Nigeria’s Power Crises
Electricity generation and distribution in Nigeria cuts a very pathetic picture. Nothing has underlined the failure of this country in its quest for socio-economic advancement more than the failure, the collapse of its power sector. In the last couple of days, weeks, the power grid collapsed severally, thereby putting the manufacturing sector, in short the private and public sectors, the ordinary consumers in dire strait.
The national power grid collapsed a couple of days ago, after a similar occurrence, causing a nationwide outage as the entire system crashed due to the loss of 1,100 megawatts from a 3,700mw peak generation earlier as recorded.Earlier it was worse, collapsing to as low as 1,000 mw.
If the present Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari should leave office next year without fixing the power sector, the already disappointed Nigerians would not forgive him and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the failure. And from the look of things, they will require miracle to do that.
Not many, including this writer, believe in such a turnaround. It is sad that power supply and distribution remains one of Nigeria’s greatest challenges. And the solution appears not to be in sight because those put in the administration of this sector have come to reap fortunes from it, at the expense of Nigerians and the progress of the nation as a whole.
According to Power Africa Fact Sheet Report, Nigeria with a population of about 200 million, and a GDP of $397.27 billion is the largest economy in Africa, but has limitations in the power sector with constrain growth. The tragedy of the nation is that it has not been able to harness it potentials to meet its power requirements. The report said: “Nigeria is endowed with large oil, gas, hydro and solar resources, and it has the potential to generate 12,522 MW of electric power from existing plants.
On most days, however, it is only able to dispatch around 4,000 MW, which is insufficient for a country of over 195 million people. Power Africa technical support to distribution companies in Nigeria helped them increase revenue by over $250 million – money that can be reinvested into the distribution network, improving service and expanding access.” The Nigerian power sector experiences many broad challenges related to electricity policy enforcement, regulatory uncertainty, gas supply, transmission system constraints, and major power sector planning shortfalls that have kept the sector from reaching its desired height.
In comparison with Ghana, while Africa’s largest nation has not been able to increase its people’s access to electricity, access in Ghana leaped by 500% between 1991 and 2000. Nigeria’s own was mere 62 per cent access within the period. However per capita consumption actually fell over the same period, suggesting electricity usage was unaffordable.
Ghana was also one of the primary countries to develop an energy action plan, in response to the initiative for Sustainable Energy for All. My country, your country, our country Nigeria is not making the required progress, instead it is regressing because it is of faulty government policies and implementation, which will occupy another edition. Then not to leave out the master of them all, corruption. There are other sources of electricity generation which we have not tapped, especially coal and solar.
Nigeria and indeed West Africa have some coal reserves , approximately 10 percent of coal in Africa, particularly Nigeria. The sub region also exhibits some nuclear resources. In addition to coal reserves, Nigeria contains natural gas and oil resources. On the other hand, Central Africa has abundant hydro-electric resources due to the multiple rivers that run through this region. The publication Energy Economics estimates that replacing South African coal power with hydroelectric imported from the Democratic Republic of the Congo could save 40 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
On its part the Federal Government has stated that it has upgraded the Okpai, Odukpani and Alam VI power plants as part of efforts to improve power supply in the country.The government said this last weekend following the recent collapse of the national grid, resulting in nationwide blackout. Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, said the government has also directed the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) to begin negotiations with Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to establish the new Okpai 11 power plant on the grid.
The new power plant, it is hoped, will add 400 megawatts of generation capacity, the minister said in a statement.
He said the Presidential Power Initiative has been put in place to mitigate future occurrence of a grid failure. Of course many Nigerian cities were thrown into darkness last week after the national grid collapsed. Coming at a time of severe fuel crisis, the outage left homes and businesses without electricity. Successive Nigerian governments have promised but failed to turn around the country’s power sector which on average produces about 4,000 megawatts for a population of 200 million.
The Buhari administration signed a deal with the Germany’s Siemens to overhaul the sector, but there is yet little to show with the government having a year to complete its two terms of eight years.
The Minister said the recent outage and collapse of the national grid were linked to poor maintenance and shortage of gas.
According to him: “The gas pipeline affected by acts of vandalism has been restored and the Okpai power plant has resumed power generation and currently contributing an average of 300MW,” he said. Good talk no doubt by the Minister. Nigerians are waiting for its workability.
