When the Minister of Power says: “All Power belong to God”, I believe as Fela expressed it in one of his Egypt 80 albums “Overtake Don Overtake Overtake [ODOO]”: “the reasons for our suffer e don de show hin face to us”. When everything scatters, it will be as he puts it in his 1975 songs built on instrumental interplay between electric keyboards, horns and other percussion instruments “Everything Scatter” where he says: “before you know, commotion don start, big trouble, big argument, big fight, big everything, commotion de go, commotion de come, fight de start, fight de stop, trouble de turn round and round…”

The matter of solving the electricity problem in Nigeria by way of the privatization of the public utility into the private pockets of cronies is a big thing. Fela saw this coming and he alluded to it in his 1981 album “unknown soldier” when he said: “This thing wey happen, happen for my country. Na big, big, thing. First time in the whole world. If you hear the name, you go know. Government magic. Tell me the name now. Government magic! Them go dabaru everything, them go turn green into white, them go turn red into blue, Water dey go, water dey come. Them go turn electric to candle. Government magic….” For him, it was not all about complaining as he suggested that the abundance of natural resources in Nigeria should put the matter of electricity to rest. In his 1975 song “Water, e no get enemy”, he encouraged hydro power generation from our river basins. Hear him say:”Ko s’ohun to’le se k’o ma lo’mi o, (that is there is nothing you can do without water), ko s’ohun to’le se k’o ma lo’mi o, omi o l’ota o, water, e no get enemy! Water, e no get enemy, omi o l’ota o, I dey talk of Black man power. I say water, e no get enemy”.

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Fela himself asked the pertinent question albeit rhetorically in his famous collection of songs from 1973, 1975 and 1977 but released in 1987 “Black man’s cry”. He asked:“Nijo wo la ma bo o o, l’oko eru? (that is, when will we become free of this NEPA, electricity etc problems?). He was confident of the answer as he said: “A a bo njokan o, eh, l’oko eru, a o bo njokan o o, l’oko eru, a o bo njokan o” There is light at the end of the tunnel afterall!!!

We are all victims of circumstances. Fela, in his Africa 70 series “Swegbe and Pako”, described the problem with the Power Sector when he said: “Tailor wey dey sew like carpenter na Swegbe eh (Na Swegbe oooh), Doctor wey dey do like a Lawyer na Swegbe eh (Na Swegbe oooh), Lawyer wey dey talkie like a Doctor na Swegbe eh (Na Swegbe oooh), Commissioner wey no know him work, na Swegbe eh (Na Swegbe oooh). We don finish for swegbe, now na Pako. Carpenter wey no know him work, na Pako oh (Na Pako oooh), Tailor wey dey sew like Carpenter, na Pako oh (Na Pako oooh), Lawyer wey dey talkie like a Doctor na Pako ohhh (Na Pako oooh), Doctor wey dey do like a Lawyer na Pako oh (Na Pako oooh), Commissioner wey no know him work, na Pako oh (Na Pako oooh). If you be pako, you be swegbe (Na Swegbe oooh).

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If you give, you be pako (Na Pako oooh). Swegbe na swegbe ehh eh (Na Swegbe oooh). Pako na pako oohh (Na Pako oooh). This is the problem with not putting people in their area of specializations when you assign tasks based on quota system.

There is need to take a step back and get the power sector right once and for all and this is a decision Nigerians have to take. Fela in his album “let’s start” first recorded in 1971 and later 1978, says “je ka bere”! Let’s take action!


By Idowu Oyebanjo