of the iceberg as the last has not been heard of the rots that pervaded the period. More heads are expected to roll for numerous infractions perpetrated during the period.

In November, 2013, former President Goodluck Jonathan announced the privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria with the hope of better performance. But alas, despite the privatization scheme, the electricity consumers have consistently been groaning in darkness. Ten years down the line, there has not been any value addition to the sector. What the lucky investors are doing is the continuation of milking a malnourished cow. And for that reason, it has been a clear case of diminishing return in their services on daily basis. Infact, it is a dying sector!

The last administration of PMB actually met Nigeria in darkness and left her in darkness. When the history of the sector will be written in future, PMB may likely score near zero. There is nothing concrete to show for his eight years in office. The much talked about Mambilla Power Project that he promised to execute during his tenure remained on paper exactly the way he met it. It never saw the light of the day!

Now that Chief Bayo Adelabu is in charge, things are bound to change for the better. The fact that people are understandably criticizing the Ministry because of the current situation not withstanding, a better tomorrow is certain. People are only being haunted by their experience of the past and nothing more. And this time around, the expectations are so much high on Bayo Adelabu to deliver to Nigeria uninterrupted supply of electricity.

But there is a need for the people to understand the basic fact of the background where we are coming from. The failure of the past is in no small measure instigating the indignation of the present. And by extension, it does not allow people to see and appreciate the current efforts of the Minister.

The Ministry that Oloye Bayo Adelabu inherited was in comatose. This is not an exaggeration. The installed capacity, according to reports was 13,000 MW, but the active power being delivered was hovering between 3,000 MW and 5,000 MW. What happened to the difference? Aside this, there are other technical and administrative challenges bedeviling the sector.

But now, the problems have been diagnosed with the specific trouble areas identified and analysed. The roadmap for solution is already in place and in public domain. What Nigerians need is patience for those efforts to come into fruition.

B. Aderemi Ogundele

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