Nigeria’s Olympic Eagles
Nigerians, especially the country’s football followers have been expressing concern over the dwindling fortunes of the country’s Men’s Olympic soccer team, usually referred to as the Dream Team or the Under-23 Eagles. It was another disappointing moment for the country when Nigeria failed to qualify for 2024 Olympics holding in Paris after suffering defeat to Guinea on March 28, 2023.Nigeria’s Under -23 National Team were defeated 2-0 by Guinea in the final qualifier for this year’s Under -23 Africa Cup of Nations holding in Morocco. Second-half goals from Algassime Bah and Alseny Soumah sealed the fate of Nigeria in an encounter decided on a neutral venue, in Rabat, Morocco. Guinea therefore booked their qualification for the AFCON final round after they recorded a 0-0 draw in the first leg decided in Abuja. As a result of their elimination, the Eagles will not play at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, a competition their predecessors won gold in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996, and silver in Beijing, China in 2006. This will not be the first time Nigeria will fail to make it to an Olympic football final, where the country has made great impact as a force to reckon with in the quadrennial event. The team also failed to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after failing to progress beyond the group stage of the Under-23 AFCON. The 2023 Under -23 AFCON will be hosted by Morocco between June 24 and July 8, 2023.The top three teams at the tournament will qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympic men’s football tournament. The fourth placed team will play the Asian Football Confederation–CAF playoffs to decide the final slot at the Olympics Qualification.
Morocco qualified automatically as hosts. The following eight teams qualified for the main tournament: Morocco (hosts), Egypt, Congo, Gabon; Ghana, Guinea Mali and Niger. For most Nigerians, August 3rd 1996 would be etched forever in the memory of African football custodian and even more so for soccer-loving Nigerian fans who celebrated with glee the country and indeed the continent’s historic first soccer gold medal win at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Prior to the feat of the West Africans at the quadrennial games in Atlanta, African teams had laboured to win any kind of medals dating back to 1920 when Egypt were the first to represent the continent in the Olympic Football Tournament (OFT).The Pharaohs lost the third-place classification to the then East Germany at the 1964 Games in Tokyo while other notable headlines included that of Zambia which hammered Italy 4-0 with a famous hat trick scored Kalusha Bwalya in one of their preliminary group matches at the1998 Games in Seoul; and there was also a historic Bronze medal for the Black Meteors of Ghana at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics Games.
Four years after Ghana’s feat in Spain, Nigeria went inches further when her national Under -23 team, proudly tagged the Dream Team, in reference to the assemblage of some talented players by Dutch coach Jo Bonfrere won the soccer gold medal with spectacular success in Atlanta, USA.In their memorable outing in Atlanta, the Nigerians’ game against the South Americans, Brazil, in the semi-final was regarded as the final-before-final and by 78th minute, the peerless Brazilian complete with the like of Ronaldo, Bebeto were leading Nigeria by 3-1. But the West Africans had other ideas as they turned the tide with barely quarter of an hour left of regulation time. But why have the successive Nigerian teams not able to meet up or reenact the spectacular successes of their predecessors, especially the 1996 side under the guidance of Coach Jo Bonfrere and the 2006 under Coach Samson Siasia. The answer is not far-fetched. The Nigerian Football Federation [ NFF] of those times were very committed to ensuring the success of the national teams .The players’ welfare, organization of friendly matches and above all the appointment of reputable coaches were given utmost priority. These, unfortunately are not the case with the present NFF, especially with the poor leadership exhibited by the Amaju Pinnick regime the high point of it was the failure of Nigeria to qualify for Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, among other failings. We are therefore enjoining the present NFF under the leadership of Ibrahim Musa Gusau to x-ray some of the problems facing the team, as well as other squads under their stable to make the country’s football regain its pre-eminence in continental and world football.
Flood: Where Federal Government Dropped the Ball
About 31 states of the federation are currently affected by flood. In the list are: Abia, Imo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Kebbi, Adamawa, Anambra, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kogi, Niger, Ekiti, Enugu, Delta, Benue, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Taraba, Yobe, Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In the front row of the devastation are Bayelsa, which is almost totally inundated, given its low lying topography, so also Rivers, Nasarawa, Kogi and Benue.While it is estimated that over 700 Nigerians, mostly women and children have drowned in the flood, Nigeria’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, through its Permanent Secretary, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, while announcing federal government’ flood mitigation action plan, mid last month, put the human casualty estimate at more than 500, with 1,500 injured and about 1. 4 million displaced.
He acknowledged that the disaster had impacted farmlands across the 31 affected states, making the 2012 flood incident pale in weight and significance and the present one worst in annals, at least as far as the memories of the victims can take them.
On her part, Sani-Gwarzo’s supervising minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq says approximately 2,776 persons have been injured and 612 persons dead across the country due to the devastating effects of the floods. Putting more numbers to havoc, Farouq said that 181,600 houses have been partially damaged and 123,807, damaged totally. In addition, 176,852 hectares of farmlands she disclosed have been partially damaged while 392,399 hectares are damaged totally.
With the damage, all the crops in the farmlands in the flooded areas of the affected states have all perished, heightening the fear of increased food shortages in the country. In Nasarawa State for instance, the over $15 million worth of Olam Rice Farm, covering 4,500 hectares of land was destroyed alongside some physical farm infrastructure such as dykes, canals and drainage worth $8 million.
