Nigerian Youths Stand Up Against Lack of Power Supply
by Ebele Chizea
Published on Mon, Oct 19 2009 by Ebele Chizea
Bronx, NewYork: You are watching a soccer game and your adrenaline is aiming for the ceiling. Your team is about to get one in the net, then you hear a zipping sound followed by darkness. This is a common trend in Nigeria, one of the top oil producers in the world. Yet the country still has problems supplying power. In Nigeria, be prepared to go for several hours a day without access to a functioning fridge, television, radio and other appliances that require electricity to function unless you have a generator. This issue is not only a pain in the “you know what,” it is also bad for business in the economic sense. Millions of naira is lost every year due to a malfunctioning 21st century necessity.
The experience of power shortage led a group of young Nigerians in the Diaspora and at home to start an organization known as Light Up Nigeria. The impact that the organization has had in such a short time cannot be undermined. In just a few months, they have been able to appear on numerous television news programs including a 3 minute CNN feature on World Business Today Show. On the weekend of October 1st, to mark Nigeria’s 49 years of independence, peaceful protests were held in London, New York City and Lagos, Nigeria.
Light Up Nigeria has a list of demands that they expect the government to accomplish by 2015. One of them is the installation of 300 watts per capita by 2015 in a country where the average family uses less than 7 watts.
Currently, the movement has 20,000 members on Facebook and several thousands on twitter. The sheer size and magnitude of the movement and the exposure it has generated thus far, signals that the organization is not going away any time soon. Many consider complacency and lack of initiative to be Nigeria’s biggest flaw. Yet Light Up Nigeria proves that a mass united front, if persistent, can generate change. Hopefully, the corrupt officials who are responsible for the mismanagement of Nigeria’s resources and power supply will respond to the demands of the younger generation. A Nigeria without light is a Nigeria at the risk of greater socio-economic turmoil for several years to come.