MasterwebNews 9/2/16 - NERC and DISCOS: When Darkness is Privatized

[ Masterweb Reports: Ikechukwu Enyiagu reports ] - "Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light." -Matthew 6:22 (New Living Translation)

It is important, first of all, that, in order to adequately comprehend and appreciate  the beautifully crafted parts of the body and how they consistently and tenaciously work in pari passu at ensuring the smooth-running of the whole body system in which they are firmly held together, a  light has to be shone. It doesn’t matter if it's a human body, a room or a society, without light being shone towards it, darkness naturally overtakes every desire for comprehension and appreciation. That then clearly explains why there has been historically a sharp demarcation between light and darkness; to keep your body healthy, shine the light of truth, and to keep the society growing positively, shine the light of transparency. It is by doing this that every disease hidden by darkness is unmasked and the body saved from death while the society overcomes all forms of moral decay.

Privatization, as said, has to deal with the process of transferring an enterprise or industry from the public sector (the part of the economic system that is run by government agencies) to the private sector. Parts of the argument in favor of privatization are that it will boost the efficiency and quality of remaining government activities, reduce taxes, and shrink the size of government - saving running funds thereby. Proponents have also argued that profit-seeking behavior of new, private sector managers will undoubtedly lead to cost cutting and greater attention to customer satisfaction. At least, on papers, privatization seemed feasible and, to wider margin, even desirable to citizens as arguments that it provides better services, cuts costs through professionalism, demands accountability and saves the public treasury abound. In this piece, however, we will be looking at the interpretation of the privatization of Power Holding Company of Nigeria  (PHCN) for today's Nigerian.

On April, 1, 1972, Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN), carved into force in the 50s by the then-colonial government, merged with the Niger Dam Authority (NDA) to create National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) aimed at giving the government a firmer grip on the power sector so as to ensure productivity and progress. Then NEPA failed only to be soon re-branded as Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHC or PHCN). This failed also. Sadly, the importance of shinning true light seem alien even to those crusaders of power generation and distribution in Nigeria. These phases which were set up to maximize profits while minimizing costs, we must all remember, clearly became the active drainage through which politicians and their allies kept keeping Nigeria on her knees.  The Advent of Power privatization, sadly also, has especially through the workings of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) pushed every merit of privatization further into the dark-covering trying to keep Nigeria and Nigerians encapsulated from the light that assures growth. 

Now "change is here" as it is famously sung and danced, with a broom-to-sweep. I firmly believe that true change can be possible when we begin to see clearly and to react rightly to the object of our sight. I sincerely believe that this time calls for less promulgation and more but focused practicalization. If the purpose of privatization in Nigeria as in elsewhere is mainly to maritain a functional and progressing economy for the society where majority of its citizens are relatively content with and trusting in the government structures, then there should be no cogent reason on the side of the 'government of change'  as to why privatization now seems to be privatizing individual citizens to hardship. The judiciary, standing as the unbiased upholder of justices, especially firstly where the citizens and the country are concerned, must then not look the other way when privatization tends to mock its rights to defend and uphold justice. On the activities and regulations of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Distribution Companies (DISCOs), it is important that we 'do not muzzle the ox while it is treading the grain,' for how can you claim to have come for the good of the power consumers when you charge for electricity not provided for? It makes no sense and no longer suffices that the power generators and distributors in Nigeria should continue to treat electricity users as milk-cows and steel slaves - demanding, with a whip in one arm, for productivity that advances them solely. 
Reiterating, I, too, believe in change. As the Treasury Single Account (TSA) keeps unmasking ghost works, I also believe that none should look for wages where he has not labored and that the law should be strict against such as Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) try to impose on today's Nigerians. We have lived in the darkness in our consciences for too long but 'change' should no longer allow the lack of  an infrastructure as common as electricity to keep holding our society down in the dark. I urge the federal government, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and all stakeholders to desist from privatizing darkness but to, once in Nigeria's history, shine the light that illuminates so that the beauty of this giant cant be seen by all. For once, let change come to, even if it is a thing as common as, electricity. There is no glory without the light and darkness will remain as long as light is absent or is being rationed. Corruption and all its interpretive branches only breathe, live and thrive in the dark and, believe me, electricity has its way of contending even with the darkness lurking in our individual hearts. Lack of electricity is today's foundation for other corruption because nothing else works in a country not powered  by electricity except the gluttonous desire to steal and embezzle. Sadly, this country may not shine until the bulbs in our houses and places of work shine with permanent steadiness. 
Ikechukwu Enyiagu ( Email: ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Darkness
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