Friday, August 27, 2010
By January 08, 2011, there will be approximately 35 million Nigerians between the ages of 18-35. We will embody the hopes of another generation, a generation neither touched by the civil war nor old enough to have enjoyed the brief period of prosperity that followed the oil boom.
We will represent a generation that cannot remember any cross country journey we undertook without encountering craters in the middle of the road. A generation that inherited broken down schools, discouraged teachers and a confused education system. A generation, forced to compete in a world they were not adequately prepared for.
We, 35 million of us, are an advance guard for a generation of Nigerians who grew up drinking from boreholes, streams and ponds, who lit their way at night, and in the early mornings with lanterns, candles or torches. To whom luxury meant to sleep in your own bed with the, ironically, comforting noise of a personal generator providing the assurance that your home appliances will be useful, for a little longer.
Our generation has been unfortunate to emerge in a time when the HIV/AIDS pandemic is at its peak. Gripping fatally at the lives of our contemporaries, cutting them down at their prime. To make matters worse, we have the added misfortune of being born in a place where the healthcare and social welfare systems either do not exist or are incapable of protecting us from the fate imposed by this or any other ill of its nature.
We remember the police for bribery, politicians for corruption and the public utilities for ineptitude. We will insist that we have survived so far in spite of, not because of, the contributions of these people or institutions.
For our generation, a great Nigeria is a dream or a collection of stories and doctrines handed down by our fathers, read in textbooks or chorused out in the National Anthem. It has never been our experience. We have experienced no greatness from which we can weave stories to inspire our children or grandchildren. Our memories will be of malnourishment in boarding schools; violence debauchery and strikes in University; robbery, rape and death at home and in our neighborhoods.
We have never voted in an election considered to be free, fair or credible. We have never controlled our fate.
But we can rewrite our own story.
We can respond to our challenges together, like the great Nigerians we so desperately want to be. We can shake off complacency and embrace collective action. We can become the heroes of the great stories we will tell our children.
We are doctors, lawyers, engineers, planners, musicians, actors, models, handymen, builders, cleaners and students. We are the minds that will imagine a new dawn. We are the hands that will make it happen. 35 million of us. We can tell a better story than our fathers told. Our children can inherit a greater Nigeria than we were born into.
Yes we can!
And we must!
For none of our individual brilliance, or industry will amount to anything if the collective wellbeing continues to be at peril. For even if we attain our individual dreams, our marble palaces will be surrounded by slum, and stagnant gutters. Our walls and shadows will be hounded by robbers, and hoodlums who – having been denied existence by society – will seek to prey on our success. For survival is a basic natural instinct, and when it is not guaranteed, it expresses itself in vice.
Our standing in the world will continue to plummet. We will continue to be treated as lepers - the butt of cheap jokes and scathing satire. And we will not have a better story to tell, to balance any of these.
Unless we say Enough is Enough!
So come October, 2010, just as our nation celebrates 50 year of little or nothing after independence, we will come together as the most numerous political force in its history. We will take the opportunity of this unique anniversary to start a quiet revolution that will spin this country on its head.
We will find the nearest INEC registration center, gather our friends, colleagues and family and go Register. Then we will spend the next few weeks (after registration) scrutinizing the field to Select credible candidates who speak to our issues. During the elections in January, we will come out (with our friends, colleagues and family) – in the rain, sun or sandstorm – and Vote for those whom we have selected. Beyond casting our votes, we will stand firm and together to Protect our vote. Ensuring that it counts for whom we have cast it for.
This RSVP will be the start of our quiet revolution.
For when we have shown our numbers at the polls, we can now collectively demand that our issues be addressed. We would have shown that our generation cannot be ignored. We would have started a journey to take back Nigeria from the mischievous minority that has held her hostage.
And if we succeed, we would be the ones who our children will be singing about in the 5th line of the national anthem: “…the labor of our heroes past shall never be in vain”.
