Nigerians have been urged not to look forward to any improvement in power supply within the next five years.
This call to reality was made by the Managing Director of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Olufunke Osibodu, while speaking at the 11th Annual Founder’s Day celebration of the American University of Nigeria in Yola, Adamawa State, on Saturday, November 20.
While delivering the keynote speech titled ‘Beyond Oil: Sustainable Development for All Nigerians’, Mrs. Osibodu explained that not less than N250 billion is needed yearly to fix the nation’s electricity sector, adding that it is necessary for Nigerians to understand that it cannot be done overnight as the work required to be done must be paid for.
“We need to be ready as citizens also, to accept and live with the pain that we have to go through and allow time as our friends.
“As Nigerians, often we are the ones that deceive our politicians. The politicians believe that the only way to go is to promise everything immediately possible. Promise that everything is possible today so that they can get elected. But when you see that it is not, so we want to give them time and use time as our friends.
“It is the same story for the power industry. When I tell my friends, that forget any improvement for the next five years, they are scared, but that is the truth. We need a minimum of five years to invest before we see results.
“But very often, because Nigerians are impatient, we start pushing our governments and they start reversing good things they have done in various ways. So we need to be more patient.”
According to Mrs. Osibodu, at present, Nigeria is producing only two percent of the total electricity it needs. She further explained that there are 32 million household population in the country, in other words, 32 million houses by statistics. But on the national grid, only four million are officially customers of the various distribution companies.
About 36 percent of the power generation she said, is lost either through commercial theft, illegal consumption, or non-payment of bills. But 14 percent of that power is also lost through very poor network.
“In other words, the two percent that we have is even further played down. About 30 percent of the power, we all waste it, by forgetting to put out the light, many things that should not be turned on, and we pay for that wastage.”
Mrs. Osibodu’s statements about Nigeria’s power supply came despite the claim earlier in the year by the minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, that the country would attain 10,000 megawatts electricity generation by 2019.