I remember the end of 2009 when the Nigerian Attorney General announced that Nigeria had achieved the set 5-GigaWatts power generation. I told a friend, “Oh! I did not know that was the way; it is achievable then! Just announce it and it is done!”
Last weekend when I heard that Nigeria was close to 5-GW finally, I felt like shouting that it was not true! But then, the light just doesn’t go off again! It just stares at you night and day! I began to imagine the merits and the demerits.
- Success breeds success! For achieving 4.8-GW, the guys are now determined to hit 5-GW! And they are so going to hit it because they were at a meagre 2.5-GW about 3 months ago, coming from an all-time low of 175-MW four months ago! J
- Health effects. There are easy-to-overlook health benefits of this. First, may we never hear again of surgeries impossible because of power outages. May our homes be as quiet as this forever, free from the noise of generators. May we always sleep well at night. May the carcinogenic (Cancer-causing) fumes of diesel and petrol be gone forever from our bedrooms! Sleeping well is key to good health.
- Economic advantages. First, businesses will no longer spend 90% of their profits on diesel. That means they can talk about growth and business expansion in real terms. Also, citizens would spend less on personal power generation. Employees / citizens would then have more disposable income to patronize businesses. Businesses would produce more and employ more people who would then increase production and spending.
- Charity. In 2006, a Lagos church had a diesel budget of N11million. I can imagine that it has now gone up to may be N22million. If that money is set free, more hungry mouths will be fed, more street children will be rescued, more public schools will be upgraded by that church that is already contributing so so much!
- Less Fire Calls. My community is prone to power surges. Heavy ones! But since the power became stable, we’ve not had a single one! Power surge is the number 1 cause of building fires in Nigeria. They destroy and kill; but now, we can sleep with both eyes closed. Furthermore, we store less fuel now!
- Security. I got talking to a military man one day and asked why he lights up the whole premises at night. He explained that once the whole place is bright, no marauder would approach the light. Now our communities are better lit…and hopefully, safer!
- Food. First, at this time, you are not likely to buy dodgy fish or chicken, refrozen! Then you don’t have to throw away the food you spent hours cooking—food has stopped spoiling!!
- Road Transport. With less fuel consumption, we will have less fuel deliveries, and less fuel tanker accidents on the road!
- Jobs. On one hand, one tends to think that less consumption of petrol leads to job losses. But that may not be true. There are too many derivatives of crude oil for us to create numerous jobs. When we had Tyre factories in Nigeria, they still had to import carbon black, a derivative of crude oil. Are you reading this on a computer or phone? It contains more petroleum products than you can imagine. Hope you are not sitting on a plastic chair, and wearing rubber/foam slippers. And your car doesn’t use rubber tyres? It’s like we have been eating PONMO and complaining about how expensive leather materials are!
- GCE results. Students will now study at night with sufficient lighting, less headaches and better understanding.
- Road Traffic. What happens when you are waiting at the red light and instead of going green, it goes off? J Chaos!
- Telephony. I remember years ago when telephone calls used to go off with power cuts! Imagine that the GSM companies do not run on diesel, both data and call rates could go down a bit more!
So what are the demerits? Sadly, there are!
- Job cuts. The generator technician on my street is always in his shop now. I really feel for him! No one is servicing generators anymore. I try to warm mine once a week! He will have to transpose his skills to another industry or starve!
- Petroleum Marketers. Since we began to have light, our expenditure on Fuel has nose-dived. When was the last time you saw a poster on your gate with a phone number to call for home delivery of diesel?? Times have changed!
- Generator Merchants. When we needed generators, solar panels and windmills could have been provided. But short term gain was the only consideration and now… the party is over! They still don’t have to lose. The demand in Nigeria of today is calculated at about 10.5 GW and generation is only about 5 GW. I believe the 10.5 GW includes many Nigerians who are not yet on the national grid. So there is room to supply renewable energy. Besides, as things become calmer and businesses begin to grow, 10.5 GW will start shifting upward. However, the sun and the wind are free, and where gas is available, it is cheaper than diesel.
