THE MISSION TO LIGHT UP NIGERIA

Monday, April 20, 2009

When current President Yar'Adua came to power in May 2007, he declared a state of emergency due to the nation's failed power sector and he soon issued an 18 month ultimatum on power. This declaration spurred probes by both sections of the National Assembly which revealed much corruption and ineptitude to the tune of $10-16 billion. Yar'Adua went on to promise that by December 2009, power generation would increase to 6000MW. Despite the money spent, and a March 2009 promise by the Minister of Power that the 6000MW goal was "feasible and realistic", Nigerians continue to go for days and sometimes, weeks, without power and have now been conveniently informed that the Federal Government would not reach its promised goal of an additional 6000MW by December 2009 because of the growing militancy situation. In an effort to express frustration and demand consistent electricity supply, many Nigerians have taken to the Light Up Nigeria initiative and are using web 2.0 media such as Twitter.com and Facebook to speak up for their right to light.

ANOTHER BROKEN 'PROMISE'
This new retraction of a promise by Nigeria's federal government is simply one of many promises this administration has unfortunately failed to keep. The most recent of which is the promise to name Nigerians involved in the Halliburton scandal by a specified deadline which has come and gone with much posturing form the government. These broken promises illustrate why the Light Up Nigeria (LUN) campaign is crucial. In a country where the government is mostly unaccountable to the people, a campaign such as LUN can help provide hope for those who have given up on their government and no longer believe that individuals can effect change. This complacency stems from the well understood reality that public office is not gained through free and fair elections, thus making it hard for citizens to force politicians to focus on the needs of constituents. This, coupled with the reality that the federal government does not rely on tax income from citizens, further accentuates the Nigerian government's historical ability to ignore the needs of the majority for the greed of the few. Nevertheless, Light Up Nigeria can reinforce and restore a sense of national ownership within individuals that will galvanize a collective effort to resolve the power problem.

LIGHT UP NIGERIA - THE PROMISE THAT MUST BE KEPT
The LUN initiative has inspired a burning desire in many participants who are demanding consistent electricity and less reliance on diesel generators. It must not die the death of many other initiatives which started with the best of intentions but failed to maximize upon their success (the 2007 Nigerian Proclamation, being one of them).

Consequently, long and short term planning is essential for transforming this rallying cry into one that can generate concrete results. In the short term, it is imperative that Nigerians be educated about their right to light. From this perspective, LUN can act as not just a demand for fundamental rights, but as an educational campaign. Education will help lower the level of complacency and acceptance by many that there is little to be done to overcome the incessant power shortages, and garner the public support that will give LUN a lasting impact. On that note, the organizers must find a way to reach Nigerians who do not have electricity, do not use the internet, or watch television. The easiest way to do that is usually via religious and cultural organizations. Spreading the word that all Nigerians, regardless of tribe, religion or income have a right to light will increase awareness on the problem and create a larger group of potential supporters who will hopefully be empowered to go on to demand electricity from their representatives.

State Government: The question remains how exactly will those officials responsible for power generation be convinced to do their jobs? To address that issue, a multi-pronged approach to dealing with Nigerian leaders will be needed. Pressure can be placed on both state and federal government leaders to effect change. State governors can be pressured to provide power. Certain states such as Lagos are reportedly working on creating a power grid independent of the non-functioning federal government grid. Unfortunately, Lagos State has had plans for a state-specific power grid since at least 1979 according to World Bank records, and this significant lapse in the creation of a functioning power grid indicates that pressure must be placed on its governor to solve the state's power problems. That same approach can be duplicated in some states and the level of success will depend on the level of corruption and/or accountability each state administration has to the citizens.

Additionally, there are states such as Jigawa which have previously taken advantage of alternative energy models such as that presented by the Solar Energy Light Fund (SELF). According to this writer's discussion with the organization, the solar project, accompanying skills, plans and materials left behind at the end of the project were not replicated to benefit other parts of Jigawa State by follow-up governors. Such programs have already been created in various states and require public pressure for governors to take advantage of them for the benefit of citizens. These alternative energy sources allow states to somewhat overcome reliance on the non-functioning federal energy grid.
Federal Government & Elected Officials: Regarding elected officials at the federal level, pressure to provide power will likely require a focused and consistent series of peaceful public protests that should involve civic society, businesses, students and all others interested in effecting change. This tool should especially be used if the December 2009 deadline for 6000MW is indeed not reached as the federal government is now promising. Considering that Yar'Adua has seemingly shut the door to discourse and proudly declared that his administration "will not join hands with those critics... [or] be distracted by abuses thrown at its doorstep", those truly interested in effecting change will have to make some hard strategic decisions. Peaceful protests in front of the Senate, House of Representatives, the Energy Commission for Nigeria, Ministry of Power and other key institutions might be the only way to get the President and others to realize that the people have had enough broken promises and demand that which is rightfully theirs considering the abundant energy sources the country is blessed with.