In all of these, Sani-Garzo revealed that the interventionist ministry has only been able to reach out to about 300,000 of the victims with food and non-food items. This figure, Farouq clarified, spread across 31 states of the federation.
This is paltry by every measure for a disaster which well-meaning Nigerians have called that it should be designated a national emergency by the federal government or at least that the government sets up a presidential relief committee for the victims’ support.
While no such far-reaching drastic measures was considered, it became rather agonizing seeing that the responses of the national government to the widespread disaster, lacked life and spirit. While federal government’s palliatives are manifestly sparring and slow in coming, the three months period within which President Buhari wants the Minister of Water Resources and his Transportation counterpart alongside state governments to afford him a Comprehensive Plan of Action for Preventing Flood Disaster in Nigeria could be anything but urgent in the face of the deaths and devastation.
Some states at the moment have as many as 12 temporary displaced peoples camps, spread in school premises and worship centres, all crawling with people whose bedrooms can now only be accessed with canoe.
Even a visit to any of the worst-hit states by President Muhammadu Buhari could have sent a signal of empathy to the affected being the leader of the nation. But we saw none of it. Not even to Nasarawa and Kogi-states which are contiguous to the federal seat of power-much less the far-flung Bayelsa, Delta, Anambra, Imo, Kano, Adamawa, Rivers and Benue. This is even as nearby Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, was cut off from the rest of the country by the flood for two long weeks, triggering fuel scarcity and cost additions to the runaway food price inflation in the FCT.
Buhari’s disinterest to empathize with the citizens with a visit ran counter to calls by different groups and tendencies in the country on him to go and fraternize with the broken and bereaved citizens. The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) which wanted him to come to any of the states of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states, to see for himself the level of damage and destruction caused by the flood noted that such aligned with the practice of other national leaders when natural disasters strike their countries and citizens.
DAILY ASSET strongly feels that the federal government underestimated the carnage caused by the flood or perhaps initially felt unconcerned about it, given that Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) gave early warning about the flood, by pointing to increased rainfall this year and release of water by Cameroonian authorities in its Lagdo Dam which usually inundates River Benue and its tributaries and communities along its flood plains. It needs to be pointed out, however, that no circumstance or reason can excuse a government for leaving its citizens in the lurch or to stew in their own juice.
Apart from the early warning, what was the next proactive measure the federal government took in trying to protect the lives and properties of the citizens in flood endangered communities? The answer is none!
National Defence College Graduates 2,549 Participants in 30 Years – Commandant
The Commandant, National Defence College (NDC), Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, said the college has graduated no fewer than 2,549 participants from within and outside Nigeria in its 30 years of existence.
Bashir stated this while briefing newsmen on the college 30th Anniversary and Graduation of Course 30 Participants of NDC on Monday in Abuja.
The commandant was represented by the Deputy Commandant and Director of Studies, NDC, Maj.-Gen. Emeka Anumajuru.
He said that 216 of the participants were drawn from strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); 92 from Nigerian Police and 254 international participants from allied nations.
According to him, among the participants were people who had reached the pinnacle of their career in the various services and MDAs.
The commandant said the college deemed it necessary to mark its 30th anniversary, having been able to record landmark success stories, especially in the remit of its mandate.
According to him, the college has the mandate to train selected senior military officers, their counterparts from strategic MDAs and the police to be able to operate at the strategic level within and outside the country.
“We insist our participants understand how to use the entire gamut of elements of national power to be able to achieve strategic objectives.
“That, in a nutshell, is the mandate of the college and that is what we strive to achieve since 1992 that the college was established.
Bashir said that NDC was a key arm of National Defence Diplomacy because of its level of interaction between the college and members of the armed forces from foreign countries.
He said the college could pride itself in advancing the nation’s defence diplomacy and ultimately the national foreign policy of Nigeria.
According to him, the college, too, is a centre of excellence in the conduct of peace support operations as a strategic level.
He added that NDC was a key partner in AU and ECOWAS in advancing peace support operations, particularly as regards the theoretical components that advance the missions at the strategic level.
The commandant also said that NDC could pride itself in corporate social responsibility in its host communities such as Ushafa in terms of provision of infrastructures, medical outreach, schools and even scholarship.
He said that series of programmes had been lined up for the 30th anniversary such as sports, humanitarian activities and award night as well as graduation lecture and graduation course 30 participants.
According to him, so many of the participants have been service chiefs in their armed forces.
“This year will be honouring two of them who are current service chiefs from Burkina Faso and Uganda.
“So, when you graduate participants who rise to the position of service chiefs in their respective countries, of course you have a link to those countries because we will monitor their progresses and they remain part of us. (NAN)
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