Former Lagos State governor and minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said the problem the power sector is facing is man-made and he is determined to ensure that the power sector works to the point where Nigeria has uninterrupted power supply.
Fashola who is one of the speakers at the maiden edition of Made in Nigeria Festival taking place at Eko Atlantic, Lagos disclosed that his blue-print is in three phases of power-generation, steady supply of power and uninterrupted power supply.
Speaking on the man-made challenges, Fashola said, “We had an issue some time ago during an electrification project, we got to this expanse of land and we were told that the land where we need to lay electricity cable belongs to the spirit, the indigenes of that area scared the contractors away by invoking curse on the project. I was briefed about this and we entered negotiation with them, you won’t believe this, by the time we finished the negotiation, the ‘spirits’ collected money and we were able to continue with our project.
“Another instance was where we had a telecommunication mast obstructing electrification of a village, the former regime and the telecommunication company were exchanging letters, all I did was call Otunba Mike Adenuga and the mast was removed in a week.
“The power challenges are not impossible, most of them are man-made, I am determined to ensure we get to the point where Nigeria has uninterrupted power supply”.
Speaking further, Fashola said since 1960, Nigeria generated 5074 megawatt of power for the first time in February 2016.
“We have never generated up to 5000 megawatt of power since 1960 but we generated 5,074 megawatts of power in February, 2016 and this was made possible because we have begun systematic repair of our power-generating equipment which is in the phase one of our developmental plans”.
Fashola disclosed that he and his team has a developmental plan consisting of power generation which is focused on maximising all available power-generating components by repairing them. The second phase is steady supply of power while the third phase is uninterrupted power supply.
Fashola reiterated government’s resolve to get electricity to the rural areas by engaging universities located in rural areas.
“We are deepening rural electricity, we are using universities as anchors for these rural areas. These universities are located in the rural areas. In the universities where we are carrying out this rural electrification programmes, we are challenging the students in Electrical Engineering Departments to develop a power plan to add to what we have on ground already before they graduate from that university.’’