President Yar'Adua: Electricity should be the main yardstick by which President Yar'Adua is judged. However, because the nation's electoral process does not guarantee a say in determining one's representatives, simply suggesting that citizens not vote for the incumbent in a Presidential election would prove worthless. Therefore, a prospective non-vote could be an effective tool in the 2011 elections to clearly express the need for leaders who not only work hard to solve problems but engage the citizenry, including critics, instead of throwing citizen journalists and bloggers in jail. If the power situation does not improve by then, and there is little evidence of prospective progress, then discouraging a large majority of Nigerians from voting will not only be an embarrassment to the nation's leaders but could force a frank, non-corrupt approach to solving the nation's power problems once and for all.

SHORT TERM STRATEGIES APLENTY
The above are a few possible long term strategies that LUN can apply but any long term approach must include short term strategies as well. Such short term strategies can be as simple as getting all supporters of the initiative to wear black (representing the lack of electricity) on a specific Friday or every last Friday of every month until there is progress. Also, the initiative can become larger on Facebook and on blogs with a simple request for supporters to write a post and share on their blogs or the note section of their Facebook pages. As was the case with the Nigerian Proclamation, a singular header/headline can be used by all participants to symbolize the collective request that President Yar'Adua and other concerned parties cooperate for the nation's benefit. Supporters should also be encouraged to discuss the matter everywhere - at their church groups, civic/religious gatherings, in online forums and anywhere that others suffering the fate of lack of electricity gather. A push to get more online supporters to change their avatars/pictures to one representative of the LUN initiative could also go a long way to develop interest among those who are yet to learn about the campaign. Regular evening meetings around the country where participants gather in a neighborhood with no electricity and bring their torchlights, lanterns or other light sources could also help to keep the attention on the initiative in the local and international press, while spreading the word about the campaign. Highlighting areas where local and state government manage to provide regular electricity could also put pressure on underperforming officials. The sale of official clothing items, related books, music albums and other merchandise will not only raise funds for a committee that will spearhead things, but keep the initiative visible and allow its reach to spread further than Nigeria's shores. These and many other practical tools can be used to keep the campaign going.

Light Up Nigeria has proven to be successful at gaining attention online (as evidenced by the more than 6000 group members on Facebook), on television (with artist Eldee doing a television interview on the subject), in the traditional press and on blogs around the world. It is time to follow up on this success with a combination of short and long term strategies that will help this campaign become not only an educational tool but an instrument of change that can affect millions of Nigerians, not just those currently aware of the initiative. LUN will face major challenges to its quest for progress, but a smart strategy will maximize the current ability to create awareness with the capacity to apply pressure in the right places. That will achieve the ultimate goal of a nation where children no longer need candles to do their homework, hospitals have the power necessary to treat patients, the federal government does not have to budget $2 billion for the purchase of generators and diesel and Nigeria's ability to transform into a more prosperous country becomes an unquestionable reality. #lightupnigeria could be the revolution so many supporters believe it to be and together, Nigeria can do it.

So what do you think about the #lightupnigeria initiative? Do you have ideas on how to make it successful? What ideas do you have on the issue of power generation which is a problem faced by not only Nigeria but other African countries?

UPDATE: Please read the follow up piece to this one titled, "Smart Grids For Nigeria's Energy Woes"


To see what Nigerians and others are saying in support of the Light Up Nigeria initiative, please visit www.lightupnigeria.org. Or visit the Facebook page for more information. You can participate by using the #lightupnigeria hashtag on Twitter or anyother social media site you frequent.

The Light Up Nigeria list (will expand)
- Light Up Nigeria (Adesoji Adegbulu)
- Lighup Nigeria (Agegelabs)
- Light it up... (Pyoowata)
- #lightupnigeria - Twitter as a Force of Change (Archiwiz)
- Lightupnigeria - The Revolution Has Begun (Bisi)
- Light Up Nigeria: Enough Is Enough (Global Voices)
- Dear World, We Chose to Light Up (Nigerians Talk; Nneoma)
- LightUp Nigeria! (Adebayo)
- #lightupnigeria how? (Elcij)


From the Archives:
- Smart Grids For Nigeria's Energy Woes
- More Solar Energy Plans
- Solar Energy Plans
- Could Coal Be A Power Solution For Nigeria
- Nigeria Is Full Of Gas
- Power Blackouts Loom Across Nigeria
- Nigerian Power Scandal: Authority Stealing
- Who Will Develop Nigeria?
- Who Will Develop Nigeria Pt. 2




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Olamild said...