I can’t seem to think of as many demerits as merits. I hope it’s not over-optimism. But it appears there is much more to gain than to lose in having good power supply. So the next time you see an uncle lamenting being broke because subsidy payments have gone down, ask him to account for the so much he has got, else, it is not worth our investment.
When we have to embark on a trip, we inadvertently prepare a few things that would help us get there. This preparation may be inadequate, but usually, it will get us to the destination even if it would not give us a good time there.
We have to choose our modes of transportation. Sometimes, you have to choose further: Ok, I’ll go by road. Which route? Do I drive my own car? Or do I ride with a friend? Do I go by public transport? This is taking for granted the fact that we had already established our destination.
We arm ourselves with what we believe are necessary supplies for the trip. However, most trips require more than just initial preparation. Some trips even require us to retreat (fail) and take on the trip again. In 1953, two people made it to the top of Mount Everest at the same time: Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay. Tenzig had attempted in 1952, but the team was beaten back 240 meters from the summit. The current Nigerian President M. Buhari took the office by force in 1983 but was chased out in less than 2 years. He has been vying for the office since 2003 and he made it in 2015 when his strategy was completely overhauled; he re-equipped.
Sometimes after our attempts have proved successful, we need to still overhaul the whole machinery. Sometimes we find that we are not sufficiently equipped to sustain the success; we get some more education, we refuel our cars, we hire new staff, etc.
Summarily, Not Much in Life is Passive!
We may need to do less, do more, etc. But above all, we need to keep evaluating and making adjustments.
At one time or the other, we all have had inappropriate things come up on our computers or mobile devices while surfing the internet. It could be on your personal device, or at an internet cafe, or at a borrowed device. Sometimes, you feel the inappropriate thing followed a cookie to your device. At other times, you are sure that it was not any cookie; it just came!
Sometimes you see gross pictures that could haunt your mind for the next few days. Other times they are just symbols of idleness set to take your time: “Watch this video and see what happens to the guy on the left.” At other times its news that would leave us either angry or afraid.
What are we to do?
We have kept quiet and it has not helped; we have spoken against it but we have not necessarily got results. Why not produce good content?
In 2011 a guy whose name I cannot remember wrote about 10 points to make the new year a good year. One key point that came across to me was that we should not just be consumers on the internet; we should also contribute! Hmm. That was why I started this blog.
There are people that we have to defriend on Facebook for habitually posting inappropriate content; and there are those whose walls we check when we need encouragement. There are those we know we could get good information from; there are those that we get gossip info from. The question is not, “What kind of content do you contribute?” Rather, we should ask, “What could I contribute to make the pool better?”
There is doubtless a battle between good and evil, between light and darkness; and every little torch counts!
To the scientist and the engineer, strength is in the physical formation. To the leader and the soldier, strength is in invincibility. To the little boy among peers, strength is in the size of your biceps; and the capacity to win arm wrestlings!
What is strength to you?
Dictionary defines strength as (1) the quality or state of being physically strong; and (2) the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure.
There is so much pressure on us in today’s world even though we may deny it. The barrage from the news is all negative, and repressive: from Nepal. to India, to Nigeria, to the Middle East, to the USA, etc. We are bombarded with information about natural disasters, insurgency, receding moral standards, temptation to err, etc. All these pressures want to break us: to tell us that we are not good enough or strong enough.
Someone blurted out last week, “Why do these things have to happen!?” I won’t venture to answer that question, but while still looking forward to the answer, I will ask a different question: “What can we do to remain sane in this situation?”
1. Do not stand alone
Quoting Confuscius, “If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.” King Solomon also writes, “Two are better than one,… For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.” We are better off in company of like-minded people!
2. Connect with SomeOne stronger
As much as mankind has attempted to deny the deity of God, we have not been able to evade it. Someone pointed out that evolutionists date rocks by the fossil and date the fossil by the rock i.e circular thinking. We do this when run out of ideas. A Professor of Physics wondered why it’s only water that expands anomalously if not that SomeOne arranged it so as to preserve aquatic life in winter. Whichever way, if we are sinking, we are better of clutching at a straw–a strong one at that!
