#VoteWisely 2: PDP: Taking Power From The People

Let’s stay with the issue of power for this second in the series, just like the first one here

Perhaps we should ask why the PDP, after 12 years, has failed to deliver ANY meaningful improvement in power supply to Nigerians. Is the job too difficult or impossible? Is 12 years too short? Are we asking for too much from them? Are we being unfair? 

The only way, I think, to answer these questions is to take a quick tour round the world and see what some of our peers have done while we have fumbled in the dark under the PDP. 

Grab a stiff drink and let’s go



By any measure, Bangladesh is a poor country. Their GDP is $89bn which is about half of Nigeria’s at $173bn. We also have roughly the same population as they do. But their GNI per capita is a shocking $580 compared to Nigeria at $1,190.  Ideally we shouldnt be comparing Nigeria to them at all. 

But what have  they done in terms of electricity generation? From this document from October 1996 (when they began their own Power Sector Reform…we started ours last year), it is safe to say they were generating under 2200MW 14 years ago. 

And what are they doing now? Well the Bangladesh Power Development Board publishes an electricity generation report everyday. So using the latest report from 19th February, 2011, we see that their highest generation at 10pm in the night was 4085MW compared to a maximum demand of 4800MW i.e. they are meeting 85% of demand. 

So what’s the verdict? In the same period that the PDP have failed, the guys in Bangladesh have delivered a clear improvement in power supply to their people. 


Last year Venezuela was said to be going through an electricity ‘crisis’. So what was this ‘crisis’ all about? Well on February 9th 2010, President Chavez declared a state of emergency in electricity in Venezuela. He even issued a presidential decree 7228 seeking to make Venezuelans use electricity better after the country’s demand hit 17000MW. So how much was the deficit that caused this crisis? Well according to Opsis, the Venezuelan national grid operator, the country was facing a shortfall of 500MW. This was their own definition of a ‘crisis’….500MW deficit.

This graph shows the improvement in the country’s electricity generation since 1998 around the same time we have had the PDP in Nigeria. The Venezuelans have gone from around 11000MW to 17000MW. 


In January 2008 South Africa’s government called a ‘national emergency’ over the country’s growing power problems. You will recall that the late Umaru Yar’Adua also threatened to declare a national power emergency in July 2008 when the country was barely generating 3000MW. 

At the time of this ‘crisis’ in South Africa, they were generating in excess of 37000MW and it was said to be one of the reasons why Mbeki was eventually ousted from office. 

In one year they were able to add an extra 1000MW to the grid to ease the problems faced by the mines and they have another circa 11,000MW coming on stream by 2016.

I can hear some Nigerians earnestly praying to God to give us this kind of electricity ‘crisis’ in our country.


According to the International Energy Agency, as at 2008, Egypt had a generating capacity of 23,400MW covering 99.4% of the population. Interestingly in the same 2008, their peak demand for electricity was 21300MW. 

So seeing as they are generating more electricity than they need, did they declare a public holiday to celebrate it? Far from it, they are now investing in all types of renewable energy and looking to export to Southern Europe even. 


One could go on and one but I think a more important question to ask now is; can the PDP deliver stable and improved electricity to Nigerians? A few weeks ago we were told that Nigeria hit a 10 year generation peak of 4000MW which the president confirmed on his Facebook page. 

Simple logic means that this is the highest we have generated since 2001. So it’s safe to say between 1999 and 2001, at some point, we must have generated more than 4000MW to say nothing of how much demand has increased since then. Far from their ‘power to the people’ slogan, the PDP has succeeded in the last 12 years in taking (electrical) power from the Nigerian people. We are doing worse than we were before they took over. 

The PDP has now managed to return Nigeria to where they met us in 1999 perhaps when they took over? No wonder we havent made any progress….we have been sprinting on a treadmill all the while. 

We are reduced to ‘celebrating’ what Bangladesh is achieving everyday with half the resources we have. And the PDP are now asking for 4 or more years to ‘fix the problem’…after 12 years of trying and failing to make any headway with it.

Sometimes as a football coach, a game might be going against what you planned and you desperately need a goal from somewhere. A perfect example of this was the 1999 Champions league final where Manchester United were trailing Bayern Munich by a goal to nil. Sir Alex Ferguson introduced Teddy Sheringham and Ole Solskjaer in the 67th and 81st minutes respectively. Both players went on to score 2 goals in quick succession to win the game for United.

Was this because Sheringham and Solskjaer were better strikers? They certainly were good strikers but if they were better, perhaps they would have started the game in the first place. Their success was perhaps down to the fact that they were brought with a clear remit to score at least 1 goal for United. Andy Cole who was replaced was certainly a formidable striker but perhaps the game as it was being played out no longer suited him.