LightupNigeria

nneoma said...

nne, this post roooooocked!!!
it is like you were in my head with the wearing black thing.
You have covered several things, but I will highlight a few that I particularly liked...
In regards to awareness, education is key. Any sane (even mad) Nigerian is "aware" that there is a power crisis in Nigeria and that our provision of power is abnormal. Demanding electricity as a basic human right is an innovative agenda. For far too long, we have depended on outside NGOs (I promise not to mention "the West" in my comments) and organizations to define what is our fundamental right. Well, I am elated that Nigerians are defining what duly belongs to them - a government that is accountable to the promises you outlined.

Additionally, a two-prong focus on both national and local governments are necessary. Besides liasing with cultural/religious groups, partnerships with individual leaders (senators, representatives) would be great. If the campaign can identify a cohort of willing representatives at different levels of governance that would increase their influence arm (their mission is two fold - increase awareness and increase unity of voice/purpose). It would be a win-win situation. Of course, LUN should not be unnecessary entangled with any one particular leader or candidate - but it should highlight those who are in-step with its goals (bad example, but similar to anti-abortion groups who pass out placards during election years about which officials are for or against their platforms).

There are so many other things you mentioned that were on-point....I think my primary concern is that I would hate to see the momentum of the campaign wane before LUN is able to centralise its operations. Over the past few days, I number of people have expressed concern that they would like to know more about the campaign, how they can help etc. Of course, for the general population, pointing them to a facebook page is adequate, but I think that more influence can be garnered web presence that is more centralised and easily accessible by other groups etc. When I first heard of #lightupnigeria, i literally felt like I was collecting material for a research paper since information was distributed at various sites... again personal opinion....hopefully with time, this situation will be rectified...

Question, where can I find more info about the Nigerian proclamation....like I always say, you can't move forward without a thorough understanding of the past.

I am sorry if my comments are repeats of your post...Most of my comments were for the sake of muscle memory, so that I can keep in mind what I just typed and the awesome viewpoints you shared....

Beauty said...

"Considering that Yar'Adua has seemingly shut the door to discourse and proudly declared that his administration "will not join hands with those critics" Where are you going with this? There are so many issues here that their dependencies need entity relationship diags to connect them. Just like @nneoma above, education is key. Yardy's lot see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, do no evil as their collect wisdom continues to ruin Nigeria. How does one reason with them? #lightupnigeria as the MEND simple minds set Nigeria on fire!

OSIZE said...

I said this before and I am going to say it again. I do not get this stuff. What is the goal? When all you have is a hammer all problems start to look like a nail. This is abuse of social media awareness as far as I am concerned borderline spamming. I have taken to dropping people I am following if I see that hashtag in my stream too frequently.
It is even more dangerous to assume that social media exercises like this make an impact because then we can fold our hand and ignore the doing part. There isn't a dearth of awareness about Nigeria's power situation so what awareness is being raised. Not all problems will be solved by more awareness. It is time to do. Nigerians please start doing stuff.
Nigerians know how bad the power situation is, we moan about it on a daily basis, foreigns can not be bothered by our power situations, so why bother them with this hashtag ( I wouldn't care about the power situation in Mauritania either).
If the goal is to shame the leaders into acting. You better think again , this is Nigeria. I know this may tick a few off, but project do need to have deliverables. Here I do not see one.

Anonymous said...

Errr.. forgive my apparent denseness but how exactly does pressure on Facebook and Twitter change anything on ground? If the argument that expressing displeasure is better than doing nothing then perhaps I can see the point but in terms of real change on the ground, I just don't see how this is going to translate into anything tangible.

IF, and that is a BIG IF, some of the strategies you have outlined can transfer some of the online energy into tangible action on the ground, there might be some hope not of meeting the end of year targets - the initial announcement was a knee-jerk reaction in my opinion - but of actually generating some momentum towards changing things....

I wonder though, if push came to shove and people were required to hit the streets to show their displeasure, how many of the tweeting or Face-booking public would actually heed a call, or if indeed there is a central voice on ground in Nigeria around which people could rally.....

I hate to sound dismissive... Or cynical... Just that I don't get how Facebook or Twitter or a website = action

db

Cee said...

