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
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
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.
Also, NEPA irremediably damaged my TV set. The technician tried his best on it and gave up. Unwilling to waste more money attempting to wake up the dead, I had to go for a new one, which I paid for by instalments. After this, the next victim was the fridge. NEPA simply ignored the âoriginal' stabilizer put there to protect it, and damaged the fridge with the devastating effect of its power fluctuations. For several weeks, the technician battled to make it work again. The more parts he removed and replaced, the more stubborn and remote the ailment remains. As I was contemplating to start saving money for a new one, a miracle happened and my good old fridge came back to life again, after eating deep into my pocket. Tell me why I should pray for this regime that has cruelly punished me like this?
I have once said it that I would be so ashamed to introduce myself as the ruler of this nation in any gathering of civilized beings. This is a nation trapped in destructive, prehistoric darkness, where it has become clear that the only things that work are those thing that do not require any form of effort from those in authority to function. Indeed, it is becoming clear that the first qualification for public office in
So are we saying that NEPA is suffering from an incurable ailment, and that it is completely beyond this government to give Nigerians light? Why don't this government just solve the light problem and register it as its sole achievement in seven years of ostentatious waste and insufferable profligacy? Indeed, if
But it is becoming clear that the Obasanjo Government has given up hope of giving Nigerians uninterrupted power supply. What are they even telling the so-called foreign investors they claim to be wooing.
Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye writes a column on the backpage of Independent Newspaper (www.independentng.com), Lagos, every Wednesday.