The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has asked Nigerians not to blame the federal government for poor electricity supply in their homes.
Backstory: Fashola pointed out that the country’s power sector had been privatized and largely not under the control of the federal government.
Fashola was speaking at the Nextier Power Dialogue in Abuja, where stakeholders including consumers were in attendance.
The Minister said, “There are problems without a doubt and we must deal with them. But let me remind you; all of the assets that the ministry of power used to control for power have been sold by the last administration before I came. And so, if you don’t have power, it is not the government’s problem. Let us be honest.”
Fashola added that “I am here because I am concerned. If your telephone is not working, it is not the minister of communication that you go to. Let us be very clear.”
“So, for those of you who want to weaponize electricity, face the businessmen who have taken it up. Let us be honest. If your bank over-charges your interest, is it the minister of finance you go to? So, let’s be clear. This is now a private business by an Act of Parliament of 2005.”
Fashola added that his role as minister was to provide policy directions, among others.
He said: “My role is regulatory oversight and policy, but I have a problem, which is the fact that I can’t see a problem and turn my back., So I’m getting involved. So, the people you should be talking to about transformers are not me; the ministry doesn’t supply transformers anymore.”
Bottom Line: Fashola wants to absolve himself of all responsibility for the failures within the power sector while at the same time attempting to portray himself as a hero who could have looked away but did not. Funny that the minister did not think these when he frequently criticised the Jonathan administration on this matter.
Also, unlike telecoms, the federal government still controls transmission, so in sense he is still very involved as minister.