So if you agree with me that “yes we can”, you must forward/share this message to 100 more people within the next 24 hrs. (LOL)
If you are interested in leading the RSVP effort in your neighborhood or vicinity, you can register here:
If you want to find out where your INEC registration center might be, check here:
http://www.inecnigeria.org/election/find_polling_station.php (polling stations are used for registration too)
Start expressing your opinion by partaking in this poll: “What attributes would determine your choice of a President?”
To learn more about the campaign focused on one of the major issues going into the 2011 elections (electricity) visit:
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Regardless of who is running in the elections in the coming months, all Nigerians who are of age have a moral duty to go out there, vote, and make sure that their votes count. There is no other way for us to take the moral high-ground in future and try to hold whoever is our president come May 2011 to account if we refuse to do our own duty in the first place.However, we are in a dilemma. We lack credible candidates, and the people who have declared their interest in the position actually present us with bad choices. But what other alternatives do we have?
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Given the stakes in the 2011 elections, it is only reasonable to expect that all hands must be on deck to make sure that the elections are a success. However, will the problems of the electoral body just go away by throwing money at it?
The main concern at this stage is the issue of what Prof. Jega has met on the ground at INEC and whether those people would not run around to sabotage whatever good intentions he may have. Already there are fears that the N72 billion which the INEC chairman himself said is needed for the voter's registration exercise is far more than what is actually needed. Indeed there are allegations that the figure was not prepared by Prof. Jega himself, but months before his arrival at INEC, by some bureaucrats whose intentions are definitely not the production of a credible voters' register.
Read the rest of the article at 234NEXT.com
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
A few years ago, I listened with a bit of disbelief as a friend of mine told me that she had no idea of who Herbert Macaulay was. What was shocking to me then was that she was a first class degree holder from a Nigerian university, and had grown up in my generation. However at that point in time, I did not find her lack of knowledge horrifying.
Move the clock forward a few years, and I'm now older and wiser. Thus it was that I listened in horror this Saturday past when a young lady who just finished from secondary school and is awaiting her school leaving results told me the same thing. As a matter of fact, this young lady has no idea of who the following people are: Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Mazi Alvan Ikoku, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. To be fair and honest, she recognises their names from the Naira notes that she wields each day, but that is all. She has no idea of what Biafra really was, but at least knows that Emeka Ojukwu was involved in the Biafra story. What his role was, she had no idea.
In shock, I attempted to guide her mind towards contemporary Nigerian politics, and asked her who her state governor was. She replied, "Nnamdi Ohakim". At least she got the surname right. When pressed about who is predecessor was, her response, "Goodluck Jonathan!"
I did what I considered to be the humane thing and give her a crash course on our nation's history. What I found most frustrating was her almost absolute lack of interest in what I was saying!
What I find again most frustrating is the question of who or what to channel my anger at.
The young lady (whom I must point out is exceedingly respectful) is a stunning example of the rot in our country. And nowhere is this rot exemplified more than in our educational system.
The importance of History as a course can NEVER be understated, and in the opinion of this writer, it should be made compulsory through primary, secondary and at least the first year of tertiary education.
It is knowledge of what our forebears did, especially with an emphasis on what they got right, that could well and truly give us a sense of national pride.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of conflict with people that they meet in the south because of competition for scarce resources. Also, the people in the south do not feel a kinship with these herdsmen. You see, while they are from the same country (Nigeria), they do not see themselves as countrymen. The indigene-settler dichotomy that is killing us in this country.
Now, consider that we don't have in place a proper policy to check this problem of desertification. This means that while Katsina and Maiduguri have almost been overtaken by the Sahara desert, in another decade or two, Kano and Kaduna would meet the same fate. This means that more people would move south in the search for resources. This means more conflict. And our population is expanding.
Read more at 234NEXT.com...
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Credit goes to Amara Nwankpa for collating these facts.
*1881: year Electricity was first generated in England. 15 yrs before Nigeria
*1896 The year electricity was first generated in Nigeria. Place was Ijora, in Lagos.
*60KW - Nigeria's generation capacity in 1896. :)
*Kainji Dam: The oldest, still functional power plant in Nigeria, is about 40 years old.
*48% - percentage of Nigerians who have NO source of power, 114 years after we first generated power in Nigeria....
