Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A group, The Debate Power Nigeria (DPN), has slammed the Nigeria Election Debate Group (NEDG) and Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) organisers of the Vice- Presidential candidates debate, over perceived failure to ask critical questions about the energy sector during the recent Vice-Presidential candidate debate.
The group which noted that electricity supply was the singular most important agent of economic change needed in the country and highest contributing factor in the quality of life of Nigerians wondered why the organisers of the debate would ignore questions that have to do with the power sector.
The DPN, in a statement, signed by Abiodun Akanbi Oluwaseyi and Usman Marafa, national coordinator and deputy national coordinator, respectively, lambasted the organisers for not being in touch with reality of the suffering of Nigerians across the country for the lack of regular supply of electricity.
While noting that, “There is a forced silence; a conspiracy of enablers, racketeers, sycophants and blackmailers bent on keeping access to power abysmally low in exchange for fat bank accounts pillaged from an already impoverished populace,” it alleged that successive Nigerian governments are all culpable of criminal negligence and buck-passing in their various handling of the power sector.
The DPN declared that Nigerians must insist that all those aspiring to rule Nigeria in 2019 must provide the electorate with plans to revamp the power sector.
It also task the media to play its role in scrutinising, documenting and making available in the public domain, commitments by political actors on how they intend to fix the nation’s numerous problems so that the people can hold them accountable.
The group stated that the Federal Government should be sincere to pursue holistic reforms in the power sector to achieve the desired level of power supply in the country.
The statement read in part, “Remove power generation, transmission and distribution from the Exclusive List – including where to site power plants and alternative power sources. Government should only maintain its role of regulating the industry.
“This would mean selling the 40% government shares retained in the Generating Companies (GENCOs) and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) – but this time, unlike the initial sale by the previous government, the shares should be sold by Public Offer.
“Strengthen the law backing the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) with the power to revisit the sale of the GENCOs and DISCOs, allowing them to set Key Performance Indexes (KPIs) and Delivery Timelines, as well as appropriate sanctions, including cancelling the sale, an interim take-over or appointment of a receiver to takeover and restructure the company, as may be most expedient for its proper functioning where a case of incompetence is established.
“Pre-paid metering should be made compulsory by law. Licenses should be given to meter manufacturing companies and loans directly from the CBN/Government at a maximum of 6% PA to enable them to produce enough high-quality meters for Nigerians”.