​Epileptic Power: How to keep 170 million people in the dark (a step-by-step guide)

It’s no longer news that power supply in this country is in great recession and keeps dwindling daily to the land of no return. 

The ABDG (2009) reported that indeed, the gap in power sector has far reaching implications for improving businesses, sustaining economic growth and the social well-being of Nigerians. It was stated in their report that 45% of the population has access to electricity, with only about 30% of their power demand being met.

In order to be elected into office, different politcians in the past had promised to restore constant power supply to the nation but with nothing to show at the expiry of their tenure (except huge budgets for power and more darkness, Obasanjo was pretty exceptional in this regard). 

At the end of 2009, Nigeria had an installed electricity capacity of about 6000 megawatts with only a maximum of about 4000MW available: a mix of 36% HEP and 64% thermal source (coal, mineral and natural gas). In 2013, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, made it known that the country was running its power supply at a capacity of 2,290MW and this was attributed to the vandalism of two major gas pipelines supplying gas to eight power generating stations in the country. So, instead of generating more power, Nigeria is actually generating less power. Meanwhile, South Africa with a population of 53 million generates 50,421 MW. And Nigeria is said to be the giant of Africa. Right?

Electricity is essential to development of a nation’s economy and in Nigeria with a population of over 170 million people and with about 70% living below the poverty line of $1 a day, the role of electricity cannot be ruled out in the economic growth of the country. It has been observed that the citizens of many poor nations have less access to electricity and the richer countries have more access to electricity and consume far more electricity than the poor countries, suggesting that access to electricity is directly proportional to a higher standard of living and overall economy growth of a nation.
Looking at the potential sources of power in Nigeria, it is established that the country is capable of generating adequate and efficient power for the use of the nation. Various resources such as Coal, Mineral, Oil, Gas, Hydro-electric power and Solar are abundantly available and mostly wasting away or being mined by expatriates. The north is so hot, yet solar is in its. Decades after independence, we are still fixated on crude oil.

No doubt, industrialization is a major backbone for the economic development of a country. Industrial production in any nation accelerates the pace of structural transformation and diversification of economies; enables a country to fully utilize its factor endowment and to depend less on foreign supply of finished goods or raw materials for its economic growth.

In recognition of the importance of industrialization to economic development, Nigeria since independence has adopted various policies, incentives and schemes to promote industrialization. Despite these numerous policies and incentives, the industrial sector seems to be experiencing sluggish growth.

It has been established that electricity galvanizes national and global economic activities; even to communicate with one another is powered by electricity. Accordingly, telecommunication operators are now finding it difficult to continue to run their transmission masts on a 24-hour standby diesel generating sets across the country. The financial burden of running such telecoms masts is being shifted to consumers through higher tariffs which results in inflation. Already, companies that cannot cope with the additional costs have either been forced to close shop or simply relocate to neighboring countries.

Furthermore, the effects of poor power supply is not only limited to the industrial sector. The basic and functional unit of every sector of the nation is power and due to its failure, other sectors are crumbling like a pack of cards, thereby plunging the nation into economic crises. Many small scale businesses are affected due to poor power supply and therefore startups are not being encouraged. Let’s not forget that while-collar jobs remain scarce so the enterprising youth who would have started a revenue generating business is forced to chase shadows.

While this step-by-step guide is by no means exhaustive, we believe
 that apart from chasing the corrupt, (thumbs up to EFCC) there is the basic need to ensure we have stable power supply in this country by urgently exploring alternative sources of power (Minister Fashola, pls do something) if we are serious putting Nigeria’s economy on a solid pedestal, empowering her citizenry and making Nigeria the true giant of Africa instead of the powerless big brother it currently is.

Written by:

Okesooto Oluwaseyi
with contributions from:

Ogunbowale Olugbenga 
Toluwase Thomas 

Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded Epower.ng, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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