CONSTITUENCY DEVELOPMENT AND THE SWAPPED TRANSFORMER

Once upon a time—11 Months ago to be precise—in a little community called Umuogi-Orji in Owerri North L.G.A, there was a step-down transformer, poorly guarded, whose responsibility was to draw down the passing current for the benefit of the inhabitants. One cool evening, a drunk-driver veered of his course of Owerri-Okigwe Road and slammed his wobbly tires into this transformer thereby blacking-out the people in a country that is in constant black-out, safe the occasional clanging sound of “I pass my neighbour.”

The people—enraged—dragged and coaxed the driver, per chance; he would be able to effect the necessary repairs. Unfortunately, his financial strength was not equal to the task. In the end the community sought other means of getting another transformer. After a self taxation fell short of the required fund, they drew the attention of their son and member of the House of Representative—Honourable Ezenwa Onyewuchi representing Owerri Municipal/North/West Federal Constituency. Perhaps he would favour them in one of his constituency projects. This outreaching paid off. The honourable member donated a transformer to the community—a quintessential Greek gift.

The elated community used their meagre funds to engage the PHCN and they mounted the equipment. There was the last minute double-checking of the power lines, the PHCN ladder moving up and down as if labouring to avoid what atomic physicists call the “Xenon effect” after which the transformer would be powered. The community waited for the lights. Then came the news—the coils—yes, the coils are not working. An elated community, in one cascade, descended from the apogee of expectation to the nadir of hope. As expected, there followed the blame game and post facto analysis. Why didn’t the PHCN test the coils before mounting? Why did the honourable member donate faulty equipment? Why did the buyers purchase a transformer minus coils?

In fact, as usual in Nigeria, many speculated that either the PHCN or the buyers have tampered with the equipment for their pecuniary gains. And for over two months, an incapacitated and mounted transformer hopelessly mopes at every passerby. It still waits for new coils or perhaps, a new collision. The major problem now is the issue of responsibility and correction. In other words, changing the coils which invariably mean dismounting an already mounted transformer! The PHCN refuse to take responsibility arguing that they did not make the purchase. The honourable member is mute and resides in Abuja while a part of his constituency remains conned with a transformer that underwent a transformation---THE COILS.

In Nigeria, the irony of a country never ceases. In this season of political activities, when sacked ministers are turning lachrymose, when political parties are imploding and new ones formed, let us be mindful of the transformer. An electioneering season is around the corner; a season in which parties are producing parallel flag-bearers and the courts soon to be saturated, a season in which ASSU and the Federal Government have dug in their heels. Our prayer, constant warning and reminder to ourselves ought to be; “may we never labour to acquire this kind of swapping.”