3. Live for a purpose
Living to earn a living is boring! Make something happen for someone else, or for your city, or community, or nation! If we have a reason for living, it could be easier to weather our storms. If we live for ourselves alone, we may soon ask why live and go through all the pressures in the first place. In the book In Pursuit of Purpose by Myles Munroe, he opens the book with the story of a prosperous man who jumped into the ocean to kill himself. A young and strong man saw him and went after him, saving him. The rich man was in his 70s. He was happily married with good children getting on fine. But he said, “Everybody knows who I am, but I do not know why I am.” Without purpose, it won’t be long before man caves in.
4. Embrace your mortality!
Well, we want to live long, but no one will live forever and the earlier we come to terms with this, the easier it would be for us and the more peace we would have!
Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
– Mahatma Ghandi –
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
– King Solomon –
I recently read a book by John Maxwell Running with Giants. In it he discussed the life of Noah and how one person could make a difference. It took Noah about 100 years to build a massive ark on dry land. One could only imagine the persecution. However, the first thing was that Noah was the only one that God found who could work with Him.
Then I saw an old movie The Miracle Worker on YouTube! I thought it would show how some miracles happened etc. Instead it showed how Anne Sullivan got Helen Keller to live a productive life! Anne Sullivan was the miracle worker. The experiences of Sullivan made her devote her life to Helen Keller. I am not sure there was any other big achievement in the life of Sullivan. However, one achievement was big enough! What did that one thing produce through the life of Helen Keller?
- She broke the barrier that would have rendered her completely useless in life. That in itself is a big deal, but then imagine the number of people who hear her story and go ahead to break their own barriers!
- A deafblind would ordinarily have been written off as a hopeless case. But due to the work of Anne on Helen, schools for the deafblind were opened. She was the first deafblind to go to University. The next to her was 50 years after her!
- She was the first deafblind to write to a book. She eventually authored 14!
- She worked for the rights and privileges of the blind in 40 countries.
- She was encouragement to blinded war veterans in World War II, etc.
Wouldn’t you describe Anne Sullivan as a success having laid the foundation for Helen to be Helen Keller?
What one thing are you doing, like Anne Sullivan?
What one thing are you the only one able to do, like Noah?
One could really be enough!
Many years ago, there was an unprecedented riot in my city. Mum had to walk some distance to pick us from school and we had to walk that distance again to get to the car. It was as though the whole city was ablaze and confused, and all major roads, blocked. Then, there were no mobile phones.
I asked mum where we were going and she said, “Home!” It occurred to me that as confused as the roads and the unwilling pedestrians appeared, we faced different directions but were going to just one place: home! I was under ten.
In today’s world however, home is either one’s place of comfortable/preferred abode or a familiar website from which one is comfortable to make progress. Whichever way, home is characterized by comfort, preference, and afterwards, progress.
However, home does not always fulfil these expectations. For example, there are people who lurk about after work, waiting till late so as to reduce contact time with their spouses. There are children who are “delivered” from home by gracious admission to boarding houses; they do not look forward to vacation. In university days, there were those who never went home.
What makes a place home?
Love and peace.
There are many homes without wealth yet with love and peace. There are many homes without perfect health, but still with love and peace. Maybe we should ask what makes for love and peace and joy.
First, the Christian’s Bible says that love and joy and peace are produced by the Holy Spirit living in a man. He enables one to look into a rough situation and still maintain a smile of assurance.
Furthermore, we could decide to love and be joyful no matter what may come our way. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust Survivor, says “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.
While many situations require more than a positive attitude, many homes could have joy and peace if we would decide so. If we could make our homes peaceful and joyful, we could expect progress on more fronts.
By September 2014, I had become shy to review my 2014 annual plan–too many unfulfilled plans. Last week I was discussing with a friend and we saw January 2015 disappear too quickly. We both imagined that another year is going and several plans are slowly slipping to the junk yard of unfulfilled dreams again.
I hit the nail on the head: “Wow! The year is about to end again!”
Friend: Don’t scare me; we still have 11 months!
Me: Well, yes! But time-wise, we cannot score 12/12 again! The best we can make is 11/12 and that is only of we swing into action NOW!
