Darkness as Buhari’s scorecard

AS deep as the word ‘darkness’ is, its dictionary meaning is mostly simple. One dictionary simply says it is “the absence or lack of light.” In the practical sense of the word, as defined, bearing your electricity distribution company in mind: Are you in darkness? Or, have you seen the light? The 16th American president, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated before he could fulfil his dream to unite the North and the South, having won the US presidency on an anti-slavery platform. He made a strong case against darkness (another meaning of darkness) which slavery in America depicted.

With the suspension of the operations of Twitter in Nigeria by the federal government, are we not in darkness already?

“When you have succeeded in dehumanising the Negro, when you have put him down and made it forever impossible to be but as the beasts of the field, when you have extinguished his soul and placed him where the ray of hope is blown out in darkness like that which broods over the spirits of the damned, are you quite sure that the demon you have aroused will not turn around and rend you?” That was a question Lincoln had asked as he sensitised Americans against darkness. Nigerians are in a position that can be likened to that in which the Negroes of the American slavery era found themselves in. Dehumanised in very many ways – by various types of policemen; by soldiers and sundry security agencies; denied, degraded and damned: Nigerians are just slaving through the basic tenets of good living. Nigerians cannot boast of good roads, they do not have public water supply and in most homes, there is no electricity power supply. And this is a uniform situation in most parts of the country.

It is common knowledge, in fact a trite contention that Nigerians are their own mini governments in their respective homes, areas and localities: they dig wells and boreholes for their own water; nearly every household has their electricity generating sets; they organise themselves, construct gates and hire security outfits to secure their areas while also always repairing their roads. For those who do, they know that they only pay tax, the purpose for which is often lost on the payer.

A popular riverine community in Ondo State, Igbokoda, by last year, had been without public electricity power supply for 18 years. There hasn’t been news that the situation has changed. The traditional ruler of the town, the Olu Igbokoda Oba Odidiomo, when he spoke about the situation sounded like the fiery activist he was before being thawed by the office of royalty. In an interview, he lamented that his royal colleagues, his dear Igbokoda town and himself were eternally being dribbled by the power Generation Company, the transmission company and the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC). He said the three companies were tossing them to one other like toys. But he was strongly convinced that BEDC was “grossly incompetent to service the areas assigned to it as jurisdiction.” Oba Odidiomo said he saw through a facade BEDC presented as a forte while he could still not understand why his town has been in darkness without recourse to the welfare of his people.

The current abysmal power situation in Ibadan, the vast capital city of Oyo State, and its environs brought the Igbokoda situation to mind. There was a recent sudden drop in power supply in Ibadan. Initially, it was considered the normal “NEPA” thing until the days of darkness lingered longer than usual. The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) reacted through a paid advertisement. In the Nigerian Tribune of Tuesday, 1 June, 2021, IBEDC acknowledged and notified its customers in Oyo, Ibadan, Ogun, Kwara and Osun that the prolonged power outage being experienced was not its fault.

“Kindly note that the outage is due to a drop in power allocation from Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) occasioned by low generation by the Generation Companies (GENCOs). We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and assure our valuable customers that supply will improve as soon as power allocation increases.” The IBEDC is clever enough to slide its head off the trouble of thousands of customers who would have bombarded their telephone and sundry feedback platforms to know why we are where we are.

That was not the first time the IBEDC would be ‘removing its head’ from the mess of poor power supply to the towns and cities in its jurisdiction. More than once in 2017, IBEDC declared that the TCN should not blame it for the power outages. It explained that it only distributed what it got from “the middle-man”, the TCN. So, we are back in the rigmarole… We are still in this push-me-I-push-you situation. When Nigerians would be relieved of this quagmire is not known, and there was no hint at that in the notice by the IBEDC, because it says “supply will improve as soon as power allocation increases.”

Since we have heard from our small lords of power in Ibadan, can our real power lords in Abuja and the overlords elsewhere be kind enough to tell us what is going on? The sustained, unexplained blackout in parts of the country, which is affecting thousands of homes and businesses especially in the IBEDC jurisdiction, is a direct incongruity to the promises of the Buhari administration on power supply.

A visit to the website of the TCN does not reveal anything, and the company has not said it had any problems. So, what is going on?

On February 5, 2020, there was a fire outbreak at the TCN facility at Akinyemi Way in Ibadan. Driving through the Ibadan Ring Road that morning, you could see the billow of smoke, a frightening lump of black cloud taking over a portion of the morning sky. Then, we found that the smoke was from “NEPA Akinyemi”, a facility the owners refer to as Ayede Transmission Station.

The fear that Ibadan would be in darkness for days was as thick as the huge smoke, but there was electricity in most parts of the massive city, hours after the incident. There was no prolonged blackout despite the fire. Some IBEDC customers might have suffered the consequence of that fire. What do we know as the cause of the current power outage across the city and beyond? Why are the GENCOs not generating electricity and why is TCN silent? What consequences are we suffering? Our democracy is 22. Buhari’s administration is six. What is on your scorecard for power?

Remember not to tweet your response because we have been yanked off  Twitter, we’ve been left in the dark.

 

YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

We Have Not Had Water Supply In Months ― Abeokuta Residents

In spite of the huge investment in the water sector by the government and international organisations, water scarcity has grown to become a perennial nightmare for residents of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. This report x-rays the lives and experiences of residents in getting clean, potable and affordable water amidst the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state…

Selfies, video calls and Chinese documentaries: The things you’ll meet onboard Lagos-Ibadan train

The Lagos-Ibadan railway was inaugurated recently for a full paid operation by the Nigerian Railway Corporation after about a year of free test-run. Our reporter joined the train to and fro Lagos from Ibadan and tells his experience in this report…

We Have Not Had Water Supply In Months ― Abeokuta Residents

In spite of the huge investment in the water sector by the government and international organisations, water scarcity has grown to become a perennial nightmare for residents of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. This report x-rays the lives and experiences of residents in getting clean, potable and affordable water amidst the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state…

You might also like
Comments

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More