Okay Cee, what do you propose. You say Nigerians should start doing something? What can we do about the light situation. Please if you down an idea and are able to come up with its flaws and diasdvantages then you should be able to formulate another. What do you suggest we do? How can Nigerians get involved practically with the light situation?

Cee said...

Sorry, that should have read okay Osize,...

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

@ Olamild: my sista, that is the prayer. Thanks so much for swinging by!

@ Nneoma: Thanks so much for taking the time to consider the suggestions I made. Per the Nigerian Proclamation, I will send you the necessary information.

Education is key to this initiative. It will require commitment and time, but the rewards will be insurmountable. Dealing with willing representatives can also help but must be done to ensure that actual benefits are achieved for the initiative and not simply the elected officials reputation, a problem that is far too common.

I definitely agree with you that the momentum LUN is currently enjoying mist not wane. Unfortunately, it is hard to keep people's attention, but with hardwork and commitment it is is indeed possible.

Thank you so much for taking the time to think through these suggestions. Please share this post with as many as possible, if you can. Thanks!

@ Beauty: "Yardy's lot see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, do no evil as their collect wisdom continues to ruin Nigeria. How does one reason with them? #lightupnigeria as the MEND simple minds set Nigeria on fire!"

Well, I don't think I can add to that. But will venture to mention that by throwing MEND into the mix, expect to get some serious responses, here or somewhere else. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I truly appreciate it.

@ Osize: I think, actually, I know you didn't read the post. But, your concerns are the very ones that this post tried to address, hence the incredible length to it. I know long posts are hard to finish and apologize to you and anyone else that would have preferred something shorter, but this simply had to be done this way.

Trust me, your concerns have been shared with the organizers repeatedly, and as such, I am simply trying to make suggestions on how to turn the initiative into something concrete that produces results.

Nice to see you around these parts.

@ db: your cynicism is valid. As I mentioned in the post, other online initiatives have failed because they have not been converted to produce clear visible results. That in effect only increases dissolution even amongst the most well meaning individuals.

However, the reality is that these online/word of mouth/ television initiatives are just as important for change as the other strategies that you prefer - taking to the streets etc. Please note that I clarified the lack of real democracy in the post. I did that to highlight that traditional options such as voting out incumbents remains an illusive option in Nigeria. As such, I suggested peaceful street protests (emphasis on peaceful) and a non-vote option if necessary in 2011.

That being said, this post is simply my suggestions for how this small initiative can take advantage of its momentum and potentially effect change. If you have other ideas, you know I am open to hearing them because ultimately I hope to learn from as many as possible. But, I strongly believe that these germane movements created by Nigerians could be instrumental to changing Nigeria. I, like others, am trying to figure out how. Hopefully, you will share your visions on how to accomplish change irregardless of the fact that Nigeria has a government that some believe stands in the way of progress. We have to figure this out, because we can't wait for those who run Nigeria and maintain the status quo to change. If they haven't done it yet, what else but the people can make it happen?

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and I hope you will engage further in discussion.

justdoyin said...

Just read a similar post on adesoji's blog...all I'll say now is may the initiative be a success, and a HUGE one too..Amen!

For the love of me said...

I didn't read the whole of it, will have to come back but I am happy about LUP, it may not do much but at least Nigerians are speaking up. I have always believed that it is our siddon look attitude that makes these leaders do as they please. I understand that DAYSTAR church is planning a peaceful protest to Fashola's office to demand for power, more like to protest the law that stops anyone from producing more than 10,000 megawatts of electricity witout joining the NEPA.(i am not very sure about this so please do not quote me but I have been trying to understand why electricity can't just be treated like telecommuincations and I am discovering that there are laws that prohibit it so first of all, we must strive to change that law.)

For the love of me said...

I didn't read the whole of it, will have to come back but I am happy about LUP, it may not do much but at least Nigerians are speaking up. I have always believed that it is our siddon look attitude that makes these leaders do as they please. I understand that DAYSTAR church is planning a peaceful protest to Fashola's office to demand for power, more like to protest the law that stops anyone from producing more than 10,000 megawatts of electricity witout joining the NEPA.(i am not very sure about this so please do not quote me but I have been trying to understand why electricity can't just be treated like telecommuincations and I am discovering that there are laws that prohibit it so first of all, we must strive to change that law.)

sokari said...

