Nigeria: Axis Of Darkness?

by Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye

“.we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.” —-Isaiah 59:9-10.

For a long time now, the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), which now calls itself Nigeria Power Holding (read Hoarding) Company (NPHC), the duly licensed and fully empowered Agent Of Darkness in Nigeria, cruelly unleashed on this hapless nation by a very callous leadership, and managed by a bunch of incurable sadists, has descended on us here with all the fury and malevolence of its total and blinding darkness. It is most pathetic watching Nigerians cruelly enveloped in NEPA/PHC’s very thick and suffocating darkness, and groping like very helpless people trapped in a murky, danger-infested night.

There used to be an MTN television advert where a young man asks a girl to step out on her balcony to behold the beauty and delight of a bright, golden sunlit day. Throughout the time it ran on our various TV channels, it was made to look utterly ridiculous and outlandish in our environment due to the thick darkness that has engulfed us as a nation, ably, generously and faithfully supply by NEPA/PHC. Now, like that girl in the advert, you can step out into nearby Niger, Benin, Ghana, Togo, and several very leanly endowed nations in Africa and look back at our hapless big-for-nothing Nigeria standing tall and proud like one huge mound of darkness in the midst of little balls of light, with its hapless citizens groping, choking and wasting in the very womb of an impenetrable and asphyxiating darkness.

Oh ye Nigerians, you must learn to be appreciative because, it cost your wonder-working government in Abuja a whole seven noisy years of loud promises, invaluable efforts, sacrificial work, sleepless nights, and, of course, the whopping sum of nearly three billion dollars ($3billion) to bring you this amount of blinding darkness. An unprecedented feat, you must admit! So, you must all rise up now, and file behind Gov. Gbenga Daniel and his brothers in the Southwest to board the Self-Succession Boat (SSB), to earnestly urge Baba Africa to go for another term and rule for life so he can continue with the “good work he is doing,” especially in the power sector! (Don’t laugh, it’s serious).

And as you grope in this intimidating darkness, ensure you don’t suddenly forget your manners and begin to complain. After all you can readily find alternatives to public power supply. Indeed, there is equally the need to financially empower Nigerian importers of solely-made-for-Nigeria toy-generators, fast burning candles, stabilizers and rechargeable lanterns from China — that country of criminal prosperity. It is only fair that local manufacturers of hurricane lanterns be encouraged too. Don’t you remember what happened in Ijebu Ode or is it Abeokuta, when Segun Osoba became Governor of Ogun State and announced his plans to solve the perennial water problems in the area, how water merchants whose rusting tanks and rickety trucks had before then serviced the water needs of the people had taken to the streets to protest the ‘wicked’ attempt by the Governor to put them out of business? And you will recall that this incident took place right in President Obasanjo’s backyard, so it would be most unfair to expect him to solve the power crises in Nigeria and risk another violent protest from those that make millions from the supply of alternatives? Good; except that he is most reluctant to let Nigerians equally shop for an alternative to his government whose own all-round record makes the woeful failure NEPA/PHC look like an amazing success.

I usually do this column, editorials and several other works at home, with the aid of my faithful tokunbo computer. And because NEPA/PHC has now become a standby power supplier, my writing is always moderated by the laborious, mournful humming of my little Chinese toy-generator, which stands watch at the balcony, spitting dark, poisonous fumes into Nigeria’s unfortunate landscape. And because, I would not want to risk a re-enactment of the Ayinla family tragedy (I hope you have not forgotten the family in Ibadan that was wiped out by generator fumes they had inhaled?), I always ensure that I securely shut the door and the two windows that provide access to my balcony from the parlour. Indeed, I cannot do without this Chinese toy in the present circumstance, because as long as NEPA/PHC’s paralyzing reign of darkness persists, I must need it to power the tokunbo computer in my study in order to write this piece. I am quite sure that even my lord, Mr. Justice Wilson “Hurricane” Egbo-Egbo, would not issue an ex parte against me because of this!

I should think I have myself to blame for this. I don’t know how it happened, but I have suddenly discovered that I am gradually finding it difficult to produce even short texts of about three or four paragraphs today unless I go to the computer. So, it is entirely my fault, because, even my wife who took a degree in Computer Science at UNN many years ago and whose office is clustered with different sizes of computers still produces most of the drafts of her work in long hands before going to the Computer. So, I think NEPA/PHC has a point. They want to help me return to the basics, to learn again to write my pieces in long hands, so that, each time they strike with blinding darkness, all I would need to resume my work would just be either a rechargeable lantern, some sticks of candles, or worse, a hurricane lantern. Thank you, NEPA!

And as if to further emphasize this point, NEPA recently delivered a well-aimed deadly blow on my beloved tokunbo computer, heartlessly ruined a very vital part in it, and the system went blank and became still. In fact, I had to part with a large chunk of my salary to get it working again, because, I wouldn’t want to default in submitting an editorial or this column. I could have paid more if the engineer that fixed it was not a very close friend whose excellent services I got free of charge.

You may also like


Prince Kennedy Iyoha February 25, 2006 - 9:56 am

Hello Mr Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye.

Good day. Honestly, it has become a thing of shame for the Nigerian power holdings, and its inability to put this problem behind Nigerians once and for all.

We should however not forget that this problem compounded to this extent, by the help of many Nigerian that do not pay their bills. You will agree with me that most of the above mentioned holdings workers that had the responsibility to ensure that those that do not pay their bills had their power supply interrupted, collect bribes from this citizens and clean their mouth on retune to the office, thereby making it impossible for the said holding to meet its responsibility to the

People of Nigeria.