For every one year plan you made for 2015, if you have not started out on it, time-wise, you can never score 12 over 12 again! However, 11/12 is still better than 10/12 and 9/12.
Why do we abandon projects?
I identified some points (not an exhaustive list)
2. Family responsibilities
6. Lack of resources
7. Faulty dreams
How can we rekindle our visions and projects?
1. Write them down!
2. Get an accountability partner or mentor
3. Plan your life / budget your finances
4. Partner to implement the plan
5. From time to time, go back to the place where the dream was conceived.
6. Evaluate your dreams to be sure they are still viable.
7. Count the cost before starting out.
8. Dream of what things would be like when your dream is fulfilled!
If you take just one thing on your list, and I take one thing on my list, and she takes one thing on her list and he takes one thing on his list, the world should take one huge step forward this year.
Let us start as, in the words of an old man I met recently, “it is the start that stops!”
For all creation is gazing eagerly as if with outstretched neck, waiting and longing to see your fruit!
Once someone referred to a much older man. He said, “He’s so old that in his school days, history was called current affairs!”
Well. We often think that history was made by great men! I think that no one is born great but in time, each proves his/her worth. Architects of history are never fixated on their own needs. There focus is on how they could foster the good of all. They are not required to be perfect…but selfless.
No matter what Nelson Mandela got wrong, his selflessness and sacrifices overwhelm them. No matter what Obafemi Awolowo got wrong, his policies are the foundation upon which some good things in Nigeria are built today. If Charles Dickens never wrote Oliver Twist, thousands more of hapless orohans would probably have died. If Dr Stella Adadevoh did not hold Ebola back with her life, Nigeria would have been pillaged; Nigerians would have travelled , and everyone would have been hit somehow. Aliko Dangote doesn’t appear to be ambitious for wealth at this stage; I think he is expending his capacity in building Africa.
As we begin to write on the blank canvas of 2015, let us look away from ourselves.
I met a Cameroonian gentleman.
he just loves to visit Nigeria. He has had many good times on his last 4 visits. He thinks he will make it an annual trip. He is based in Europe, but he would not mind to live in Nigeria. He loves the fast pace of life in Nigerian cities, he loves the business acumen, the music, the movies, and the night bars!
He asked if I am Yoruba or Ibo (I wonder if I do not look one bit Hausa to him!). Well, I am Yoruba. He said Yoruba and Ibo people are very hardworking.
Hmm. I thought he must just be looking for something nice to say!
I explained to him that on average, Yorubas are professionals while Ibos are business men. His joy seemed to overflow! He told me with excitement that a successful business does not need more than those two! One person drives the business, the other manages it! He said that Africans need to work together! I sighed inside, knowing that Yorubas and Ibos are not necessarily natural associates.
He offered a prayer for Dangote (Africa’s richest man). He said that Dangote goes all over Africa to invest, create jobs and generally promote society. He told me what I could not dispute: there are many wealthy people in Nigeria. If only they all could do like Dangote, Nigeria would be better than an average European city!
He’s hitting hard! He said that Dangote’s businesses in Cameroon are huge!
Then he began to sing a Nigerian song “You don dey make me kolo ee.” I laughed, asking if he understood what the song means. No he did not, but he cannot help singing Nigerian songs and watching Nollywood! He said African music means Nigerian music! I explained the song to him anyway! But I thought about how the most popular things about Nigerian musicians in Nigeria are their mistakes and vices: children out of wedlock, divorces, unguided investments, etc.
I told him of a Ugandan woman I once heard singing a P-Square song and I exclaimed, “You listen to Nigerian music?”
She answered, “That’s not a Nigerian song, it’s an African song!” We laughed unitedly!
My Cameroonian thinks the best thing for any African to do is to live in Africa and contribute something to make a better society! He said Congolese have a lot of money but they don’t go to school. And once you are not educated, your judgements will not be well grounded. Hence when the rich men tell theothers to take to arms, tney take to arms…and now they are best known for wars and infightings!
He’s hitting hard! Insurgency and Education may truly have an inverse relationship, even in Nigeria! i.e as education goes up, insurgency goes down…and vice versa.
I think that when we stand outside the system, we can see the big picture and appreciate our blessings and strengths better!