Osize has a good point - where does this go. 90% of the country does not have access to Twitter etc so dont even know this is happening! Those that do probably cant get access because there is no light or they cant buy fuel for their generators because there isnt any - MEND has blown it all up! Personally the one way to get things changed in Nigeria is to hit the country where it hurts - ie MONEY! Until Nigerians come out on the streets - (doubtful as they will all be shot by their brothers in the armed forces and MOPO) I cant see much change happening. Like one blogger said - if you want change then get rid of YARDY and the old chronies -elections are coming up. Vote for those who really will bring changes including electricity. Maybe MEND's lighting up the country will make people realise they cannot rely on generators and start to protest within the country. We in the diaspora can only do so much. I spoke to some relatives over the weekend - all have internet but none had heard of lightupnigeria - they thought i was mad! sorry to be so negative because this is really an excellent post but it has to be an on the ground campaign within the country for it to even begin to dent those doggerheads in government.

peace

OSIZE said...

@cee I suggest first we stop the feel good-i-have-done-something-movement. So that our guilt at least will remain intact. Then vote and standby and fight for your vote next election. third stop singing the praise of phony rich men in Nigeria. I don't subscribe to violence, but we are at war here with leadership that seek to maintain power not by the goodwill of the people but by old times stunts. I can totally see why some may want to sabotage all the generators in Nigeria, especially those at government installation. That we can do. oops.
@solomonsydelle, you got me, I really did not read it, I mostly siezed the oppourtunity to express my displeasure. It was there anyway and you provided the platform. You and I have been here and I know you more than anybody know what I am talking about. Re proclamation re: lighthouse.
@sokari thank you, all I ask for is two tangible goals, this scourge ain't no tuberculosis for which awareness has to be raised, it is worse.

STAN said...

I would give LUN top marks for trying. But please NEVER SUGGEST that Nigerians sit back at home as a form of protest to shame this government. Frankly that line of reasoning simply means LETS GIVE UP ON THIS NATION. And we won't. Rather tell them to vote,vote make sure it's counted,come out and protest if you are shamelesslesly robbed. And even though you might fail again and again,tarry still. And one day,soon and very soon,it shall come to pass.I BELIEVE

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

@ Cee: "What do you suggest we do? How can Nigerians get involved practically with the light situation?"

Ultimately, these are the questions we have to ask ourselves because clearly, those who control Nigeria have not felt the need to make any changes so waiting for them to do so, seems foolhardy. We have to discuss amongst ourselves online and offline how to circumvent those who benefit from keeping the rest of us in darkness.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts.

@ justdoyin: I equally wish the organizers the best of luck, but caution that the initiative must chase reasonable goals inorder to not create situation were disillusion sets in.

Thanks so much for swinging by.

@ FTLOM: Madam, good to see you around these parts. Like you I believe it is crucial for victims to speak up against those that oppress them, even if it appears there is no tangible hope of changing things. Just my opinion. Nevertheless, I hope that the organizers of LUN can find a way to transform this initiative to something that creates tangible results of some sort, which is why I mentioned education as the first ingredient to any future offline plans. Only time will tell where this will lead, but I sincerely hope for the best.

Thanks for swinging by!

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

@ Sokari: Yes, it is clear that from an organizational standpoint there is much lacking with regard to LUN, but like I mentioned to someone today, many initiatives start very small and all of a sudden gather momentum. The key is for those involved to recognize the need to get help from those with more experience so as to collaborate for mutual benefit.

As to LUN, I choose to encourage those who I believe have good intentions. Consequently, I took the time, with no potential benefit, to share suggestions on how things could possibly work.

While I understand the frustration some readers have with the initiative, and believe that cynicism is quite frankly healthy, I will say that I hope we can all find a way to think through the key issue - finding a way to get Nigerians to say "we no go 'gree" because if we as a people do not emphatically work together to circumvent those who clearly have no interest in changing thins (i.e. government and its peers), then the time people like yourself and other very well respected thinkers/activists have spent writing and doing will be for not, no?

As to your point about getting rid of Yardy, how do you propose that happens? I am of the opinion that even if Yardy is removed, he will be replaced by another incapable individual. Nigeria's 'presidency' is not really where the magic happens, in my opinion. As such, I recommended in this post the "no-vote" option. Would like to know your opinion on that if and when you have the time.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and share your opinions. As always, your take is always appreciated and i only hope that in time we can channel our passions into creating clear change in the country so many of us love. thanks!

@ Oz: uncle this one way you dey spit fyah so, abeg make you no vex. Again, I do not question the expression of your "displeasure". At the end of the day, cynicism, criticism helps refine ideas and even refocus efforts. I specifically mentioned the inability to transform the momentum from Nigerian Proclamation in this post. I didn't mention Lighthouse, however because I believe the individuals who worked on that project were stand up Nigerians and I would not in any way want to blemish their hard work. I am willing to take all and every blame for Nigerian Proclamation hitting a brick wall and as such relied on that example.

