Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Witches, Demons, and Power Outage By Leo Igwe
It was shocking to read that a former University Vice Chancellor, Prof Nebo attributed the cause of power outage in Nigeria to ‘witches and demons’. Witches and demons? Nebo made the declaration at a screening session on the floor of the Senate. According to him, ‘“Some highly placed Nigerians believe that when there is outage, it is caused by witches and demons.’ I mean this is incredible. Nebo did not specify who these so called ‘highly placed Nigerians’ were.
“If the President deploys me in the power sector’, he declared at the screening session, ‘I believe that given my performance at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, where I drove out the witches and demons, God will also give me the power to drive out the demons in the power sector.”
It was a great disappointment to read this ‘amatuer sermon’ as Nebo’s diagnosis of the cause of power outage in the country and how he testified to his achievement as a University Vice Chancellor. Attributing the challenges in the power sector to witches and demons is utterly meaningless. It is a clear indication that he had no idea of the problems at stake and what the solutions would be.
The screening session was really an opportunity for him to demonstrate his knowledge of the issues, articulate these challenges in very clear terms, and then tell the Senate Committee how he would address them. But he blew away the opportunity. Nebo did not give any clue at all of how he would tackle these problems in the power sector. I mean what does driving out the demons from the power sector mean? Is he a faith healer? Was he being nominated to be a minister or an exorcist?
Definitely, this is not a kind of statement one expects from an intellectual and scholar on how to go about addressing the critical challenges in the power sector. Nebo does not give one any hope that he has some meaningful contribution to make in this important sector of the Nigerian economy.