by crossriverwatch admin
The Director, Centre for Petroleum Energy Economics and Law, University of Ibadan, Prof. Adeola Adenikinju says he has heard that due to the unending problem of unstable power supply in the country, doctors at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH sometimes operate patients with light from their mobile phones.
Prof. Adeola who was guest lecturer at the 15th Professor Bassey Andah Lecture held in Calabar recently, while speaking on the topic: ‘Power and Sustainable Development: The Place of Power in The Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government’said: “In the Goodluck Transformation agenda and in the Millennium Development Goals, power/electricity is missing which is the only factor that can ascertain the achievements of the others.
“When power is omitted from the president’s transformation agenda and the MDG, how can the others be actualized, he questioned. The difference between developed and under-developed countries is the amount of power in circulation, the place of electricity in the daily life of man cannot be over emphasized.” The professor added.
He maintained that the shortage of electricity in the country is a major setback for the country comparing and equating the 4000 Mega Watts the entire country uses to that used by Heathrow Airport, London saying that “The entire supply of electricity Nigeria uses is not up to that of Heathrow Airport London which is a pitiable situation that any Nigeria leader that rectifies this problem will write his name on the book of record in the minds of the people. At independence we and Iran were at the strata of 6000 Mega Watts but theirs today is over 60, 000 Mega Watts while we are still fluctuating from 2000 to 4000 not even up to the 6000 we started with, I’ve heard of cases where even doctors of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH operate patients with touch light from their mobile phone which is a disgrace that we as Nigerians should not smile at anymore but seek for possible ways of eradicating the menace”.
Chairman of the occasion, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw who is also Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC Board, in his remark lamented the outrageous bills the power companies give to consumers even in the face of epileptic supply of electricity to communities.
He said: “The frustration we face as electricity consumers is enormous, from the lady in the market that grinds and sale pepper to the manager of a cement factory, light is very important. There was a time when I travelled with my family for vacation and upon returning we discovered that all the soup, meat and fish we preserved in the refrigerator had gone bad because of epileptic power supply, but at the end of every month NEPA will slap me with heavy bill that I must pay and as we speak for over 2 months my neighborhood has no light because our transformer has been vandalized and those to fix it say they know where to get the missing parts from, I guess you know what that means”.
Further recounting his ordeal Sen. Bassey said, “I remember on an occasion during when I was campaigning for the Senate in 2003 I watched a young accident victim died because of poor power supply at the General Hospital Akamkpa, the doctors and nurses where helpless. I felt bad and cried”.
Mr. Eyo Ekpo, Commissioner, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission in his keynote address said “transformation as captioned in the theme of the lecture cannot be differentiated easily from that of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration with teeming Nigerians who want to show how things have not been transformed in the country you’ll know that truly transformation is still a working process”.
He revealed that “Between 2001 and 2003 when I was one of the world bank employees with the bureau of public enterprise; when the work of completing the enactment of the electric power reform act was on, my greatest challenge as a team leader of Power Sector Reform Team was to ensure that the bill leaves the National Assembly after spending two years after, to the President for assent.
“That was my first hand experience with our work in this country politically, after passing through the stress of ensuring that the bill passed the legislative processes to get to Olusegun Obasanjo’s table, the then President, I met my saddest day in life when in May 2003 we took the bill to him at the State House and he bluntly refused signing it because it will empower his deputy who was the statutory Chairman of the National Council of Privatization whose duty it was to implement the actions of the bill. For his self political reason he didn’t endorse the bill till 2005 after a lot of pressure”, the NERC Boss said.
He assured that NERC is doing all its best as the regulatory body to ensure fair tariffs in the country and ultimately get Nigerians to pay less for electricity.
High points of the lecture was the presentation of awards to the Bassey Andah Foundation Essay Competition winners. The topic of the essay was “Computer and Education” and the 1st price of fifty thousand Naira went to Miss. Joan Chiladu of Holy Child Secondary School Calabar while the 2nd price of thirty thousand Naira went to Master Joshua Jacob of Government Secondary School Uwanse Calabar and Master Nathaniel Eyo came 3rd carting away Twenty Thousand Naira.
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