#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.

 

FF

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