A number of analysts believe that, the potentials of a resourceful country like Nigeria, would be unleashed, if there was adequate power supply. The reality is that, any 21st century knowledge-driven economy would not be able to make progress, without meeting her energy needs.
In Nigeria, only about 4,000 Megawatts is generated, leaving individuals and organizations, with no choice, but to spend billions of Naira, powering their generators. This development has hampered the growth of the economy and reduced, the possibility of Nigerian-based firms, particularly, those in manufacturing, to compete globally.
The big question is simple. How can technology and experts in the industry help? I recently had a chat on Tech Trends on Channels Television, with Malik Ado-Ibrahim, Founder, Bicenergy, an energy expert, who believes that, the problem of inadequate power supply, can be solved, if the right decisions are taken and followed through. He spoke on this and other issues during the chat.
CFA: What, in your opinion, is the state of the Nigerian power sector?
Malik: My opinion is that, I think we have missed the boat. There is the opportunity for Nigeria to a lot of things, differently, to grab modernity and really have a transformation agenda for power. It’s not something new to us. We’ve done it in the telecoms sector. We’ve grown faster than most nations have ever grown, by just accepting technology and moving forward.
We haven’t done the same, in the power sector. There is a lot of new sensational power mixes that we can have and adopt in Africa, especially, Nigeria because, you know, we have such a young population that absorbs technology and utilizes it, almost on a day to day basis, more than any African country. I believe that the power sector has been like, equally, moving forward in that way.
Yes, we hear about solar, but that is, even, not, funny anymore. We have power in different ways, whether it’s storage, whether it’s salt storage, thermal power generation and we have everything at our fingertips. What’s missing? I always ask myself this question. Do we understand that the leadership we need in the power sector is, what gets us out of the malaise that we’re in? Do we realize that, we’re blessed with so much sunlight and so much natural resources that we can use to generate power? Are we so blind to this, or, am I just from a different planet? That’s kind of the way I’ve always looked at this and I think it’s a question of leadership, why our power sector is in the quandary it is, right now. Do we stay traditional, or, do we expand to a much more modern approach to power.
CFA: Can our technology industry, ever compete globally, without fixing our power industry?
Malik: In my personal opinion, I think it’s impossible and I think that should be evident to most people. Without power, our technology is dormant and dead. Our power sector, really, is the engine room for the next platform for Nigeria’s growth. We can fix it. We’re stuck at 4,000 Megawatts. Our transmission is poor, if not failing. In any observation from any quarters you look at it, our power sector has failed the nation. 4,000 Megawatts for 200 million people does not just equate to anything, even, relating to our growth as a nation. We have a very young population. 50% are under 19.5 years old and we need to be fixing our energy before we fix anything else. When we are absorbing technology, without power, it’s like trying to cook, without gas. It’s just not possible, so, we’re stuck in this and we need to fix it. That should be the plan of our nation building from yesterday.
We need to fix our power situation and it’s not something that you’re saying for the first time. We’re all saying it, but what’s the plan to fix it and that’s where the focus of the nation should because, if we fix it, we fix security, if we fix it, we fix growth, if we fix it, we fix healthcare, we fix education, we fix everything. We are dependent on power for everything that we need to do in this country.
You can watch the full interview here