Random musing: Power Sector reform and Nigerians – by Frank Ofili16 views
My town, Illah in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, got electricity, and was connected to the national grid, during the military era. The Military Government funded everything – the cables, the poles, the transformers. Everything! Electricity supply was fairly stable, though not hundred percent. And we were not asked to pay electricity bills.
Then Democracy came, civilians took over government, power supply seized, and everything died and rotted away. Politicians started telling us about power sector reform and privatization as a guarantee to uninterrupted power supply.
We bought their story. Twenty years on, 20 whole years since Democracy, my town cannot even see a blink of electricity anymore. Power sector reform and privatization have gone full cycle, and we are worse off.
Now to have electricity, we had to task ourselves to procure our own transformers, cables, poles etc. And we still don’t have electricity even after all these. And we still have to pay electricity bills. It has been one story or another from DISCO. And this is the lot of every community who wishes to have electricity in today’s Nigeria.
In deed, I don’t know any community in Nigeria today that has not passed, or would not pass through these huddles to get public power supply. There is always one story or another from DISCOs. A certain government we elected put this arrangement in place. And this current government is averse to terminating the arrangement for obvious reasons. I hear a clause in the agreement ensures it will cost the country some $5 billion dollars in settlement if government decides to walk that path.
Power sector reform left a bitter taste in our mouth.
Let me repeat myself for the umpteenth time. The greatest fraud happening in Nigeria is in the power sector. And it is an ongoing fraud.