Electricity - The Bane of Nigeria's Development

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Electricity - The Bane of Nigeria's Development

Postby Richard Akindele » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:14 am

Author: Richard Akindele

Nigeria's challenges are numerous to say the least. So much so, that there's hardly one thing I can point to that can be classified as "working" in Nigeria.

Food - The average Nigerian cannot boast of three square meals a daily.

Security - People live in fear of criminal gangs, kidnappers, home-invaders, highway robbers, and now worse of all, religious zealots killing indiscriminately.

Roads - Most roads are in bad shape. This makes movement very difficult. Commerce is impacted as a result. Travel by train is non-existent, and flying is out of the question for the ordinary Joe.

Communication - Communication is popularly done these days by mobile phones. Ask anybody with a mobile phone about the quality however, and I guarantee that the answer would be an affirmative, "very poor". Most people carry several phones, to try to mitigate against a frequent lack of wireless signal.

Internet - While in the developed world pretty much everybody now has access to the Internet from home, Nigerians are still largely dependent on Internet cafes. This mode of Internet access is expensive, and hence very few Nigerians use them. Internet access is beginning to trickle into Nigerian homes, but not everybody can yet afford a personal computer.

Water - Publicly available pipe-borne water is not common. Most homes rely on borehole for water. Again, only a few Nigerians can afford this in their homes. In the developed world, nobody thinks of these things. Wherever you may be, the tap runs. Dwellers in the boonies have privately owned or community wells. Nobody wastes time thinking about how to get water.

Healthcare - This can be described in one word, poor.

Jobs - Unemployment rate is high. Many university graduates exist without jobs.

Crime - Many turn to a life of crime as a result of untold hardship, which includes kidnapping for ransom, drug and human trafficking, highway robbery, extortion, bribery, etc.

Electricity - Nigeria has never in its history ever had stable electricity supply. Nigerians aren't merely providing comic relief, when they say Never Expect Power Always.

I could go on and on.

So what is the solution?

Some state governors must be commended for their noteworthy effort in confronting these problems. Top among them is the Lagos state governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, who is transforming Lagos into a functioning area in an unprecedented manner. Hopefully other governors are watching, and will follow suit.

Personally though, I think the solution to our problems can be distilled down to one thing, a lack of electricity.

Electricity is that one thing that everybody, and every business needs. Modern professions such as Internet service, real-time electronic banking, communication, etc are all hampered by a short supply of electricity.

To have power on demand, your only option is power generators. Unfortunately, those cost a fortune to purchase and operate. Electricity is by far the number one impediment to progress in Nigeria. As long as we continue to lack 24/7 power supply, the nation would remain underdeveloped.

I am convinced that if we could have 24/7 electricity in Nigeria, this would spark a domino effect on all of the other problems Nigerians face.

Let's take a look as how all of our problems is rooted in our lack of stable power supply.

(1) There is a lot of poverty in Nigeria. Why so much poverty? A widespread lack of work. What causes such high rate of unemployment? Not enough businesses. And why is there a shortage of businesses? High cost of running businesses? Why such high cost? Well, because power generators are expensive to run. So, as you can see, a lack of electricity is the root cause of poverty.

Now let's track thongs backwards.
- 24/7 365 days of electricity would eliminate the need to run expensive generators.
- Hence, more people can run more businesses.
- More businesses would employ more people.
- Therefore, people with good jobs would be less poor.

(2) Crime. What causes crime? Poverty mostly. What causes poverty? A lack of work. Now we're back to point (1).

(3) Religious zealotry. It's quite easy to recruit the youth today for religious uprisings. Why is this? Well, there are millions of youngsters with noting to do. How come they have nothing to do? It's primarily because they have no jobs. Again see point (1) for how a lack of stable electricity contribute to unemployment, and hence religious unrest.

(4) Healthcare is extremely poor in Nigeria. Our dear leaders fly abroad for treatment. We do have highly qualified medical doctors working in advanced countries. But due to point (2), and (3), most of them refuse to return home. And as we've already established the link between these points and a lack of stable electricity in Nigeria. So even healthcare is a victim of poor power supply.

(5) Food - This is simple to explain. If people had good jobs, they would be able to afford good food. So we're back to point (1).

(6) Internet - If people can get good jobs, they would be able to own a personal computer. That would lead to more pressure on the ISP's to improve Internet service. Once again we see how good Internet service hinges on people's ability to find good jobs. In other words, point (1).

(7) Water - I pay for the water I use here in the USA, and so does everybody else. People can afford to pay because they have good jobs. Now, imagine that only a small percentage of the population could pay for running tap water. The water corporation would have to cut back on its services. This is exactly what we see in Nigeria.

Most people can't pay for water supply in Nigeria because they're poor. They're poor due to high unemployment, or low-paying jobs. Businesses can't pay high wages, because of high cost of running their operations. Most of that cost originates from running power generators.

So far, every challenge that Nigerians are saddled with, has been shown to originate from a lack of stable electricity.

Therefore, it follows that any serious leader in Nigeria who has the power to effect change, should begin by working on making 24/7 power supply a reality. With stable power, every other piece of the dysfunctional Nigerian puzzle would slowly but surely fall into place.
Richard Akindele
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