Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)
For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria
DSM, PO Box 2225, Agege, Lagos
Come to DSM secretariat at 49 Charity Road New Oko-Oba, Abule-Egba, Lagos,
Call our national office on 0805 304 5953
28 May 2015
SUPPORT "NO LIGHT; NO PAYMENT CAMPAIGN" IN YOUR COMMUNITIES
FOR A REGULAR ELECTRICITY SUPPLY
GOVERNMENT MUST TAKE BACK THE POWER SECTOR FROM PRIVATE PROFITEERS AND PUT UNDER REAL DEMOCRATIC CONTROL
At present the electricity generation is 1,327 megawatts for a population of over 170 million while South Africa with less than 50 million generates 44, 000 megawatts. You cannot but ask yourself why the ruling elites with all of the billions of dollars that have been earned from oil wealth these past decades have not generated sufficient megawatts of electricity for Nigeria. The short answer is that the majority of the ruling class have no confidence to develop the country but loot instead. This is the very basis of the present state of darkness in the country. Incapable of taking the problem head long, the ruling elites have resorted to the approach of name change from NEPA to PHCN and now full scale privatization that has landed us all with the current Electricity Generation Companies (GENCO) and Distribution Companies (DISCO) like IKEDC and EKEDC whose sole task and expertise is distributing darkness. Yet these DISCO's are still billing us to pay for the darkness!
Estimated and indiscriminate bills ranging from a minimum of N7,000 to as much as N30,000 are charged in a country where the official minimum wage is N18,000, and many families still spend an average of N15,000 to N20,000 monthly for fuel and maintenance of generating set. This is aside small shop owners and artisans whose businesses have completely become dependent on generators.
According to Mr. Abiodun Ajifowobaje, the Managing Director of IKEDC to supply customers 24/7 power supply, the company requires 1,250MW, but it gets 150MW as of May 25, 2015. The situation is not any different for EKEDC and other DISCO'S. So we beg to ask, why still go ahead and charge us for 1,250 MW, when 150MW is being distributed? What is the logic of not supplying the needed power and yet demand the maximum of fees from consumers and a compulsory N750, all for disbursing darkness? It is clear that this arrangement is aimed at guaranteeing super profit for the profiteers at the expense of consumers. This further explains why privatization is nothing but a daylight robbery.
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) calls on workers, professionals, artisans, traders, social organizations, youth groups, drivers and okada riders, Keke Marwa Riders, Landlords/Tenants in communities to join this struggle to reverse this growing ugly trend.
It is clear that we cannot rely on anti-poor politicians and elected public officers, who have the treasury of the country at their mercy, from which they can budget at public expense for fuel, generators and their maintenance. This is even when we know that they earn more than their counterparts in countries like the USA, and UK, and yet do not pay for the electricity they use in their private capacity. This explains why they can never know what we are all going through.
The impact of this epileptic power supply is that many businesses have collapsed, residents cannot sleep comfortably at night after the day's work, iron clothes or pump water. We have always argued that privatization of the sector is not the solution to the power problem. The private companies are only interested in making profit and not to provide a stable power supply that we can afford and which meets our power needs.
Despite selling the sector to the private companies at rock bottom price of about N400 billion for a sector that is worth over N5 trillion, the point must be made that the private profiteers have not added an extra one megawatts into the national grid. To make the matter worse the government has approved a bail out of N216 billion out of which N50 billion has been allocated to them already. This is not mentioning that governments in the past 10 years have spent over $20 billion and yet we are still in darkness!
Power generation, transmission and distribution are capital intensive and thereby require massive investment, adequate workforce and expertise in order to guarantee efficient and affordable service in the interest of the general public. The private companies that bought PHCN lack these ingredients and they are in business just for profit. While they may plan to profit by making electricity a luxury item for a few, they are clearly incapable of electrifying the country. This explains the monumental failure of the electricity privatization and the concomitant growing call in communities for its reversal as the power supply gets worse while the private firms charge for service not rendered. Given the dismal performance of PHCN when also under the government, the call for the reversal of the electricity privatisation must be matched with the demand for the renationalised electricity industry to be placed under a democratic control of representatives of workers, communities/consumers and relevant professionals. That is the best way transparency, accountability and effective management can be guaranteed.
We support 'NO LIGHT NO PAYMENT CAMPAIGN' that has broken out in many communities. We however urge that the struggle should be peaceful in its method and conduct. The PHCN/DISCO workers are not directly responsible for the situation and on no account must they be the target of attack, our enemy is the ruling class holding the country to ransom. We must rather resort to mass mobilization and sensitization to achieve our demands. Residents should mobilize themselves collectively to prevent disconnection until all of our demands are met. We appeal to officials of DISCO not to provoke members of communities by distributing bills or attempting to come and disconnect residents for refusing to pay for darkness. We also call on the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) to support the struggle in communities against poor power supply and payment for service not enjoyed. The Union should also demand the return of electricity sector to public ownership under democratic control of workers and consumers.
It is our take that the resources of the country are enormous and adequate to meet the needs of all of us. The new Buhari regime is promising 'change", but real change will only come by sweeping aside the whole corrupt system, not just hitting a few of the most openly corrupt. We have to reject the exploitation by the private profiteers. Support for demand for renationalisation and democratic control of the electricity sector must be built among working people who must take action themselves. Only democratic control of renationalized power sector by workers and consumers along with open accounting and a tight cap on exorbitant salaries and expenses can ensure that we don't return to the era of corruption and inefficiency that characterized the defunct NEPA/ PHCN
Organise street and neighborhood meetings to deepen the mobilization. Call or send email for more information and enquiries.
WE SUPPORT THE DEMANDS FOR:
This Leaflet is Issued By: DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST MOVEMENT (DSM)
162, Ipaja Rd, Agbotikuyo B/stop, Agege, Lagos State. Tel: 08098284000, 08053045953. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.