Politics and policy

Nigeria politicians power campaigns with energy pledge

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Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck (left) and main challenger, ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari during election campaigns. Photo/AFP

Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck (left) and main challenger, ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari during election campaigns. Photo/AFP 

By Charles Omondi

Posted  Tuesday, April 19  2011 at  00:00

Politics in Nigeria, like everywhere else, is about power.

But in the giant West African nation, politics is also about electric power.

So debilitating is the power rationing in the West African country — the most populous in Africa — that it must rank as one of the biggest contributors to Nigeria’s sleeping giant infamy.

Not surprisingly, every politician on the campaign trail makes a promise to resolve the crisis to try to win over the electorate.

You scan through newspaper campaign advertorials and a solution to Nigeria’s power blackouts is a recurring theme.

You attend the political rallies, and you are assured of hearing about the same.

The electronic media political campaign messages too invariably carry the power (electricity) theme.

The blackouts that would elsewhere be a cause of outrage among the citizenry, are in Nigeria the norm.

People just find alternatives and move on with their business.

Nigerians readily confirm that hardly a day passes without a blackout. These are either several and intermittent, or stretch on for long periods.

At the same time, they readily point out that the situation has improved considerably since Goodluck Jonathan took over the presidency about a year ago.

To keep the wheels of the economy running, Nigerians rely mostly on generators.

Factories, offices, hotels, cybercafés, you name it, must of necessity have a standby generator if they have to run their businesses with minimal interruption.

Lying between the Equator and the Sahara desert, Nigeria is generally a hot country where every modern building has to be equipped with an air conditioner, which, of course has to be powered one way or the other.

“Ever since this paper was established in 1983, there is no single day we have printed it using electricity supply, we always use the generator because printing is a delicate process that you would not want interrupted,” said Mr Felix Oguejiofor Abugu, the editor of the Guardian on Saturday.

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