There’s hardly anyone who does not remember Babatunde Raji Fashola, the superhero governor of Lagos State. And we are not even trying to be sarcastic, Governor Tunde Fashola’s achievements in Lagos in his 8-year tenure cannot be exaggerated (well, they can but you get the gist).
In his time as governor, he had to contend with Federal restrictions that largely hindered his already great work especially in the areas of road construction and power sector reforms. The governor used almost opportunity he had to criticise the PDP-led central government on account of this. There was little doubt in the mind of every Lagosian that if Fashola had former President Goodluck Jonathan out of the way, he’d do more than he already was. Solving Nigeria’s problems was not rocket science after all.
This background was all the soft-landing we needed when in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed the former governor a Minister in charge of three portfolios that are all as problematic as only Nigerian infrastructural deficiencies are. He was appointed and confirmed the Minister of Works, Power and Housing.
Obviously, it scared us on his behalf because this was unprecedented as it was daunting even for the man that “sanitised” Lagos State. But we had high hopes. This was Fashola – Power, works and Housing cannot be rocket science.
It’s already almost two years into the job and the assessment based on Power alone is saddening to think about. Under the brilliant minister’s watch, we have gone from a peak generation of 5,074.70 mega watts reached on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, to a drop by 1,589.69 megawatts of power supply to houses and businesses to Nigeria in March and then another drop by 1,657 MW due to a partial system collapse at one of the nation’s major power plants and gas supply and then and finally, by the end of the year, the aggregated poll results for the second half of 2016 revealed a nine-point decline in power supply to Nigerian households.(according to NOI polls).
While, he’d promised to raise the amount of power generated by 2000 megawatts last year, the Minister has now explained that a lot had changed in the management of power in Nigeria in recent times.
“Distribution of power is no longer a government business but has been taken over by private companies. Also, government has privatised power generation, which has steered towards the full privatisation of the sector with transmission aspect being managed by Manitoba International of Canada.”
But that’s the thing right, this is just not acceptable from Mr Fashola. The Fashola we knew had very different beliefs about how these things run -essentially, that it is no rocket science. Let’s take one know instance for example:
At the 7th Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium in 2015, watch what Mr Fashola had to say:
According to him, “I tell you very very confidently that we do not have power because power is difficult to generate; we have darkness because we have incompetent people managing our economy”
No doubt, the Minister is having sleepless nights over the power situation in the country right now. However, we still wonder how he now feels about his own words from barely two years ago.
Creative mind. Enthusiast. Learner. Multipotentialite. And here, an assistant editor.