Nigeria’s electricity challenge man-made —Fashola •Says uninterrupted power supply to be achieved soon

MINISTER of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said the problem the power sector is facing is man-made and he is determined to ensure the power sector works to the point where Nigeria has uninterrupted power supply.

Fashola, one of the speakers at the maiden edition of Made-in-Nigeria Festival taking place at Eko Atlantic, Lagos, disclosed that his blueprint is in three phases of power-generation, steady supply of power and uninterrupted power supply.

Speaking on the man-made challenges, Fashola said “we had an issue some time ago during an electrification project, we got to this expanse of land and we were told that the land where we need to lay electricity cable belongs to the spirit, the indigenes of that area scared the contractors away by invoking curse on the project.

“I was briefed about this and we entered negotiation with them, you won’t believe this, by the time we finished the negotiation, the ‘spirits’ collected money and we were able to continue with our project’.

“Another instance was where we had a telecommunication mast obstructing electrification of a village, the former regime and the telecommunication company were exchanging letters, all I did was to call the chairman of the company and the mast was removed in a week.

“The power challenges are not impossible, most of them are man-made, I am determined to ensure we get to the point where Nigeria has uninterrupted power supply.”

Speaking further, Fashola said since 1960, Nigeria generated 5,074 megawatts of power for the first time in February 2016.

“We have never generated up to 5,000 megawatts of power since 1960 but we generated 5,074 megawatts of power in February 2016 and this was made possible because we have commenced systematic repair of our power-generating equipment, which is in the phase one of our developmental plans,” he said.

Fashola disclosed that he and his team had a developmental plan consisting of power generation, which is focused on maximising all available power-generating components by repairing them.

The second phase, he said, was steady supply of power while the third phase was uninterrupted power supply.

The minister was speaking as a member of panel consisting of Mrs Adeola Sumola of Bello Osagie & Associates; Ms Chantel Abdul, Managing Director/CEO, Mojek International and Mr Mofid Karameh, chairman, Mikano Group, Dr Ogho Okiti, publisher of Economics Times, Abuja, was the moderator.

Fashola reiterated government’s resolve to get electricity to the rural areas by engaging universities located in the areas.

Chairman, FirstBank Plc, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, who spoke at the second session on the topic: “Empowering the Made-in-Nigeria Economy: Private Sector’s role in Infrastructural Revival in Nigeria,” said “building infrastructure is how well you can achieve the goals you set for yourself.”

“I noticed that most of the bags our children use in this country come from abroad. I just said to myself, a textile company can just develop these bags and our economy will be better for it. This will count as infrastructural development. We need to create infrastructure support for industries in our economy,” Mrs Awosika opined.

The Made-In-Nigeria festival is being organised by the MaIN Group, a collaboration of private sector organisations.