BURNING POT BY DR. PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON
no light at the end of the tunnel
When question drop for mouth,
Question go start to run,
When answer drop for mouth,
Answer go run after am,
When answer jam question for road
Another thing go shele o, uh
Why you mash my leg for ground?
You no see my leg for road?
Question don drop for mouth,
Question don start to run,
Why you put your leg for road?
You no see say I dey come?
Answer don drop for mouth,
Answer don start to run,
Fela Anikulapo Kuti in Question Jam Answer
The national grid collapsed, megawatts have dropped from X to Y,
where the national grid dey sef, gas no dey, water too much, rainy
season no good, dry season affect Z...no answers, no light at the
end of the tunnel.
Nigerians applauded the fact that PHCN died but many a Nigerian now
crave for its resurrection, as the new DISCOS, at best have failed
woefully in the electric dance.
We are still in the NNPC said "there is no gas, we have supplied,
and they did not pay", era. Despite the best of efforts, most
Nigerians do not understand the whole privatization, unbundling or
fondling of power by those concerned.
Estimated bills, unavailable meters and tales by darkness.
We are an impatient nation but is this electricity matter not one
that should have been done and dusted, why is it we still suffer
high current—electric gadgets bear the brunt, no one is held liable,
and then low current—you can barely see, so there is electricity but
it cannot power a bulb.
Transmission company people are doing loads of hard work but truly
it amounts to nothing when there are many questions and no answers,
I agree that we are a difficult people, it is probably only in
Nigeria that PHCN owes NNPC for fuel supplied, and NNPC has not paid
for electricity supplied and state houses owe utility bills, while
citizens that have not paid bills in years have power as long as
there is power to spare.
I know it is the same nation that after the fatia, Lord’s Prayer and
phrases like Allahmudillahi, and Hallelujah, one must have under the
breath said “Up NEPA” or muttered, “Thank God there is light.”
I agree that it would be difficult because millions of consumers are
accustomed to that particular house that signposts whether there is
light or not, some of us even call home to ask if there is light,
rather than ask if everyone is safe.
I do not need lecture us on, the benefits derivable to the Nigerian
economy in the event we sort out our electricity palaver.
I must state solution does not lie in Chinese, World Bank loans or
Private Partnership but upon a strong political will by both
leadership and those governed.
It is an interesting masquerade, recall a top aide, who blamed
witches for power outages. Have we not since forgotten the Minister
who resigned and the controversies?
Is it not true the Distribution companies simply bought PHCN
properties for peanuts? Owners that have no required expertise,
distribution companies aptly called DISCOs that see the venture as
new 'oil wells' and cannot dance and worthy disco.
Looking at the best effort of government or the DISCOs, I simply
recall those days when we read, this novel by Adaora Ulasi, Many
things we don't understand. It is a book I read many donkey years
ago. What captivated me then, was not just in the story but that
It was PHCN, former NEPA, and onetime ECN, for those old enough to
remember. Now Distribution Companies, the power sector and these
Discos are just a repeat episode--things we never may understand.
Like why we can't get 18hours electricity in a nation with so much
resources both human and financial. Like how do we expect to get the
desired megawatts with generating and transmission points that are
run ala Lugard?
How do we get electricity when a third of consumers don't pay bills,
infact stranger than fiction some state government houses owe
several millions of naira in bills.
As a nation, as a people, both the led, leaders and those who are in
the business of dealing with us--what are our values, what drives
this nation and her people?
What is the Nigerian dream, as we gravitate towards the second leg
of the Buhari led administration there are complains, grumbling,
disaffection and conflicts?
To some its Mr. Buhari, to others, it is the institutions, others
blame the opposition, the opposition blames government. The people
blame the leaders, the leaders blame leaders.
Are we not a betrayal republic, one of a people that has let itself
and people down and then as usual lie to its people.
Let us share this fable as I conclude: A master was strolling
through a field of wheat when a disciple came up to him and asked,
“I can’t tell which is the true path. What’s the secret?”
“What does that ring on your right hand mean?” – asked the master.
“My father gave it to me before dying.”
“Well, give it to me.”
The disciple obeyed, and the master tossed the ring into the middle
of the field of wheat.
“Now what?” – shouted the disciple.
“Now I have to stop doing everything I was doing to look for the
ring! It’s important to me!”
The ring is the masquerade, it is important to us, but it can be
thrown away, and indeed it has been discarded many times. We stop
everything we are doing to look for it, but we don't even know why,
yet it is important...that we see light at the tunnel’s end.
Nigeria, Nigerians, don't understand many things, we are a repeat
episode, yet we desperately desire change, and without seeing much
of it we moved to the next level.
Finally these three things: 1) Masquerades are often from the
community, the same people you eat, play, work and discuss with.
Yet, they hide their faces and scare you, poke fun at you, and chase
2) A repeat episode, many a time, you have watched it, you know what
to expect, how it will end, what happened. Yet, you are still
addicted to it, like the yearly masquerade you want to see it again,
even when you are being fooled.
3) Many things we don't understand--because we choose not to. Like
the power masquerade, good governance masquerade, and corruption
masquerade, ethnic card masquerade and more--Are we ready to shed
the deceit, and get it right, will there be light at the end of the
tunnel—only time will tell.