Written by Ola Rashy Monday, 19 October 2009 22:34
When president Umaru Yaradua assumed office in may 29th 2007, one of his promises to the nation was to improve the electricity generation in the country, he even went as far as saying that he is going to declare a state of emergency in the power sector. But after more than 2years the situation is even worse than before.
The installed generating capacity in Nigeria is about 6000MW, presently the electric energy output for the whole country is less than 1000MW, a quantity that is insufficient for even a state like Lagos. Most generating plants are old; there was no new infrastructure for over a decade now despite rapid population growth and rising demand for power. One wonder how the government wants to actualize its vision 20:20:20 without power.
With a population of over 140million people, how much energy do we really need in Nigeria? To answer this questions, one will need to compare our per capital production of electrical energy with other nation like USA and South Africa. USA is producing almost 570billion KWH and South Africa is producing 200billion as at 2001, if Nigeria were to produce electricity at the USA rate of 12.7bilion KWH per million people, then with a population of 140million people , we should be generating 174,000MW of electricity. Whao! We still have a very long way to go.This situation has caused many factories to close down because of high cost of running generating plant leading to mass lay-off of workers and subsequently increasing the rate of unemployment and insecurity.Many people have equally lost their lives as a result of inhaling the fumes from the generating plant as each household, market etc has now turned to power generating unit to cope with the bad situation.
WHY HAS THE NIGERIAN RULING ELITE NOT BEEN ABLE TO SOLVE THE POWER PROBLEM IN NIGERIA.
Energy generation is crucial to any economy, in fact there can be no economic growth without power. Successive governments in Nigeria have always promised heaven and earth to improve power generation but all to no avail. Upon all the billions of naira voted to power sector, the situation is getting worse to worst on daily basis. But the question to ask is why? The answer is obvious and it is in two fold, the first one can be traced to the underdeveloped nature of Nigerian economy which is solely dependent on oil and lack of productive capital, it has been estimated that over 60% of productive capital in Nigeria is foreign owned. Oil provides 95% of foreign exchanged earning and over 67% of government revenues is through oil. Over 87% of the gas required to generate electricity for the country has been diverted to shell and chevron for the exploration of the oil. As long as the process of oil exploration is not threatened, the Nigerian ruling class is very comfortable and does not see any desperate need to solve the power situation in the country and that is why they will rather embezzle the money meant for its resolution.
The second reason is that the Nigerian ruling elites think that the current tarrif being charged on electricity presently is small and thinks that if Nigerians want to enjoy electricity as required, then they should be ready to pay through their nose for it. But, as they themselves know that this will definitely be resisted by the poor people because of excessive poverty in the country. It has been estimated that over 70% of Nigerian are leaving below poverty line. Nigerian ruling class is inept, inefficient, useless and too weak to carry out any policy that directly torches the live of ordinary people.
It is quiet obvious that the power problem in Nigeria like most of other problems can not be resolved on the basis of this present selfish system of capitalism, in the hand of this selfish and extremely week ruling class. This is expected to be a very simple bourgeois task, but still, cannot be resolved under this present social economic system of capitalism in a backward country like Nigeria. It is only an overthrow of this system by a socialist revolution and under the democratic control of workers that will put an end to the various crisis confronting the poor masses of Nigeria.