Since coming to power, Nigerian President Yar'Adua has consistently committed his administration to solving the epileptic state of the nation's power supply. Yar'Adua named 2011 as the year when Nigerians will have reliable power supply. Over the last 2 years, there have been reports on plans to use solar energy and build a $10 million solar energy plant. There have been announcements by the government that it will harness the vast reserves of liquid natural gas (LNG) to remedy the power shortages. But, it seems the government believes that one of the most effective ways to generate sufficient power is through coal and the rhetoric on coal as a power solution continues to increase.
YAR'ADUA'S INITIAL COMMITMENT TO COAL
In April 2008, amidst the 'power probe scandal', the Yar'Adua administration formally announced its intent to use coal power. At that time, the then-Minister of Mines & Steel Development, Sarafa Tunji Isola,indicated that the nation was being wooed by Australian investors, Chinese and Indian mining interests in the hope of developing the nation's mining industry. The Minister also stated that the federal government studied other coal powered countries, such as South Africa and Canada, to ensure that internationally accepted practices and standards would be adopted and observed by Nigeria's mining industry.
2009 - MORE TALK OF COAL POWER
On May 7th, 2009, the new Minister of Mines & Steel Development, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, reiterated the federal government's commitment to developing coal as a power solution. At a meeting with Stanbic Bank where she addressed a future collaboration with the bank and her ministry, the Alison-Madueke said,
"We have worked very hard to put together strategic coal clusters over the last few months and this is very necessary because we want to make sure we have clusters which are strategically positioned to supply the right quantum of coal output so as to give us the right output in terms of megavoltage" [sic].WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
While Alison-Madueke's statement is not immediately decipherable, apart from stating a clear commitment to coal, it is clear that Nigeria must diversify its power-generation portfolio. The reliance on oil and hydroelectric dams have proven insufficient for the nation's energy needs either as a result of corruption or shortages/disruptions in oil and water supply. An American company, Western goldfields Inc., has discovered 62,400,000 metric tonnes of proven coal reserves, worth $1.2 billion (about N165 billion) in Enugu State. The use of coal in some parts of the country would therefore, be a beneficial use of natural resources for power generation.
Considering that neighborhoods in Lugbe, Abuja, and all over the country continue to go for weeks at a time without electricity, one can only wait to see how Yar'Adua will turn coal power into a reality. Especially considering that he will soon have to run for re-election in the next Presidential elections in 2011. However, whether or not he accomplishes the goal of improved power supply, will likely not affect his ability to win re-election if he chooses to run.
Please take the time to read the short article - 'Ekiti Elections: A Review' - which reviews the Nigerian blogosphere's discussion of the election. It includes comments/opinions from new and established Nigerian bloggers, as well as references to opinions shared by some Nigerian users of Twitter.
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