Former governor of Lagos State and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said, yesterday, that Nigeria’s electricity problem is man-made.
Fashola, who spoke at the maiden edition of Made in Nigeria Festival taking place at Eko Atlantic, Lagos, said his blueprint for the power sector is in three phases: power-generation, steady supply of power and uninterrupted power supply.
He has also pledged to ensure the power sector works to the point where Nigeria has uninterrupted power supply.
Speaking on man-made challenges, Fashola recalled a challenge with a project and it took only a phone call to Globacomn Chairman, Otunba Mike Adenuga to resolve the matter.
“We had an issue some time ago, during an electrification project. We got to this expanse of land and we were told that the land where we needed to lay electricity cable belongs to ‘the spirit.’ Indigenes of that area scared the contractors away by invoking curse on the project. I was briefed about this and we started negotiation with them. You won’t believe this but, by the time we finished the negotiation, the ‘spirits’ collected money and we were able to continue with our project. Another instance was where we had a telecommunication mast obstructing electrification of a village. The former regime and the telecommunication company were exchanging letters. All I did was call Adenuga and the mast was removed in a week…”
Speaking further, Fashola said since 1960, Nigeria generated 5,074 mega watt of power for the first time in February 2016.
“We have never generated up to 5,000 mega watt of power since 1960, but we generated 5,074 mega watts of power in February, 2016 and this was made possible because we have began systematic repair of our power-generating equipments which is in the phase one of our developmental plans’.
Fashola disclosed that he and his team has a developmental plan consisting of power generation which is focused on maximising all available power-generating components by repairing them. The second phase is steady supply of power while the third phase is uninterrupted power supply…”
The minister was speaking as a member of panel consisting of Mrs Adeola Sumola of Bello Osagie & Associates, Ms. Chantel Abdul MD/CEO Mojek International and Mr. Mofid Karameh Chairman Mikano Group. Dr. Ogho Okiti, publisher of Economics Times, Abuja was the Moderator.
Fashola reiterated government’s resolve to get electricity to the rural areas by engaging universities located in rural areas.
’We are deepening rural electricity, we are using universities as anchors for these rural areas. These universities are located in the rural areas. In the universities where we are carrying out this rural electrification programmes, we are challenging the students in Electrical Engineering Departments to develop a power plan to add to what we have on ground already before they graduate from that university’’.
Mrs Ibukun Awosika Chairman of First Bank PLC spoke at the second session on the topic ‘’ Empowering the Made-in-Nigeria Economy: Private Sector’s role in Infrastructural Revival in Nigeria. She went on to say ‘’Building infrastructure is how well you can achieve the goals you set for yourself’’.
We have two kinds of infrastructure- the Hard Infrastructure which are the roads, transportation, e.t.c and Economic Infrastructure. We need to develop several infrastructures around’’
‘’I noticed that most of the bags our children use in this country comes from abroad. I just said to myself, a textile company can just develop these bags and our economy will be better for it, this will count as infrastructural development. We need to create infrastructure support for industries in our economy’’ Mrs. Awosika opined.
The Made in Nigeria Festival comprises a 3-day Summit, an exhibition, a technology exposition and a daily showcase of Nigeria’s finest foods and flavours, movies, fashion, music and art. Over 5,000 Nigerians have already signed up to be part of this year’s festival.
The grand finale of the festival is a special celebration of Nigeria’s independence comprising a phenomenal showcase of music artistry that would also take place at Eko Atlantic City.
The Made In Nigeria Festival is being organized by the MaIN Group, a collaboration of private sector organisations. Board of Advisors of the initiative include: Prince Adesegun Oniru, Mr. Aliko Dangote, Dr. (Mrs.) Stella Okoli, Mr. Ronald Chagoury, and Senator Oluremi Tinubu.