APOLOGISTS of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration may readily argue that he has done convincingly well in the area of fighting corruption and insecurity. It is not contestable that the APC-led government had so far recovered billions of naira while houses, cars and buildings also not left. However, the anti-corruption crusade seems like a futile exercise that has element of selective justice. In the three areas that the president had emphasised in his campaign, that is, security, fighting corruption, and the economy, everybody, even his enemies, would give it to him that he has done very well in the first two. We are having challenges in the area of economy for apparent reasons, because we are one country that rely on one commodity – oil – for its income and that is all. The price of oil has totally collapsed; what we are receiving now is just about one-third of what we used to receive two, three years ago. Therefore, it is difficult; what we need now is for this economic contraction to stop. It is only after this that we would begin to talk about rebuilding the economy and creating jobs. There are obvious challenges in the economic sector and I am sure the president is up to the task. The big question that keeps on lingering on the lips of Nigerians is that how come the anti-corruption crusaders refuse to recover stolen treasure like PHCN which was never sold? Another question is, who really bought the DISCOs? Which bank was the money deposited into on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria? And if it was actually sold, how come that only the people that bought the DISCOs are all politicians rather than people with business acumen? No expertise attached; agreed ‘NDA’ are on the rampage, but can we prepare for an eventuality like this senseless vandalism of gas pipelines? These are questions the APC must be ready to answer if they are truly serious in their anti-corruption campaigns; or else the whole exercise might be termed mere witch-hunt exercise, because arms deal certainly can’t be the only corrupt act before the APC government. The fact that the scandalous PHCN privatisation has emerged as a sacred cow cannot be denied. It is in public knowledge that the privatisation of power companies, where the cronies of the former vice president, who eventually was the chairman of the National Council on Privatisation, were in charged then. For instance, the past director- general of the Bureau of Privatisation, BPE, shortchanged PHCN staff with impunity, as the actual template for the payment of the severance package was never used. Nigerians are challenging the APC to do needful; because even the country was robbed. The issue of the DISCOs is most glaring example of uglt activities of the DG. Up till the moment, the running of the DISCOs is shrouded in secrecy and no one can tell whether the so-called new owners have paid fully or not. This calls for scrutiny of the entire transactions and the financial status of the DISCOs. The federal government is hereby advised to ask the privatised companies to remit its 40 percent share of the revenues they collected right from the day they took over the companies to date. It beats many imaginations why some people and their masters shared the country’s assets in the name of privatisation. This is the mother of all frauds and it should not be allowed. Full criminal investigations should be thoroughly carried out. Nigeria would be shocked with the possible outcome such investigation. This country is in financial chomp now and the criminals and their cronies who benefited from the mess of the so-called privatisation exercise must not be allowed to retain their ill-gotten assets. In fact, serious and detailed analysis of the way these companies were disposed of would lead to criminal charges against those involved. The dominant discussions among Nigerians today have since been shifted from insecurity and corruption to acute hardship and non-release of capital since the 2016 budget was approved. The need for the PMB-led APC administration to borrow fund cannt be over-emphasised at this critical state of the nation’s economy. This situation in place has led to the present monstrous phenomena in our society as poverty, joblessness, insecurity, kidnapping, impoverishment and hunger which are all over the news. To worsen the situation, the populace is
faced radical decline in power generation, transmis¬sion and distribution in the country. But what many are more worried about is how President Buhari plans to achieve the 10,000mw promised Nigeri¬ans in his opening address at the National Economic Coun¬cil retreat held on March 22, 2016. How he will do the magic will surely be judged by time. This is because the new owners of our power facilities have bluntly refused to invest in renewal and embedded energy that are globally acceptable. Surprisingly, what they brought to these DISCOs is strategies to make easy money, shunning the very needed innovations to increase power supply, which has led to the sorry state of the economy and its currency suffocating day in, day out. The decision to allow the DISCOs to continue with their poor performance or change investors lies with the federal government, and President Buhari must ensure that those who cannot improve services must get their sales agreement terminated. Since last year, the maximum power generated in the country at a single time is less than 4000 megawatts. Normally, it fluctuates between 2800 to 1400 megawatts. The city of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, consumes in excess of 2700 megawatts at any given time. It is needless to express that South Africa, with a population of 40million people, produces over 40,000 megawatts of electricity, but Nigeria’s own is war, why? Privatisation has done very little to bring about the necessary improvement in the power sector. Nigerians are conscious of the fake bidding and awarding exercises of the generation, transmission, and distribution branches of the former National Electricity Power Authority, NEPA, which later became Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN. The taxonomy changes of the same entity have not led to improved performance. Instead, the situation is getting worse due to lack of loyalty and incompetence of the highest order. The immediate past government of Jonathan/ Sambo hurriedly sold PHCN to ‘selected private investors’ who purportedly bought the various stages of the relay-like company for peanuts. These investors, who have since taken over control of power output in Nigeria, have made the bad situation even worse. Nigerians are worse off now than when it was a totally government enterprise, an abnormality more painful to all of us. Buhari must know that Nigerians are only waiting for the cancellation of dubious PHCN privatisation. This is ridiculous. The people that perpetrated thid evil must be brought to justice; let them explain to Nigerians where and how they bought these DISCOs. Finally, I suggest that the federal government should constitute an erudite team to study how UK handled its privatisation so that we can learn from it and stop the diabolical deception of the century called privatisation in Nigeria. Muhammed D. Eibo Adanu is a Media and Communications Specialist wrote via [email protected]

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