The power to give President Goodluck Jonathan four more years to prove his worth or Gen. Muhammadu Buhari a chance to make good his word will lie in your hands.
As I sit and ponder which of the two men would be the best choice to move this country forward I can’t help but be confronted by one of the most nagging problems being faced in Nigeria today, and that is the problem of electricity.
I haven’t had light for two days in my district, and this is the federal capital territory of Abuja. Because of the blackout, I had no water even to take a bath because I need electricity to power my water pump. So I drag out my generator to see if it can pump water to the overhead tank for a few minutes so I can have something to clean up with. The fuel tank of the generator is dry.
I send someone to rush to the nearby filling station to buy me 10 litres of petrol. He comes back to me with an empty jerry can.
“Fuel no dey filling station?” I ask him.
“Madam, dem say dem don ban selling of fuel for jerry can.”
“So how dem say make we dey take buy petrol for generator na?”
“Madam, I nor know-o, except na for black market.”
“How much dem dey sell 10 litres for black market?”
“Madam, the guy wey I price from say na N2, 500. As I no fit buy am na im I come back.”
Can you see how the suffering is mounting? The official price for 10 litres of petrol is N870, but the ban has hiked it up to N2,500.
Electricity shortage is a problem we’ve suffered from for so many years. Last December, my husband and I were privileged to attend the short film premiere of ‘The Good Life’ at the Silverbird cinema here in Abuja. The short film is an initiative of Heinrich Boell Stiftung, a German foundation based in Abuja that is passionate about living ‘the green life’…a pollution-free life…with it tentacles spread across the region of West Africa.
They sometimes produce short films that better illustrate some of the most pressing challenges facing Nigerians and the strategies or actions that could solve them. “The Good Life” is a rap musical featuring a rich cocktail of some of Nigeria’s best actors and entertainers. The cast includes Shawn Faqua, DJ Switch (winner of Glo X-Factor), Six Foot Plus, Shaffy Bello-Akinrimisi, Taiwo Arimoro, Tony Ezimadu (Ene’s father in Tinsel), Kayode Aiyegbusi, and Daughter Jack amongst others.
The movie opens with a candle light procession for a guy called Olu Mighty who died from generator fumes while he was asleep at night, which opens the opportunity for talks about alternative energy and renewable energy.
According to the film, for Nigeria to be able to enjoy constant power supply, it needs to be generating 200,000 megawatts of power by the next 15 years. Right now, we are only utilizing 4,000 megawatts. This explains why we are having power problems in Nigeria as this is a far cry from what we ought to be using.
Despite this gross disparity, information I gathered from the film says the Nigerian government has spent N200 billion on the power sector since 1999. Germany has less sunshine but has made good use of solar energy to enable them add about 8,000 megawatts every one year to their existing power supply.
So you can imagine with the maddening sunshine in Nigeria, how much solar energy would have been harnessed for our use. Currently, Brazil is drawing half of its total power from renewable energy…solar energy.
So Nigerians, what are we waiting for? One of President Goodluck Jonathan’s greatest passion for Nigeria is to ensure that our beloved country has constant power supply. We must do all we can to draw his attention to the fact that there are better and more attainable alternatives to meet his goal.
Nigerians, stop selling your future by accepting bags of rice and gallons of vegetable oil in exchange for your basic social amenities. Demand the right action from our leaders. Consider solar energy as an alternative and renewable source of energy that would make pollution and even death from generator fumes, a thing of the past.
Like one of the rappers in the movie said:
The power of nature can power our communities,
And the nation at large, greater prosperity,
My people please let’s consider alternative energy!
God bless Nigeria.
Please watch the short film, “The Good Life” below…
Video Credit: Heinrich Boell Stiftung