To say President Goodluck Jonathan is showing disdain to the plight and aspiration of Nigerian masses is an understatement. Nigerians are getting tired of the President’s deceptive promises which largely turned out to be national swindle. His assertion last year in several quarters that there would be additional 4,500 megawatt in the next six months and that power would continue to increase astronomically has turned out to be a rush. It is as good a promise made to the gigolo in the fainting frenzy of the night at the frick of alcohol.
Early last year, the President told a newsmagazine: “We don’t need to generate electricity. By the middle of next year, you will dash me your generator. I will send it out of the country, because we won’t need it anymore”. Promise of any sort flowing from the nation’s highest echelon of power, such as the nation’s Presidency should not be tainted with dishonesty and virtual falsehood.
President Jonathan by now ought to have taken the populace into confidence as to what he can achieve or what he is incapable of achieving within a time frame. That way, no one can accused him of defaming the office of the President, playing to the gallery or unpreparedness for leadership.
As it stands, the President power promise is not merely a debt in the conventional sense of the word, but a grand deception and atrocious docility on the part of his Presidency. It smacks off irresponsibility and a calculated scheme to keep the nation’s poor in the dark as much as possible while the rich and powerful exploit the system to their advantage.
The Presidency, in spite of the obvious darkness, until lately, continue to regales the outside world with bogus statistics that compound the peoples’ misery. With this strategy, President Jonathan has pulverises his Presidency more than the Nigerian people who voted him into office; much the same way he devalued accountable governance and contractual obligation. He may yet have his tenure extended on this subversive statistics by 2015 if Nigerians attunes to emotive sentiments as they did in 2011 that power remains in the South beyond the completion of former President Yar’Adua’s term of office.
President Jonathan told a bewildered world on January 24, 2013 in an interview anchored by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in Davos, Switzerland where he attended the World Evonomic Summit that power generation and supply has never reached its pick since Nigeria becomes a nation than under his administration. He drummed his chest that Nigerians are impressed with the current level of improvement in power, and that if there was one area “ordinary Nigerians” applauded his administration for, it was power.
The President enthuse: “I would have loved that you ask ordinary Nigerians on the street of Lagos, Abuja or any other city this question about power. This is one area that Nigerians are quite pleased with the government that our commitment to improve power is working. So if you are saying something different, I’m really surprised. That is one area that even civil societies agree that the government has kept faith with its promise”.
His claim was immediately perforated on Twitter by Nigerians who were following the interview in Nigeria with many tweeting that they were monitoring the interview using generators. When Amanpour put that forward to the President, he buckled and acknowledged that his administration had not achieved the targets it set for itself and promised to deliver results by the end of the year. Surely, darkness is visible indeed!
This is where Nigerians problem with President Jonathan suffice. He governs the nation as though he is superintending a zoo, where the animals in cage, whose rights, privileges and freedom are permanently circumscribed and forbidden to express the daily indignity visited on them. Even now, the Presidential spokesmen have taken it upon themselves to heap mud at anyone who say a word against the president, however constructive.
Conversely, one of the issues that took President Jonathan out of Nigeria to the World Economic Forum is incumbent on how Nigeria will get out of the economic woods and eradicate poverty by 2015 for which it has been submerged over the years. Why the Euro Zone and other countries were savouring their relief from financial crisis according to experts judgment, leading to economic growth and job creation, nothing was said about Nigerian for the now and foreseeable future.
Granted that electricity crisis is not entirely President Jonathan’s making, but the question on every lip is “what effort is he making to redeem the nation from the throe of darkness?” The other question is, does the troublous electricity deficiency defy all antidotes? The earlier the Presidency comes to term with the power responsibility and that the solution to electricity crisis resolution is beyond sloganeering the better for us all. Nigerians didn’t elect him as a national historian to tell us how much successive governments before his has failed on account of power generation and other intractable maladies.
The purpose of globe throttling or global gathering, I am sure, is lost on Mr. President; even this year’s World Economic Submit. How can the future of the country be bright if we are aspiring to be one of the 20 biggest economies in 2020, yet we are aspiring to produce 10,000 megawatts of electricity next year? If we amy ask: which of the nations that Nigeria hopes to compete with is managing its economy with less than 10, 000 megawatts?
President Jonathan in a feat of ululation told CNN correspondent in far way Davos that the nation’s power generation has improved tremendously when the megawatts is hovering between 3,000 and 4,000 megawatts! Can we call less than 5,000 megawatts of power generation an improvement in a county of over 160 million people while a less populated country like South Africa with a population of 40 million people are generating over 40,000 megawatts?
The quantity of electricity generated by Power Holding Company of Nigeria and other subsidiaries cannot sufficiently serve a state like Lagos with a population of approximately 10 million without being plunged in perpetual darkness as witnessed across the nation over the years. It is common knowledge that Japan’s Narita Airport consumes about as much electricity as the one a supposedly giant of Africa generates. We also known that Nigeria has as much grid power as Bradford, a post-industrial town of approximately 2.4 million people in the north of England.
If he choses to distance his Presidency from that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s failed policy of power generation – which is an indictment on the PDP led-government – as he did with his Mid-Term report few weeks ago, he should do so with sincerity of purpose. This and many other reasons was responsible for the outright rejection of Olusegun Obasanjo and his maddening Third Term Agenda, TTA for keeping the entire nation in the dark. Chief Obasanjo merely left the nation with a starting block of power generation after he reportedly spent over 16 billion dollars on power generation that never produced electricity.
The Minister of power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, has also put his hard earned reputation on the power line to be electrocuted. He promised improved electricity that never came. As as top class brain with a 1978 First Class honours degree in Mining Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, USA, and a professor of Metallurgical Engineering, it’s lest expected that the Fulbright scholar would fumble with the task as simple as power generation in his field of study.
Nigerians are patiently waiting for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Professor Chinedu Nebo to deliver on their power promise if that means climbing up to the pick of Mount Nebo to actualise it.
Erasmus, a public affairs analyst writes from Lagos, Nigeria.No tags for this post.