Electricity: As A National Security Emergency Issue
Thursday, 13 January 2005
Electricity, as in electrical energy, powers the engine rooms of production processes, in the production of goods and services worldwide. This is true in both the manufacturing, as well as, the services sector of the global economy.
The inability of Nigeria to generate and transmit steady, regular, estimable and reliable electrical power, constitute an impossible burden on the Nigerian economy and any modern economy for that matter! It is one of the most significant inhibitor economic growths, just as it has caused retardation of Nigeria’s national development and progress.
In modern economies, the generation and transmission of electricity is taken for granted and assumed as sacrosanct infrastructure, necessary for the pursuit and realization of efficient production of goods and services
Homes and offices are considered threadbare these days, when such homes are without electricity, as electricity is needed in practically every activities of our daily human lives.
It is equally sacrosanct, the fact that industrial development and advancement is impossible without constant, estimable and reliable supply of electricity. It is surely impossible to contemplate any meaningful industrial and commercial undertaking, without the electrical energy required to power the tools of industrial and commercial endeavors.
At the inception of the current federal administration of President Obasanjo, there were, what appeared to be major strides in the rehabilitation and rejuvenation of electricity generation sector, as the president made promises and carried out actions that pointed to his determination to resuscitate the National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, with a view to increasing the amount of megawatt generated and transmitted throughout Nigeria; Projections were made, deadlines and even ultimatums were set
It did appear then, that the government was making a headway and progress that would be sustained, but now, no one is certain, whether the federal government still has that focus and determination to enhance the megawatt of electricity generated and transmitted throughout Nigeria.
Clearly, the government of Nigeria recognized the advantages and benefits of steady, constant and estimable electric power supply, from recognition, the government moved or progressed to the executions of many projects toward the realization of government objectives, which was to enhance national capacity to generate and transmit electricity to the nooks and crannies of Nigerian, in order to facilitate industrial production, in addition to improving the service sector.
Electricity is sine qua non, a necessary requirement for the operation of production processes, from design to manufacturing of goods, distribution and marketing etc; It must be said that, electricity is also a necessity in today’s world, in the home, office, factory, industries etc. Reliable electric power is an epitome of a modern society, as life today, encompasses rapid processes, requiring computers and machines that engineered to split atoms, computers and machines that are experts in different research models, and the ways of rapid-response of our modern world.
Electricity is crucially important in our private lives, whether in kitchens to operate blenders, food processors and refrigerators or in our bathrooms to propel our toothbrushes or to shave unwanted hairs, electricity is surely pervasive in modern homes for audio and visual entertainment, to name just a few domestic uses.
Electricity is also an essential ingredient and component part, in industrial productions processes, that are often driven or pursued with high machineries and sophisticated modern technologies.
The drive by the current federal government to attain reliable electric power, was hailed by all well meaning Nigerians, in the realization and appreciation of the great importance and improvement, which steady or constant electricity supply could bring to all and sundry.
Multitudes of Nigerians applauded the government’s effort at revitalizing the electrical energy sub-sector in the belief that government’s efforts would be sustained, until the goal of steady and uninterrupted electric power is attained. But in recent times, electric power failure and major blackouts have reared their ugly heads! This is happening, when Nigerians, especially those in the industrial production sector, were beginning to hope to engage in industrial production without the unnecessary additional overhead cost and burdens that comes with reliance on power generator, generators that are all frequently inoperative due to scarcity of petroleum fuel.
Electric power failure in Nigeria is a substantial burden on industries and on private Nigerian citizens, and this can be seen in multitudes of ways, as personal or individual convenience is jeopardized, because Nigerians suffering from electric power failures are unable to enjoy modern amenities and conveniences of life in their homes, be it in kitchen utensils, appliances or other domestic electrical and electronic implements, vacuum cleaners, fans, air-conditioners etc
Unfortunately, the cost of industrial production which is increased because manufacturers must factor-in the unusual cost of electric power generation in Nigeria, these additional burdens and production overhead costs, are passed onto the already bedeviled consumers in Nigeria, and this translate into higher prices of goods and services.
The absence of steady, uninterrupted and reliable electric power in Nigeria has other substantial negative impacts on other sectors of the Nigerian economy, for instance, the climate in Nigeria is tropical or summer-like temperature all year through, this means that the average hotel ought to at minimum have fans and air conditioners installed for tourists convenience, fans, air conditioners, food processors, dry cleaning equipment and other modern appliances are electric power operated, hotels without these cannot expect to attract tourists who are entitled to these, at a minimum, for an enjoyable stay.
All sectors of Nigeria are heavily impacted by power failures, outages, blackouts and even erratic supply.
Electricity generation and transmission in Nigeria should be a priority of a national security magnitude, and it is my view, that President Obasanjo ought to include the provision of steady, estimable and reliable electricity generation and transmission as one, among key legacies that he would leave for Nigerians and Nigeria, as a hallmark of his service as president.. Steady and reliable supply electricity, it must be restated, plays a significant and substantial part in today world, particularly, in view of modern scientific and technological processes that now permeates human lives most pervasively.
Whether this means deregulation, privatization or the removal of subsidies and or the fragmentation of NEPA, so be it! Nigerians deserves better electricity service, even if it requires paying more, because Nigerians pay untold and immeasurable costs for power outages. The government has expended huge amounts of monies already, it not time to give up on ensuring positive results, results that will certainly gladden all Nigerians.
Modern medical equipment have been reportedly damaged, due erratic electric power supply or fluctuations, industrial machineries and production have been ruined or jeopardized by the same erratic power supplies and failures and with steady power supply, I can run ice cream parlors and pop-corn franchise throughout Nigeria and your cousin does not have to shuttle overseas for medical treatment, as the sophisticated medical equipment and machines would finally work and our good medical professional can perform their thankless arduous tasks.
We must create conducive environment in Nigeria for economic growth, an environment that allow and enable striving citizens to feel empowered in their daily chores, in their pursuit of wealth, health and happiness, as Nigeria advance.
Nigeria must urgently pursue the acquisition and sustenance of constant, steady, estimable and reliable electric power generation and transmission, which will in turn, enhance our ability to pursue industrial development, progress and national advancement