As someone who considersNigeriamy second home, I shared the frustration of many Nigerians about the power situation in Amalaman. I have been having the same discussions with colleagues at work and we spent the entire lunch time on it yesterday. I just don’t understand it why a country likeNigeriacannot have steady power. And even when the NEPA power is on, the bulb flicker like candle light (a term I learnt when I spent a night in my friend Kola’s house and he asked me to take note of it).
I remember the words of a former CEO of MTN Nigeria who (reportedly) said that when he arrived freshly inNigeria, he saw a lot of chaos. But on further and careful observation, he realised that just under the top layer of chaos is a system/layer of organisation. The iceberg phenomenon – the top ice is managed by the unseen big ice below the surface. He concluded that the chaos inNigeriais organised chaos, carefully engineered by people for their personal enrichment.
I should find the post I made when I spent a month here in 2009, when I finally understood the reason why the power problem may take longer to solve unless there is a leader who cares not about what his cronies think or a second term – and goes all out to change things inNigeria. I put it this way: The strength of personal greed overpowering the corporate good.
I worked for a company called Nosak between 2009 and 2010, a Nigerian company. One of their major subsidiaries is an oil marketing arm. They supply the diesel requirements of companies to run their gensets. There are many such companies like that, who have made millionnaires here. You think all these guys will sit akimbo for all that demand to go only to NEPA for them to be the one point source of power generation? What of all the companies that are making millions from selling monster generators?
A colleague at work gave a likely solution: all these guys bringing in generators, give them licenses to be power providers. It is not rocket science. WhenGhanaexperienced power issues in the mid-2000s, we augmented the power generation from Akosombo dam, hydro-, with thermal plants. Why can’tNigeriado the same? Recently,Ghanaexperienced power rationing because the power demand outstripped the supply. Reason? Insufficient gas supply fromNigeriato run the thermal plants. So why can’t the supplier of this gas install thermal plants to supply power in their own country? Beats me. I thought President Obasanjo brought in a number of generating units – what happened to them?
Again inGhana, we are having private power providers joining the supply chain like Asogli Power Plant and Tema Osonor Plant Limited. Asogli s generating 200 MW from Combustion Engine Power Plant. Tema Osonor Plant is expected to add 126MW of power to the national grid. Asogli company is an enterprise jointly established by the Shenzhan Energy Group Limited and the China Africa Development Fund, the former having 60 per cent shares and the latter 40 per cent and it has an installed capacity of 560 megawatts.
In a Ghana New Agency (GNA) report posted on Ghanaweb on 13 January, 2012, Mr Haicheng Zhang, Managing Director of the Sunon Asogli Power Plant, stated that the plant alone produced fifteen per cent of the total electricity generated in Ghanain 2011. According to the Ghana Government website (www.ghana.gov.gh), the second phase of the Sunon Asogli Plant Project should be up by end 2012, costing $360million and expected to add 360MW more to the national power generation capacity.
So why can’tNigeriado the same? I made a point yesterday to my colleagues that manufacturing companies inNigerialike PZ, Unilever, the pharmaceutical companies are all running their own gensets and providing power to meet their huge requirements. Some of these sets can supply power to entire suburbs. This is happening right inNigeria, equipment run and services and managed by Nigerians. If the private companies can do it, why can’t the state and federal governments? My take out is that it doesn’t boil down to know-how. It comes down to the will.
The will to want to sort it out. The will to wipe away what I call a national irritation. You realise that I am careful not to call it a national shame, as I am trying to follow the Survival Guide given to me by my friend Bisi not to criticize the land where my bread is now margarined.
If the power managing the top layer will reset its priorities, the power problem in Eko and beyond can be solved, in a few years.