Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Like New Orleans, Like Nigeria By Onyekaba N. Charles
When on Saturday, 9th February, 2013, the game between Manchester United and Fulham at Craven Cottage was delayed, due to the unusual power outage , there was so much unrest and panic in the stadium. The players and fans were lost as to what would have been responsible and probably how long it will take before it will be addressed, while the officials and management who seemed completely embarrassed ran 'helter-skelter' to address the issue. Credits to them, it took them just 9 minutes to proffer solution to the problem, yet the next morning all the Sunday tabloids in the UK captured the incident, some even went as far as terming it "embarrassing and disgraceful" not just to the English Premier League whose TV audience is over 4.7 billion but also to UK as a whole.
The drama that followed the events at London continued the next day in far off New Orleans, where half the super-dome at the Super bowl went dark. That, according to Greg Bishop of New York Times was among the oddest moments in super bowl history. As was in London, there was panic; fans were glued to their seats, players remained in the field and it took 35 minutes of consultations and work from the officials and representatives from the electric company before the power was restored. As expected, this incident made all the headlines in the States on a Monday morning where investigation continued without definitive answers.
In the days that followed, I have watched with keen interest as events unfold and I have subsequently read many online articles on the two incidents. While some analyst have even compared both events in many ways, the one comparison that has interested most Nigerians is that of CNN's Christiane Amanpour who made a mock comparison of "America's 35 minutes of power outage to Nigeria's 52 years of darkness." According to her, while the audience worldwide waited patiently for the power to be restored in the Super bowl incident, many Nigerians took to the Social media to react sarcastically:
"power outage at super bowl on Sunday, Nigeria doesn't look dark anymore" tweeted one Nigerian, while another tweeted: "if they had super bowl in Nigeria, the power coming back would be the real surprise."
CNN's Christiane Amanpour who happened to be the first international journalist to interview President Goodluck Jonathan after his resumption to office in April, 2010 (a conversation which had focus on the epidemic of power outages in the country) would have probably been so shocked that she did a TV documentary with highlights on President Jonathan's comments on another interview early this year with and the subsequent reactions of Nigerians who expressed their anger, frustrations and even called Jonathan a "Liar". In the interview conducted on 23rd January this year, when asked about the state of power supply in the Nation, the president replied: " That is one area where Nigerians are quite pleased with the government – that our commitment to improve power is working,” he said. “I promise you before the end of this year, power outages will be reasonably stable in Nigeria.”
Even though I won't to be drawn into the controversy, it is obvious that the truth of the matter lies in the president's "definition of the words : "pleased" and commitment" especially when the statistics from the country's concession regulatory commission shows that 60 percent of Nigerians are still without power access. It might also interest you to know that Jonathan allegedly paid US 60,000 dollars for that interview. While you reflect on whether power supply has improved remarkably in your area in the last 3 years of Jonathan's administration to match his bragging rights, I will sit here and imagine what the said interview money (US 60,000 dollars) and other monies stolen by our corrupt politicians/Pension chiefs would have done to justify Jonathan claims of "commitment" to improving the epidemic power supply in the country.
Onyekaba N. Charles is an architect and a creative writer. He is author of “Swinging Emotions: the poetry of my youth” (Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.charleyrosu.wordpress.com)
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters