I have prayed to God to enable me start this year with a positive attitude but this country will not let me. Every day, as I read one story after another, my cynicism and pessimism slowly creeps back in.I have read a lot of stories during my time writing this column. Stories that have alarmed me so much that I began to doubt the sanity of our leaders. From Madam Etteh’s massage beds to Ibori’s air conditioned prison cell, many stories have been too good to be true.
However, this next story is the one that made me exclaim, “tufiakwa! Una don craise finish for dis country!” As usual, I was reading my daily dose of Nigerian news (a task that many Nigerians must have abandoned, if not, they will be out protesting at this very moment) when I saw a story in the Vanguard titled “Aliero denies move to power Abuja with generators” dated 9th, January 2009.
In this article, it seems the minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, was trying to deny statements which had formerly been given to journalists about powering Abuja streets with generators. He now attested that it was not “the whole of FCT” that will be powered with generators.
First of all, who was that human being that thought that using generators to power the streets of any city was a good idea? Who brought up that harebrained idea and who were the others that actually listened to such stupidity?
Such an idea is an insult to my intelligence and to the people of this nation. It’s very clear that using generators will not solve the problem in the long run. We all know that. Case closed. However, because of the necessity to function as a society, we have all been forced into accepting generators as if they are the norm of the society. It is not normal and has never been. We are polluting our environment seriously and blatantly wasting the earth’s resources because of our laziness in solving this problem. When countries all over the world are investing strongly in the conservation of the environment, Nigeria is doing the opposite. Again, we insist on moving backwards. Abuja is situated in the right area where solar energy can actually be considered as a means to solving the electricity problem. Yet, did anybody come up with such an idea? No. We hate to see the utilization of resources, we rather squander them. The earth that has given Nigeria so much is to be raped and abused as we want.
If the government goes ahead with this ridiculous idea, I would love to see who benefits from such a contract. Who shall supply the generators? Who shall supply the diesel? Who shall build the generator plants? In fact, I want to know who will supply the “pure water” for the labourers as those plants are being built. I have no idea how all this is supposed to be cheaper than investing in improving our own electricity.
Have you ever heard of the capital of a nation, powering its streets with generators? This nation baffles me. Most of the Niger-Delta is engulfed in darkness, hospitals are almost non-functional because of the lack of power supply, and this is the priority of the government? Street lights in Abuja? I understand the need for the capital of the nation to be safe for its citizens but surely we can come up with a better solution?
Using generators to power street lights is just a short term solution. The problem of electricity in Nigeria has to be solved once and for all. As long as we keep falling back on generators, Nigeria is not ready to move forward on this issue. I implore the government of Nigeria to show more determination and strength of character on this matter. I strongly believe this problem can be solved if we pursue it relentlessly instead of relying on the usual half measures we so easily succumb to.