As i mentioned in my previous response to your comment, "I am simply trying to make suggestions on how to turn the initiative into something concrete that produces results." I truly believe that Nigerians have to force the change they want to see and must take strategic action to get the results they seek. As such, I focused on the importance of taking this initiative beyond the internet and to civic societies, religious groups and other means of communication that do not rely on electricity to 'educate' and empower Nigerians to demand their fundamental rights to electricity. Without constant electricity, Nigeria will never advance. I already know you agree, we have spent hours talking about related issues and am confident on your opinion on that issue (unless your ideas have recently changed).

Nevertheless, I think we are spending too much time arguing without considering the suggested ideas, and so I will stop here. If you do not like the approaches I suggested, I can respect that. If I am misunderstanding where you stand on things, well, hopefully, I'll get it right next time.

Hope all is well with you and yours. Stay well. Thanks.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

@ STAN: Thanks for swinging by. Now, I see you disagree with my "no vote" option. You said, "that line of reasoning simply means LETS GIVE UP ON THIS NATION. And we won't. Rather tell them to vote,vote make sure it's counted,come out and protest if you are shamelesslesly robbed." [sic]

Okay, first off, I do not believe that a no-vote option signifies surrender. After the 2007 elections which even Yardy admitted were flawed, and the recent Ekiti election wahala, I can't help but suspect that the next round of major elections will be a repeat. Of course, I could be wrong, and desperately hope so. But, in the event that the lead up to elections suggests that voting results will be manipulated, I do not think it is smart to simply encourage people to go through the same motions of voting in an election where their vote might not count. Again, I say this while noting that my fears of future tampered elections could be wrong.

Nevertheless, I do not disagree that people should go out and vote and if, as you mention, voting is tampered with, they protest. yet, sometimes, people need t do something different. Doing the same thing over and over not only gets boring, it gets predictable. As such, I thought it important to raise a different strategy.

Thank you for sharing your opinion. I join you in believing in Nigeria. Stay well!

sokari said...

@SS - Absolutely from small things do big things grow and this is as good a start as we have ever had in terms of citizens saying "we no go gree" - the point I was trying to emphasise though is that folks at home need to be on board too and how to get the message across which i think was also Osize's point - though he sounds very vexed about the whole campaign.

Please dont get me wrong - I 100% support what the LUN campaign is trying to do and yes we all can play a part eg like inform people back home - imagine if we all tell at least one person and they make a batch of flyers with "LIGHT UP NIGERIA" and they start appearing all over the damn country in every language = just stuck up with glue or tape - graffiti on the walls - bits of paper handed to people. A huge mass movement - wow am I dreaming or what ! lol but it is possible no????

As for Yardy - quote "if you want change then get rid of YARDY and the old chronies -elections are coming up." in other words the whole damn bunch of doggerheads need to be swept away and that is up to the Nigerian voters - that has to be the mission - imagine another 4 yrs of this old school shit? I think we need to think about what sort of part we can all play not just with SM but with mobile power - damn if Obama can become prez of the US surely we can choose someone who also has a new direction. Surely surely?

OSIZE said...

Why awareness campaigns stickers and fluers will not work. Having tried to work with the Nigerian government on a prior project I suggest that my fellow Nigerians are underestimating what we are up against.
Example: MEND has been blowing up the country for years now, look how long it too to get the attention of those that matter. I suggest it even takes more commitment to solve Nigeria's power issues than it takes to pacify the MEND boys. How long then will it take to get the attention of these folks with flyers? Me I will like to see electricity in Nigeria in my lifetime. How about we start profiling and pushing candidates that share our pain for the next election. Nigeria's problem is not lack electricity. It is because the citizens do not matter and the leadership know this. If you think twitting will change their minds cool.

OSIZE said...

You guys may be interested in this special from FT http://media.ft.com/cms/185a6786-74f0-11de-9ed5-00144feabdc0.pdf

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

@ Oz: The idea of pushing candidates we think have the people's interest at heart is a good one. Who are these candidates? Many will mention Fashola and others who have proven that they can get the job done despite the encumbrance of the federal government and other issues/interests. I am sure that there are many other individuals - have been discussing certain politicians with others on FB.

But, what is the back up plan? As I mentioned to STAN, I am not convinced that the next elections will not be heavily tampered with, though I hope any manipulation will be minimal. If I am wrong, and there is a repeat of 2007, then what do we do in addition to your suggestion to weaken those whose interests do not lie with the people? I guess I'm pushing for as many people to think outside the box, because if history is any indication, those in power have a vested interest to stay in power and keep things the way they are. As such, is there anyway to overcome this, in addition to your suggestion of supporting quality candidates?

