Since my birth in the mid 1980s in Nigeria and as much as I have been conscious of my environment, irregular power supply has been a recurring challenge in Nigeria. Passing through primary and secondary school and now in the university; at a time when free education had become history coupled with the ever present challenge of erratic power supply has ensured that schooling and passing exams continues to be a herculean task.
Inadequate power supply has affected the education of Nigerian youths more than any other thing. We did not enjoy free education, free health, good roads and a host of other things that our parents enjoyed that made schooling a good experience.
Today, we commute to school in rickety old public buses on bad roads whereas our parents had the privilege of commuting to school in good condition scholars bus provided by the government for students only. Our parents had free meals with milk as additional dietary intake to keep them healthy and alert to learn while in school but we did not have that privilege. Our poor parents find it hard to give us at least one meal a day while struggling to pay our schools fees. Our schooling is further challenged by poor remuneration of the few teachers that are available and incessant strikes by Academic Staff of Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked upon by university lecturers.
All these challenges are not happening in isolation of the decay and rot that had eaten deep into all sectors of Nigerian economy. Corruption, bad governance, infrastructural deficit, mismanagement of resources and insecurity unleashed on the nation by kidnappers and Boko Haram are all challenges which makes the education of the Nigerian youth a misadventure in today’s Nigeria
The impact of erratic power supply is one of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria today. Apart from the fact that it is critically hindering quality education and seriously limiting the production of human capacity needed to power the Nigerian economy, it is also frontally attacking the economy, in that energy to power our industries and service sectors are procured at a very high cost. Many companies in Nigeria have relocated production to Ghana where they enjoy stable power supply thus deepening unemployment challenges for our youths
Today as we celebrate 53 years of independence, I am celebrating the independence in darkness. I have not seen electricity in the last 4 days in my area and I am greatly worried that I may continue to celebrate independence in darkness for many years to come if no action is taken by government.
As a young man, experiencing all these challenges, it is important to engage these issues with my peers. As young people we need to “reclaim power”. Meaning that, we must start making our voices heard in influencing our policy makers to tackle the issue of sustainable power supply. We must reclaim our space in the political sphere and actively participate in governance and policy processes.
I call on Nigerian government to ensure stable and regular power supply by year 2015.It is only when we have stable power supply that we can truly have independence. Independence without regular power supply is bondage in darkness. “Let there be light”. Let us light up Nigeria, let Nigerians truly feel and celebrate independence.
I call on Nigerian youths to Reclaim Power Now! Reclaim Power as in stable power supply and energy to power our economy, reclaim power as in political power and voice to influence policies. We must reclaim power to secure our future.
I love Nigeria and still believe that Nigeria shall be great. Happy independence Nigeria!!!
This article is written by
MR. Adekunle Samson Akinde Program Assistant /Media Officer with Centre for 21st century issues (C21st)