We cannot afford to fail again on generation of electricity to homes and industries in Nigeria. But we certainly need a new approach without dislocating the enormous investments made by previous governments. A good example is how affordable cell phones are in Nigeria these days, compared to petty traders that acquired them in Benin Republic well before us. If we were still waiting for Abiola to complete disruption of roads for land lines, we would still be waiting.
This writer first instinct was to gather most of the solar builders in Nigeria and brain storm with them wishing we could accelerate this technology faster cheaper for the small business traders and the common man in cooperation with average home builders and industries. At the same time, get in contact personally with maker of Tesla cars in United States who is in the budding stage of creating batteries that can be backups and more efficient for homes and industries.
This is no doubt an enormous task for a poor man that has contributed his share in Nigeria as a younger man. We all as individuals, have a God-given task on earth. No one is too poor, young or old to contribute and it is never too late. While some of us can be better teachers, plumbers, writers and instigators, others can take our ideas and run with it. Until ideas, even in budding stages finally get to propagation on a large scale, it is still an idea. There are talents untapped.
Neither solar power not battery power is new in Nigeria. Indeed, there are some homes that are solely powered by either or both. The problem is you have to be rich to afford them. Our capitalist mentality to get rich instantly has created a few billionaires, no doubt. But even in capitalist countries, internet and railway were enabling inventions made possible by the government that propelled commerce for all at a reasonable cost.
On second thought, what technology is Elon Musk, the leader of technology firm Tesla have under the sun that cannot be replicated by Nigerians? The amount of money we have wasted on power generation and steel industries can never be recovered. Our mistake has always been that we are willing to buy these technologies at any cost and import them into Nigeria. The fact is we could have assembled our own scientists like Iran’s nuclear project and worked in “caves”.
In addition to these, are Nigerians in every aspect of sciences, African Europeans and African Americans willing to come home and work with their counterparts the same way they did after the waves of “Back To Africa” Pan Africanism. Some of them help write our constitution under the supervision of local African Youth Movements.
If we could achieve it in politics but fail to do the same in economics, it means there are loose screws somewhere we need to tighten up. This is where adaptation of world sciences comes in. It is not enough to teach science, it must be practical to produce results that can create new telecommunication system, generate electricity and curb our greed for instant gratification.
This instant gratification has led us into false sense of security. The Ebola fatality is an example of what Africans can achieve, even after false start. Nigerians were ready to buy Nano Silver at any cost and even imported some in a country where we have abundant medical scientists that must have known it was nothing but snake oil. Yet politicians did not take advice from their most precious resource before importing READY MADE Solution for Ebola.
It is irrelevant how Africa obtain these technologies: from local or foreign schools, stolen from foreign industries, buy their experts to contribute according to our wishes in the “caves” or ask people of goodwill to come and share their knowledge. There is nothing strange here since most other countries do the same. We have colleges right here in Africa modeled after foreign universities but have never produced a single technology marketable or beneficial to Africa.
We have a bred of leaders whose only pride is how many children they have outside Africa and can afford to skip the Country if Buhari won. This is why Africa is still on its knees. Implication of such statement is huge, though seen as trivial. A man that invested Nigeria’s resources outside so that he could flee with his family to countries where he and his children can be slaughtered legally by police like a lynch mob during the slavery, never had thinking faculty as our leader.
If they are completely detached from home, they will always export whatever they can steal to make themselves comfortable in countries where there are constant flow of electricity for small and big businesses that produce jobs, good roads, comfort inside their homes and cars. Most of the countries that have these comforts can produce additional gadgets and toys for others to buy at their own prices, no matter what they cost to produce them.
As much as this writer believes in individual initiatives without government handouts such as in the Nollywood where young people built on old industry and made billions for themselves, power generation that must touch the average people is a community effort that has dividends in returns for the government in form of taxes and provision of jobs for many.
Indeed, the government has no business in endeavors that individuals can adequately perform. Crowding out individual initiatives, kill entrepreneurial spirits. One of the advantages of solar power is that once it is encouraged on a broader scale, individuals may join and produce their homemade types. Electric companies in Europe and America are so worried about individuals harnessing the power of the sun that they are working arduously for some form of royalties.
God has been so good to us around the equator with abundant energy from the sun and more arable land throughout the year for agriculture, we fail to take advantage of them.