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and raise poignant issues. Thanks as well for sharing that FT article. Have started reading it.

Jide Salu said...

SSD,

I applaud your passion and I am 100% with everyone on this campaign.

As a practical person, I want to see more. The decision makers need to be carried along so that it does not end up as a social media event.

Well done guys. I will look for ways to highlight the cause on JSD.

N.I.M.M.O said...

Light Up Nigeria; How?

I was looking for that all through the long post and comments but nada.

I would never have thought the day would come that I will agree with Beauty on Nigerian Curiosity but this time I do. And Oz. And Sokari too.

Let me give a suggestion:

Light Up Nigeria, Buy A Generator!

(The Made in China ones do come really cheap.)

seye said...

once again, lovely article.
From my own perspective(MY OWN PERSPECTIVE, I repeat), I don't know how much impact the Twitter and Facebook campaign is making on Nigeria as a whole. Maybe initially, it was making impact. Right now, I see it being pasted on the Cliche Hall of Fame. Just like you rightly said, we should raise supporters who would go up to demand their rights from their REPRESENTATIVES, the State Government and all.
About what kind of campaigns: I have thought so long in my mind on what kind of campaign would actually raze pressure.
Fine the twitter and facebook campaigns already have people aware. iReport also has something on that too. But HOW MANY PEOPLE WOULD COME OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONES TO MEET FACE TO FACE WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GOVERNMENT.

Let me say this here. I live in an Estate where the Who-is-whos live. There has not been power for about 3months. NOBODY COMPLAINS BECAUSE THEY HAVE THEIR GIANT SIZED DIESEL GENERATORS...also, they can well afford it. Are they the ones that would participate in a campaign? I don't think so!
I really believe the most affected people are the poor.
Two months ago, Channels Television did a beautiful news piece about power collapse in the country. They interviewed a man who owned a business center. A small business center.
He pays about N2000 a month on rent.
He has only one computer, makes about N3000 a month, N1000 gain.
With the power problems, he had to buy a petrol generator that costs N14,000.
He buys fuel worth N500 a day.
For all we know, this guy is running at a loss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
These are the people who can protest!
But who's going to raise a fair, strategic campaign? Us who have internet access? We who know what Facebook and Twitter are? We who can BUY clothing items that display LUN? I tell you, we are not as badly hurt as the more than 80% in Nigeria who live below the poverty line.
I believe, just like you have said, the sensitization should involve EDUCATING our people!
About various States generating their alternate sources of power: I believe this is another step that should be taken. I don't know how far Lagos State has gone with the idea.
Kwara State some two months ago celebrated a month of power generation for 20hours a day.
Some contractors together with Skye Bank are working on power generation for Kaduna State.
I believe the State Governmentin every part of Nigeria should start thinking this way! We can't forever rely on the old Hydroelectric Power hub! We've stayed on this too long. Smaller nations i know use more than one source. I overheard a friend of mine in the Philippines say that they use about 6 sources. THAT IS A COUNTRY THAT'S SMALLER THAN NIGERIA!
But then, even taking this campaign out: how much pressure will make the government sit up?
Our school system is down as ASUU is still on strike and the government is doing NOTHING . Our power sector is down. The health sector is going down.
How do we MOUNT PRESSURE? How much pressure is considered PRESSURE.
No wonder the idea, suicide bombing

rayo said...

WORD!

JesusFreak said...

This is wonderful!

For as many people that are still judging the future by the past. I'll advise you take the future you want to see into your hands now. And that is #lightupnigeria.

I like all the observations here. This is what we need to make this revolution not just a mere talk but real action.


Nigeria is ours. Nigeria we serve.
With dedication and selflessness, we must bring about a desperate change to you and i.

So help us God

...thanks for the voice!

Artsville said...

I think it's a fantastic idea but we have to take it offline else it won't make any impact. The idea of black Tshirsts every friday sounds great and we could take it a step further by printing light up Nigeria on them. While the new media is making huge waves, we also must get the mass media involved, imagine if everyday, a national daily carries a full page of light upNigeria. While I understand people's cynism, we have been cynical for 49 years and we are still here.Maybe it's time we tried something else.

Beauty said...

LUN goals and aims are all in the Good People, Great Nation, Corrupt Government brand. That is a good place to look for future LUN successes.

@OSIZE and others that do not get what this is about or why it is being done should first take time to read the full post. It is in knowledge that one can contribute.

