Power: Fashola Believes Things Are Getting Better
One issue that hurts most Nigerians is power generation and distribution with many wondering why the job of fixing power in the country has been combined with the ministry of Works and Housing for just one man.
However, the Minister in charge of all of these, Mr Babatunde Fashola, does not feel he is overwhelmed by the burden of managing three portfolios in the Buhari government.
He believes he has made great progress in line with what his party promised when they danced across the states begging for votes.
“We have delivered the first independent solar power, that was a problem that was unsolved when we came into government; we solved it.
“We have expanded the grid capacity to almost 7,000 megawatts carrying capacity. So, there are challenges across.
“Even people who are generating their own electricity at home, their generators break down. So, there are maintenance issues (and) we are dealing with them," he said.
What the party promised Nigerians is that they would “vigorously pursue the expansion of electricity generation and distribution of up to 40,000 megawatts in four to eight years” but almost two years in office, much improvement has not been seen.
But Fashola would not accept any talk of failure being attributed to him or the APC government.
“We asked to do this job and we think we are doing a better job in managing this economy. The results haven’t yet hit speed level but they are becoming obviou,” he argued.
He blamed some of the backward motion on vandalism and other societal issues.
He said: “You cannot continue to complain that you don’t have water to drink if every time they fill the pitcher of water with water, you break it and the water spills away.
“You can’t continue to break gas pipelines and say you don’t have power. It just doesn’t accord with common sense. People who want power don’t damage power assets.”
But was he or the APC not aware of these challenges before assuming office? Or where they just not as prepared as they claimed?
“It was easy to foresee people breaking pipeline (since) it was a long issue that has been long enduring for years and those are some of the things that led to the deal to grant an amnesty but they were largely pipelines where people could get an economic reward.
“There was a pecuniary understanding and context to that 'if we break this pipeline we can get crude and there’s a market to sell it; we can get some petrol, diesel or kerosene'.
“But there is no pecuniary benefit known to me just to break a gas pipeline because you cannot harness the gas and you can’t resell it.
“So, it is just simple and pure sabotage for the purpose of ensuring that government doesn’t achieve its objective but in the end, Nigerians will see that our methods (in managing the economy) are better.”
Mr Fashola spoke on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.