The writer of the first comment will agree with me that in the develop countries, it is impossible to receive power supply while having bills unpaid. I expected this government to have it as a priority because that was one of its major promises while assuming power the first time.

Power interruption is detrimental to the socio- political and economic development of any nation.

However, I do not agree with your criticism of the chines growth Mr Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye. The development taking place in China should be an example and encouragement for our country, because this are people that choose to be hard working and progressive in all front, instead of crying foul like the Nigeria community. We should emulate this development and move away from this situation of insanity and hopelessness.

You made mentioned of the protest of the water suppliers in Ogun state. This is clearly the problem with Nigerians; we do not want to look beyond our present situation, because many dont have business foresight. And our government dont have policy in place to encourage small entrepreneurship. While I was in Nigeria, I tried my hand in music, my only album is deposited in the library of the Lagos state chapter of PMAN, under the name of ken Iyoha, and the album was titled FROM DE BLUES. I also tried my hands on transport business without success. Here in Spain, Ebuny comunications SL was created in 2003 and it is doing fairly well, because the business community here, particularly the new business, have both moral and financial support from the Government, and easy asses to soft loan when in problem. Beside, almost all the banks here have micro finance systems for small companies.

Finally, I will like to conclude by saying that the Obasenjo administration cannot solve the entire problem that has persisted for about 40 years. We should try to accept that he is human, and therefore cannot solve the entire problem in his term. I am not pessimistic that the next government can solve the entire problem too. We should however celebrate his fight against corruption which to my judgement will be the bedrock to sanitising the economy and bring about a new and prosperous Nigeria.

I do not admire your hard-line criticism of this administration; I will encourage you not to give up your efforts however, because that is the essence of an open and democratic society.

Jerry Ebalunode February 21, 2006 - 12:05 am

You have an interesting article, however you have to go easy on the choice of words (my point simply is that you should try to stick to your goal, which I assume is to communicate with a diverse audience, not debate or compete with someone). A good way to do this is to ask someone else (a typical member of your audience) to read through your article and see if they are easily follow and get engaged in what you are trying to say. Just my 2 cents

Anonymous February 18, 2006 - 4:35 pm

I send my utmost sympathy to you and all "unfortunate Nigerians". I said "unfortunate Nigerians" because Nigerians have NEVER had a truly non-corrupt, patriotic, enlightened and progressive leader.

Infact atimes I wonder if Nigerians, as a whole, know what it means to be a politician and paticipate in government, because from childhood they have no concept of expectations from those in government. To most NIgerians, those in government are simply in position to embezzle national funds, terrorize innocent citizens, get fat and have tommy tucks, marry several wives, harbor HIV in their bodies and spread same to women (and men) struggling to win contracts, etc.

I worked for NEPA many decades ago. I was one of the young Nigerian engineers that completed the construction of Kainji Dam in the Borgu area. I thought Nigeria had ray of hope then, but ………. I must have been wrong. I even entertained working for NEPA on my return to Nigeria at one point (that point was many years ago!)

I have been in USA for well over four decades now, there has NEVER been power outage once, not even for one nano-second. I know many Nigerian engineers working for ComEdison, the giant power producer in USA. These highly talented professional engineers (from Nigeria!) make sure there is power supply to every home, appliance, etc 31,536,000seconds a year. Why can't Nigeria do the same? …Corruption, Lack of Government, Embezzlement, Unpatriotism, Egoism, Bigmanism, Who-cares attitude, Irresponsibility, and pure undiluted (concentrated) stupidity. Nigeria has more than enough resourses to provide electric power to every place, villa, home, shack, hut, … Ngeria. I know because I worked with NEPA before!!!!!!!! and I have monitored NEPA activities for years.

It seems to me that the ""common" citizens of Nigeria do not know how to demand their God-given entitlement. They tend to fear their so called leaders to much. Nigerian leaders somehow have a method of putting the spirit of fear into the common citizens. Nigerians in general fear their leaders more than they fear God.

I planned on visiting Nigeria for a month's vacation few years ago, I stayed for only three days due to lack of electricity and too much noise from everyone's generator ….. and I was even in a supposely high class government reserved community in Nigeria. My wife screamed when the light suddenly went out, my kids screamed and ran to daddy….. they thought the world had come to an end. We arrived in Nigeria on Saturday, attended a church service on Sunday morning, the Nigerian pastor said the world would end soon while preaching. So don't blame my family for screaming. If the world is going to end I would rather not be in Nigeria. Thank heavens we are still alive today in USA.

It is amazing to me that Nigeria is yet full of intellectuals, engineers, doctors, teachers, accountants, patriotic citizens (the common people ONLY), etc. I tend to blame Nigerians more than I bllame the government of Nigeria. Nigerians elected them to the position and retained them in the positions. Therefore there is no one else to blame but the electorates. What else do you expect from those who have forcibly ruled you, stole your money, raped your women and daughters, murdered your fathers and brothers, then you turned around and elected them into offices and positions of power????

It is a great shame that Nigeria has gone down the drain ipso facto. Again please accept my sympathy that Nigerians lack leadership in all forms —- in federal government, state government, local government, quasi-government, government corporations, government ministries, etc.

Long live Nigeria, a dark giant in the dark continent.


Leave a Comment