@Sokari, of course, we have your full support but Nigerians cannot go out on the streets! Our people in Nigeria are not free to think about choice let alone make it, the elections are won before the polls open and that is a reason Obama went to Ghana.

LUN as a beacon of hope affirming a lot of us do not wish to blow up our people in order to make a point. MEND does not have to join the FGN in its horrific activities, there is no future in a continued state of war. Everyone dies!

We talk a lot about what ought to be done, we agree on how it is to be done and we go get it done. LUN seemed to be in all these phases at the same time and I am glad that @N.I.M.M.O approves. However, LUN is not a logo or a rallying cry of a hero on horseback. Its what you make it. Lets Tweet some more.

FIGE said...

#lightupnigeria.
I really do not know how or where to start these, but i think i started already.....after reading some of the comments and scanning through some i can gladly say i am happy. That people feel this is not the right way to go about this issue, they think there should be other measures and ways, not just the 2.0 things things as SSD called them.
I am also happy cos some other folks think its not a bad idea.
Now, i can understand fears and excitement about this whole thing.
when i first came across the group and the pictures. I like the pictures at first sight, cos i saw serious creativity in them.. then i went to the group page to read and see what was gwnan on there.

I must confess that LUN is not the best of ways to get at what we want...but its a very good start. I am reliefed that i aint the only one feeling that there is something wrong with power supply in nigeria....when my kid sis was about 20months, she would ask that we go on use the gen once she wanted to watch barney or somehting on cartoon network. she already understood that GEN was the way to light. that how bad it has gotten, so if somepeople have taken it upon themselfs to carry some burden you and I should be carrying,i think we should support them. it the least we could do. I am ready to help in what ever ways i can, thats the least i can do. and fi LUN ever brings a campaign to IBADAN,pls hola at me i would be willing to join in all the way. well as for the ideas, i cant think of something that has not being thought of by these brilliant and beautiful initiators. I am happy to hear the UBA GROUP supports #lightupnigeria.
i hope they will be willing to help move these campaign forward.

I would say these to AMARA and HER TEAM...please, in any way do not seek for financial help( dont collect money from anyone)i would say that you guys just have a list of the things you want to get with the money and let anyone who wants to help, pick what he would do.
Please oh...do not let cash be involved...the devil is liar.

We would succed at these........
#lightupnigeria
A Better NIGERIA:It Begins With YOU

FIGE said...

i just thought of this....

this is for those who support LUN and want to help in their own way oh.... we can add the #lightupnigeria
to the end of our TEXT MESSAGES, i would raise the awareness somehow. i thnk i would holla amara with this thought.... thanks fellows.

sylva nze ifedigbo said...

I read this piece while my toy asian made generator labours outside. I can imagine that the fuel in it is about to finish and i have not done half of what i should be doing with my system. And yes, thats true...i have not ironed my shirts for work. Honestly,its been rumpled shirts all week for me. In case you are yet to get the picture...we have not had Light for the past one week or so. I have evn lost count. Yet i just paid a bill of close to 2000 two days ago. If LUN has any answers then i am all for it.

culturesoup said...

Great post SSD, lots of things to think about here. If the government does not take serious strides in tackling this problem i am afraid i'll have to view Yar Adua's tenure as a failure. I don't know how they seriously plan to stimulate development without a reliable power supply. That he doesn't seem to realise the distinction between criticism and abuse says a lot to me.

I know that online campaigns such as LUN may have a limited impact on politicians and the governing classes but i think they're still incredibly valuable in encouraging people to speak up. As you explained so well, raising public awareness of the ability to protest is very important. If LUN contibutes to that the campaign would have achieved a lot. Yes, every Nigerian knows what is wrong with the country but not so many people realise that they have the right (and maybe even the duty) to ask for something better. IMO, resilience is not a good thing if it means that you let go of issues too easily.

I think civil disobedience could be effective in convincing elected officials to do their jobs. I'm not sure though that i understand the non-vote suggestion well. If election results are rigged on a regular basis, what would stop the same from happening whether or not people turned out to vote?

tobenna said...

SSD, this is probably one of your busiest posts.
So, clearly, power means a lot to Nigerians! I am surprised.
Invite the local and foreign press - BBC, CNN et al to a public rally where we publicly express our displeasure. Churches, mosques & NGO's can be used to rally people to attend.
Will this happen?
In my wildest dreams.

t said...

I rushed through this post but caught a few gems, especially this: Electricity THE measure by which President Yar'Adua is to be judged. Important idea.

Research Paper said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

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