The PDP have failed to do what we asked them to do from the onset. It’s time for a change. We need to give someone else a clear remit and mandate to solve the electricity crisis in Nigeria. And the person needs to know that he is only getting the opportunity because the PDP have failed therefore he must not go the way of hos predeccesors or else…

I believe the person we should now bring on is Nuhu Ribadu.

You can donate to his campaign here. If you live in Nigeria or the UK, you can follow this link to see how you can donate by text message.

Vote Wisely





#VoteWisely 1: Lula, Dilma and Luz para Todos

This is the first in a series of short notes I will be doing from now till the election. I will try to focus on things that have happened in other countries of the world since the PDP came to power in Nigeria in 1999. I also make no apologies that I will be voting for Nuhu Ribadu as President on April the 9th.


On the 1st of January 2011, Dilma Rousseff was sworn in as the 36th President of Brazil taking over from the wildly popular Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who had been President for 8 years. 

Under Lula, Brazil grew to become the world’s 8th largest economy and his programmes have been credited with taking 20 million people, around 11% of the population, out of poverty among many other populist programmes aimed at reversing the historic inequalities prevalent in Brazilian society. In 2003, there were 64m Brazilians tagged as part of the middle class. By 2010 this number had jumped to 91m, almost half of the population of 190m. 

In 2003, shortly after being sworn in as President, Lula appointed Dilma Rousseff as his Energy Minister with a remit to tackle Brazil’s serious electricity problems. As at 2002, Brazil was only generating around 4000MW. 

Dilma Rousseff also launched a programme called Luz para Todos which means ‘electricity for all’ with the aim of connecting 2.4m homes (12million people) to the grid. This target has now been achieved after a few setbacks. What this means is that Brazil now has practically 100% electricity coverage of the whole country. This took 7 years to achieve. Some of the things achieved by the LPT programme include

3.2million poles installed

480,356 transformers

257,000km of high tension distribution lines

60,000km of low tension lines


As at last year, Brazil was generating 74,000MW of electricity….or 74GW. As the country’s economy grows, demand for electricity will naturally increase so the country’s 2010 – 2019 electricity plan (they are constantly updating their plans to ensure they are always looking 10 years ahead) aims to add 6300MW to the grid every year accroding to the Brazilian Energy Planning Company (ENE). From solar to nuclear to wind to hydro, they are generating electricity however they can. 

By 2019, the target is for the country to have 143,086MW of electricity generation capacity installed. They look to be on track to exceed this target especially as some projects are being sped up in time for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. 


Trust Nigerian officials to have been there and come back with their jaws on the floor. Vice President Sambo was said to have been ‘excited’ by what he saw and has ‘vowed’ to duplicate it in Nigeria.

Last week President Goodluck Jonathan proudly announced that the Nigerian economy grew by 8.29% in Q4 2010 due to the increased electricity generation which hit a ten year peak of, drum roll please, 4000MW.

In other words, we are now where the Brazilians were in 2003 and the Vice President is ‘excited’ while the President thinks it is ‘good’ and he is thus ‘delighted’. 

What is slightly worrying is that it is this same People’s Democratic Party that has been in charge for 12 straight years.

The Brazilian example shows that this thing is not magic. It’s just the PDP who cant do it. They have failed. Simple as. 


This is why we must think carefully about the choices we are going to make in April. We cannot continue to reward failure just because it now wears a Fedora as opposed to a Hausa cap or Yoruba abeti aja. Just because things are different does not mean anything has changed.

We must not take on the image of our government which sees no correlation between crime and punishment by not being able to punish politicians who have failed the country. 


A party that calls itself Africa’s largest party gave us a contest between Goodluck Jonathan and Atiku Abubakar as the best it had to offer to lead this nation forward. 

And dutifully, the usual suspects have come out again, no doubt with their forks and knives, salivating at the prospect of eating for another 4 years. So in this bizarre stage play we are witnessing, the entire cast and storyline remains the same while the ‘actor’ is killed off every 4 years to keep the audience interested….we the people being the audience.


The world will not wait for Nigeria while we fumble in the dark under the misrule of the PDP again. We cannot be held captive by this band of people any longer while giving excuses that the opposition are not campaigning enough or are not getting their acts together.

The whole point of voting a party out of power is for us as voters to exercise our powers to choose and more importantly to register our displeasure at the state of affairs. 

And we will be telling whoever we elect that, if they do not perform, we will do to them what we did to the PDP.


Vote Wisely.