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Why Nigeria Is Experiencing Epileptic Power Supply – Power Min., Aliyu

Nigeria has experienced a terrible power supply in the last few months. There have been a lot of hearsays about the cause. However, the Minister of Power, Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu, has identified the collapse of the national grid, scheduled maintenance of the facilities, and vandalization of pipelines as some of the factors responsible for the epileptic power supply.

Other factors are disputes linking to the availability of gas and payment for gas contracts between gas companies and power generating outfits. Alhaji Aliyu made the explanations recently while fielding questions from the journalists after the virtual weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which was chaired by the Vice President Professor Yemi Osibanjo at the State House, Aso Rock, Abuja.

There is nothing wrong with the Minister or a Federal Government (FG) official stepping forward to explain an abnormality. Indeed, it is expected of the FG or any of its officials to always calm the frayed nerves of the populace with explanations anchored on truthful, objective and verifiable information. But the Minister’s remarks regrettably do not meet the referred standards.

The Federal Ministry of Power and its agencies are unlikely to elicit any sympathy for the manufacturing state of the national grid, which is a by-product of the age-long warped policy of centralisation of the electricity sector. For as long as the country has opted for the retrogressive option of centralisation of such a strategic sector, her recurring power failure may not be over.

By the concept of the national grid, Nigeria has inadvertently eclipsed the scientific com- engineering ingenuity that could have shot up in different parts of the country for a realisable stable power supply.

The electricity generated from a limited number of locations is unlikely to satisfy the army of the component units and other consumers who seem not to be making conscious efforts to transit from the spectators-like status of consumers to generators and distributors of electricity. It is unfortunate that the power sector is being visited with vandalisation of facilities.

This could be said to be a reflection of the large scale insecurity that has enveloped Nigeria for decades now. But much as insecurity is a disturbing menace, it could not be regarded as a justification for an enduring epileptic electricity supply in a country whereby security continues to get the lion share in the Annual Appropriation Bill. I consider the other factors for epileptic power supply.

Under normal circumstances, facilities should be subjected to scheduled maintenance. Controversies over the availability of gas as well as disputes in respect of payments for the gas contracts between gas outfits and power generating companies are also normal in business transactions in the electricity sector.

The failure of the Federal Ministry of Power and her agencies to rise promptly to tackle the referred grey areas raises a lot of questions over the managerial acumen of the dramatis personae in the referred organisations.

The promise by Aliyu that the grey areas were being sorted out could not be comforting enough. Even long before his explanations, epileptic power supply had grown wings in Nigeria with some supposed consumers of electricity being made to pay for either darkness or services not rendered.

The hope that the minister’s remarks ought to have conveyed was deflated by his failure to accept the concept of a centralised electricity sector as an obstacle to an improved power supply and his equally conspicuous unwillingness to discuss the decentralisation of the sector.

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