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Crushing the cabals in the power sector

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Image: Prof. Chinedu Nebo



Last week, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo in an interview with The Guardian, bemoaned the activities of cabals as inimical to the success of reforming the nation’s electricity sector but promised not be discouraged by such activities. In that interview, Nebo said: “You know that evil forces inhabit human beings and I am sure that you are aware of the fact that the cabals that don’t want the power sector to heal in Nigeria are very powerful. I wouldn’t want to start mentioning them one by one but it is important to remember that there are people who are benefiting from the sufferings of the masses. There are people who are benefiting from Federal Government’s funds that were supposed to be used to address issues but were not used.”

We appreciate the position of the minister in identifying this problem as a first step to solving what has become an intractable problem. But we hope this will not be an excuse that will define his tenure as has been the case in the past.

Just as the failure of the fuel subsidy regime was attributed to the cabals, we hope the Minister of Power will confront this problem head-on from beginning in reforming the electricity sector.

Every day, Nigerians are inundated with reports of the huge sums of money that are being spent in various sectors of the economy without meaningful developments. In the past, there were reports that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) under former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime between 1999 and 2007, gulped US$10 billion, yet we are still in total darkness. So, these claims of spending so much money in one sector or the other of the economy without commensurate development is not new to Nigerians. We therefore want to see actions on the part of the minister as he has promised that it will not be business as usual.

It would have been gladdening for the minister to have mentioned members of the cabal, since he has identified them. We want to take this as being tactical instead of lack of courage.

Surely, every contract agreement is signed before release of funds and therefore all parties are expected to stick fully to the terms of such an agreement which must be invoked in the case of default. Therefore, that Nebo has started ensuring that the letters and spirit of whatever agreement he enters with contractors is respected and all funds remitted for projects are fully utilised to the last kobo, cannot but be cheering.  That is the only way to go and that is the only way to defeat this cabal. We believe that the problems in the power sector and other sectors of the Nigerian society were not created by the so-called cabals, but rather by past government officials who failed to check them or even encouraged them by simply remaining aloof, treating them with kid gloves or conniving with them outright for personal gains.

Though, the minister did not mention the cabals, but it is an open secret in Nigeria that generators and diesel merchants are the cabals that are frustrating the reforms in the electricity sector. When electricity supply became erratic, Nigerians resorted to self-help through the use of generators as alternative sources of electricity. So, those being called cabals today did not create the problem of irregular supply of electricity rather they only seized the opportunities that were created by short supply of electricity by the importation of generators and diesel! If there was regular supply of electricity by the Power Holding of Nigeria (PHCN), there would have been no need for Nigerians to buy generators and diesel.

We believe the cabals are not as powerful as the Federal Government or stronger. This is because the Federal Government has enough powers to deal with them. With patriotism and political will, the Federal Government can deal with the cabals successfully and send them into oblivion. For instance, the celebrated existence of the mafia groups in Italy has not stopped the Italian Government from running effectively. They simply dealt with them whenever their activities came in conflict with good governance. Also, the Colombian Government is currently fighting tooth and nail to stamp out drug barons from the country. The case of Nigeria cannot be different as the Federal Government has enormous powers with which to deal with the cabals if only it can muster the political will and patriotism to do so.

In fact, for this particular minister, there is a lot at stake in that he has built an enviable name over the years, which he cannot allow to be rubbished by allowing any form of failure. It should not be business as usual because Nigerians deserved regular supply electricity.

Happily, the minister himself has promised this. We remain watchful and will hold him accountable and in the months to come, will begin reminding him of this promise. Nothing short of immediate and steady improvement on the power situation in the country will do to engender the confidence of Nigerians that the minister is going to walk his talk. Nobody will understand if the cabal leads to failure. We support the minister to chase away the cabals, but we demand that Nigerians must have light and stress the point by reminding him that the clock is already ticking quite fast.


Article Credit: daily Independent Newspaper

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Updated 6 Years ago

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