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Nigeria, where talk is cheap and electricity is in chronic short supply

Yesterday, from exactly 12:58pm Nigeria did not generate a single megawatt of power for three hours.

The minister in charge of power supply, Babatunde Fashola, seems to have gone from hero to zero, with his reputation, albeit underserved, for being an achiever from his time as governor of Lagos State, dimming like light bulbs across the country.

As he struggles to find people and things to blame for his floundering at the power ministry, Nigerians on social media have been more effective than he is as a minister in reminding him of his empty boasts when his party the All Progressives Congress (APC) was still in opposition at federal level.

In July 2014 at a lavish ceremony to mark Fashola’s 2,600 days in office, the then governor blamed the lack of ideas and insincerity of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) federal government for electricity shortages in the country. He claimed: “Yes I agree with you that it is possible to generate electricity and to make sure that everybody in this country has electricity. I agree with you it is simple. What we have done in Lagos within the areas where we are constrained show that it can be done. But you know the only way that you and I will have electricity in this country will be to vote out the PDP.”

Many Nigerians believed Fashola and voted the PDP out of power. Instead of electricity for “everybody in this country”, Fashola has dished out excuses, blaming everybody but himself for the current situation.

Fashola, powering Nigeria with hot air

From claiming power supply provision was “simple”, we are now being told that pipeline vandalism, destruction of power infrastructure and the current shortages in the petroleum industry are the reasons for the worsening electricity situation. This sounds very much like excuses from back in the day in which NEPA (the power company) would claim that electricity shortages were because the water corporation wasn’t pumping enough water for the power plants. And the water corporation would claim that they couldn’t pump the water because there was no electricity from NEPA.

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