“And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected.” – Spike Milligan Lagos
– The first few words of every Nigerian child born and raised in Nigeria, undoubtedly includes these words, “Up NEPA!”, this cry is one synonymous to the restoration of electricity in Nigeria. With over 3 decades of irregular and fickle power supply, it has gradually become a norm; but on the 14th of July, 2009, on one of the popular social online networks, Twitter, what many will soon refer to as a revolution began.
As several people on Twitter shared their experiences and made comments about the situation of power supply in their homes and work places; it became evident that the „so-called‟ norm is in reality, a menace that affects our growth and productivity deeply as a country and as individuals. The discussion continued with more and more people venting, sharing their experiences and while making suggestions on how to remedy the scourge, LightUpNigeria was created.
LightUpNigeria is a movement which has arisen out of necessity in reaction to the current problem with power supply in Nigeria. The movement aims to highlight the problems caused by the lack of constant power supply in Nigeria and raise awareness of the situation globally. Through the awareness raised by this movement, it is highly anticipated that the current policy or policies governing the generation, distribution and transmission of power via the national grid service in Nigeria will be reviewed and reformed.
LightUpNigeria is not a political campaign or organization; everyone in Nigeria is affected by the lack of constant power supply so everyone in Nigeria is part of the movement. Living without constant power supply has become synonymous with being Nigerian.
Expatriates and repatriates alike often cite the power outages as one of their reasons for being reluctant to relocate to Nigeria. It has been proven that Nigeria looses out daily on new investment and business opportunities due to the inherent power issues. The manufacturing, telecommunications, public health, and media industries are but a few of the industries currently being crippled by the lack of power in Nigeria. LightUpNigeria is spreading a simple message „Enough is Enough’. LightUpNigeria wishes to use one universal voice to raise awareness globally through every and any platform available. The movement is demanding action from the Nigerian government and political office holders, both at the local, state and federal levels, to solve the power supply problem. LightUpNigeria requests that:
  • A clear target of a minimum of 300 Watts per Capita by 2015 be included in the power bill
  • A clear plan with timelines showing when each megawatt will be added to the grid be made available to every Nigerian
  • An act of power in both legislative houses be created which will make the power supply problem in Nigeria a national priority
  • The Nigerian government, both at the local, state and federal levels, adjusts budgets and spending to make supplying power to Nigerians a priority
  • Credible, recognized industry experts and proven managerial resources be appointed to the power sector to bolster the human capacity
  • The Nigerian government, both at the local, state and federal levels, to enhance the generation, transmission, distribution and storage of electrical power and its sources.
LightUpNigeria will work with likeminded groups and Nigerians to achieve the aforementioned goals; and will be open to discuss and execute suggestions and recommendations from everyone involved and interested in this one cause to LightUpNigeria.
LightUpNigeria is not a collection of energy experts. It is a united Nigeria asking for results in the power sector; hence it is focused on demanding results rather than discussing the merits of any solution. It is the general position of LightUpNigeria position that lighting up Nigeria is no brain surgery. Other African countries have successfully done this. It is not a technology problem or a “know how” problem. It is a problem of will and focus. Hence LightUpNigeria will not be telling the government “how” but is merely demanding that the government commit and dedicate resources to simply replicate here what has been achieved easily elsewhere.
The website, www.lightupnigeria.org, will provide information on the movement and developments as they occur.