The minister for power, Professor Barth Nnaji yesterday resigned his appointment and his resignation was received by President Goodluck Jonathan, wishing him success in his future endeavours.
Conflicting reports have it that the professor was asked to resign by President Jonathan because he had companies bidding in the privatization exercise going on in the power sector. This means, had his companies won, he would have succeeded in acquiring the power sector for himself.
The first question we should be asking is, what is so different about this case? In Nigeria, it is not news that presidents do this, governors do this, ministers do this, individuals do this at their workplaces regularly. What makes Professor Barth any different? The Nigerian power sector has been comatose for too many years to count. Why is it at the eve of this important change that the minister involved is resigning? Particularly over something that is commonplace in these parts.
If it is actually true that Professor Barth was sacked, by whom? Have we so quickly forgotten all the dirt that was uncovered in January during the fuel subsidy saga? Isn’t this the same president who was eating1 billion naira worth of food? What gives him the moral right to sack anyone? This from the one who is plunging our nation further and further into debt? Remember he has not displayed strength in the face of any kind of opposition. Could it be that he is bowing to pressure? If so, from what quarters?
I cannot help but wonder about PHCN. The workers have been jubilating since yesterday. Some say prayers work and others say their juju is strong. Whichever way, there has been a huge fight going on between PHCN and Professor Nnaji. PHCN staff fear that they might be sacked when the privatization is completed. It is a little difficult to make a case for PHCN staff. People who have had dealings with civil servants will not be quick to jump to their defence. Hence, we can safely say that PHCN is not the way. We have years of blackout to prove it. So does PHCN win?
How about the generator importation cartel? What is their take on privatization? Need I ask? Are they going to sit around and watch their business come to a permanent standstill? Let no one kid you, that is a hugely profitable business. You have no idea. By the way, those fumes are killing us.
Professor Barth Nnaji is not the issue here, electricity is. Just in case you had any illusions, our economy hinges on electricity. Electricty works, the economy works. It is really that simple. Business owners know how much they spend on diesel everyday. Do you think we will have to buy as much diesel and petrol when we have stable electricity? Plus privately owned electricity, minus government owned fuel. Does that make any sense to you?
We need to stop taking things at face value and begin to ask questions.
Before you conclude that talking doesn’t do anything, you need to remember that our presidents respond when we talk. They are listening. What is the deal with power in this country and how do we move foward? This is as important as fuel. Guess what? It is fuel. Let us start asking the right questions.