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Electricity workers dare Yar’Adua, vow to resist power sector emergency

Posted by By PETER ANOSIKE on 2008/06/18 | Views: 1837 |

Electricity workers dare Yar’Adua, vow to resist power sector emergency


Electricity workers have faulted recent pronouncement by President Umaru Yar’Adua to declare a state of emergency in the power sector next month, insisting that if the president goes ahead to implement the policy, they would stoutly resist it.

Electricity workers have faulted recent pronouncement by President Umaru Yar’Adua to declare a state of emergency in the power sector next month, insisting that if the president goes ahead to implement the policy, they would stoutly resist it.

The workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), decried attempts by successive governments to provide solutions to Nigeria’s epileptic power supply without seeking the input of workers and other professionals in the sector.

Such government attitude, the workers said, had failed to yield positive dividends for Nigeria, and hence should be resisted.
General Secretary of NUEE, Mr. Joe Ajaero, said President Yar’Adua was ignorant of the happenings in the power sector, as workers, for the last nine years, have been working under emergency situation.

He said: "Currently, we are working under emergency. As workers, we have had no salary increase, no promotion, and there has been embargo on employment.
"For us, we have been working under emergency situations for a long time and any attempt to extend that emergency situation would be resisted by us."
He said that the workers had listened to the comments of the president on the emergency he has in mind, adding that unless Yar’Adua carried the human resource along, every effort he makes on the power sector would fail.

Ajaero noted that the president might go down in history as one of the leaders who made pronouncements before thinking, adding that Yar’Adua had said that he would declare a national state of emergency on the power sector even before he came to power, only to stay action on it.
On the $5 billion the presidency earmarked for the sector, Ajaero said that the money would not be enough to repair existing power stations let alone build new ones.

According to him, sooner than later, the power stations working in the country would collapse, because since the present administration came, it has not done maintenance work on any of the power stations.
His words: "What are we going to do with $5 billion? It will not even be enough to repair existing power stations. I want to state categorically that soon, all the power stations in the country will collapse, because since the president came to power, there has not been any maintenance work in any power station. We have been battling over gas, but the truth is that even if you supply all the gas in the world without maintaining the power stations, they will collapse. Before long, if he fails to maintain the power stations, they will collapse.

"So, is the $5 billion to maintain the existing power stations or to build a new one or to complete the ones that Obasanjo said he started? If he completes it, is it to build transmission network or to build distribution points? I don’t know what the money is for."

Ajaero said bringing money into the energy sector was not the problem but how to achieve the desired goal. He said that without energy master plan all the efforts would be in vain.
"As at today, he is still the Minister of Mines and Power. The other person is Minister for State and incidentally the woman is alien to the system. We, the highest leadership of the union have not met her and she does not even know the machines. If the minister in a sector does not know the people in the sector and does not know the machine then it means there is no minister in that sector.

That is the clear message. People are talking of state of emergency, while nobody has met us the stakeholders in the sector. Nobody is communicating with us, yet someone assumes to be the minister. I think we don’t have a minister."

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