*40%: percentage of the population served by the National grid
*60%: The average percentage of time when the 40% served by the grid don't have power.
*Kainji Dam: What it was designed produce 760MW, What it is producing now: 400MW. Why? Faulty parts
*3: Number of Hydro Plants in Nigeria. 1939: Amount of power in MW, they are supposed to generate. 1000: What they generate
*11: Number of Thermal Plants in NG. 5976: Amount of power in MW, they are supposed to generate. 2589: What they generate
*There are 16 ongoing power generation projects designed to generate 12,500MW for the national grid
*If the projects were completed today, Nigeria would have 20,000MW capacity in generation. BUT....
*BUT... The National transmission grid is only designed to carry 4,800MW. So 75% of that capacity will useless...
*But it also gets WORSE. Some of the electricity generated is "lost" in transmission. (Transmission Loss)
*Transmission losses usually should not exceed 7%. This means that if 100MW is generated, at least 93MW should get to u!
*The Transmission losses on the Nigerian grid is 35%!!!!! So if 100MW is generated only 65MW gets to you!!
*Please find a diagram of the NG transmission system attached. Notice the TX losses?? http://yfrog.com/114n5g
*Transmission losses in Nigeria are the highest in the world. more than 3 times what is normal.
*Even if we generate 2000GW, our grid will only be able to carry 4800 MW and 1,600MW of that will be WASTED
*So why does the Nigerian transmission grid have such a high loss?? Sabotage! Illegal Connections, Poor Equipment
*There were 12 cases of sabotage of the transmission grid in Nigeria in 2008 alone. (TCN)
*N1m. The amount in Naira paid to Ajibode Community as reward 4 assistance in apprehension of two powerline vandals in 08.
*30 years: The average age of the equipment on the National grid. Older than most of you!!
*To illustrate the capacity issues on the National grid consider the following example:
*River State spends $161m to generate 275MW. Capacity of Grid into Rivers 100MW. 175MW: what RSG paid 4 they don't get
*Rivers State is only getting 40% benefit of their own investment because of grid limitations. :)
*Over 90 transmission projects are ongoing, to add an additional 9,000MW to the capacity of the grid
*Even if all 90 transmission projects are completed, There will still be a shortfall of 10,000MW in capacity. God dey.
*But even if we complete all these projects... the biggest question is HOW WILL THEY BE MAINTAINED?
*For more information on the status of power generation projects: http://bit.ly/cs056D Jan 2010, but still current.
*EFCC survey (published 2010), PHCN ranked least performing & least honest, less than political parties or the police!
*According to the same survey, 82% of the businesses surveyed admit they have bribed PHCN for "better treatment"
*If we are bribing PHCN, will they not be corrupt?
*N7/KWh - How much we buy power in Nigeria. N18/KWh - About how much it costs to generate
*N11/KWh - About how much of your electricity bill Govt. pays for you (subsidy). (shrug)
*How much of our PHCN bills do we really pay? Lets do a small check. :)
*950m - how much in naira Consumers in the Diobu Business Unit in PH Rivers State alone owed PHCN as at March 2010
*98bn - Amount in naira owed to PHCN by FGN MDA as at April 2009.
*70bn - Amount owed in debt to PHCN due to unsettled bills as march 2010 - Minister of State for power.
*So if the customers and the govt. are owing PHCN, how do the staff get paid?
*If you are not getting paid or paid well, are you more likely to collect bribes from saboteurs?
*Now lets talk about gas. Gas is the source of fuel for 40% of all power generated in Nigeria.
*Nigeria produces 4.2bcfd of gas every year. 55% of that is flared (burnt up)
*The amount of gas flared in Nigeria creates about 70 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. BIG pollution
*Imagine stacking up $2.5bn in $100 notes and burning them up in a huge inferno? That’s what we do when we flare gas!
*The amount of gas we flare can provide electricity for ALL OF Sub-Saharan Africa
*But that is not all. The amount of gas we flare is equivalent to $2.5 BILLION every year!!
*The state of Florida has 55,460MW generating capacity. About 10 times that of Nigeria
*Texas can generate 104,966MW of electricity - beat that with a stick. :D