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By Segun Balogun

September 11, 2011

Why this project at this time?

This project serves two purposes: to set the agenda for the new administration to the effect that lack of electricity in Nigeria will be first priority and nothing else. And to create a greater awareness that, the lack of electricity denies Nigerians of their fundamental basic necessities of life.

We want to drive this point home to the Nigerian leadership and as such, we are calling for a simultaneous peaceful Nigerian Million March set for October 24th, in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, London, and several locations in the USA; to express our discontent and to bring global attention to this problem and, with the hope of forcing and pressing our leaders to perform. We are also encouraging the citizens of Nigeria around the globe who are not fortunate to be physically present at any of the locations, to organise a march wherever they reside.

Many Nigerians have different sordid electricity tales to tell. You live in the US, so what sordid tale kick-started this project?

The date was Thursday February 3rd 2011. I read an article in a Nigerian newspaper titled “Government intensifies effort to generate power from nuclear sources.” I could not believe what I just read. As a nation we are not able to effectively manage a conventional power grid and, here we are “intensifying effort” at Nuclear power. This, to me, is a brazen “Bait and Switch” scheme, perpetrated to suction our money for the next 100 years.

I was livid, to say the least, and was madly upset after reading the article. Enough already. I slapped the dining table. This is another ploy of diverting attention from solving the pressing electricity crisis. We are about to embark on another white elephant project, a very dangerous one for that matter.

All Nigerians should be mad too. Nuclear power is no child’s play. In the United States, no community wants such a project in their neighbourhood. It’s called a “NIMBY” (Not In My Back Yard) in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan due to earthquake. The country is now planning to eventually phase out operation of nuclear plants. Germany is also planning a gradual phase out as well due to high risks involved in nuclear plant operations. It requires an astronomical technical capabilities and a world class maintenance culture. May I remind us of our maintenance culture? Zilch.

All things considered, the idea of Nuclear plant operation in Nigeria is a joke like many other projects such as the Ajaokuta project, the refineries. Nigerians, we need to wake up, and stop this nuclear train idea before, it leaves the station. Otherwise, we’ve got another giant sucking “black hole” scheme coming.

But federal government claims it is investing huge sums in the power sector, especially since the roll out of the power sector roadmap…

Of course, we at ‘Let there be light in Nigeria’ project group agree that huge sums of money were being poured into power sector. What is annoying is the excuse that government officials keep telling us such investments have “gestation period.” That’s the “Nigerian leader swagger talk” and it’s a code to cover up for business as usual, another contract fund embezzled.

Show us the project plans, the Scope, the Master Schedules, the Milestones, the Period of Performances, the deliverable dates on these contracts, rather than talking about “gestation” period.

There are thousands of contract that are several years past delivery due dates. Can someone show us a one mile radius in Nigeria today that has consistently sustained un-interrupted electricity supply, even after the huge sums of money that were poured unto the power sector?

It’s high time we expressed our major discontent against our leaders and press them very hard to start delivering on the electrification power contracts and to stop their wicked and cruel ways of continuously raking us over.

What exactly should Nigerians be demanding from government?

Transparency and accountability. At least, power issues do not fall under classified information. We want to know what happened to the funds expended on numerous contracts that had been awarded. Without this, we believe more investments will not necessarily solve the problem if, it keeps going the same route as the old investments.

We just want this electricity problem taken care of promptly and efficiently and we realise electricity is not a peculiar problem. There are plenty of solutions everywhere and around the globe to choose from…Read more.