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Opinions of Saturday, 31 January 2015

Columnist: Alhassan, Mohammed

Say No to 'dumsor dumsor'

Every year, in their bid to power their generating units and service their power needs Nigerians spend about $4.98 billion (N796.4 billion). At the time of putting down this piece, Nigerians still get as low as four hours of electricity supply per day despite various governmental policies and attempts to revive the sector. Putting the figure in context, $4.98 billion is equivalent to Nigeria's national budgeted capital expenditure during the 2009 fiscal year.

After all these years, and billions of dollars accruing to the country from oil revenues, why is Nigeria's power problems persisting, despite the numerous promises made by the Nigerian government? The answer is pretty much simple! The populace have refused to hold those responsible accountable and have sat down unconcerned. Thus, those in power who have superintended over the crisis in Nigeria have not felt the need to do anything to solve the problem. The Nigerian government cannot be bothered, after all Nigerians have resorted to buying generators and fuelling them in order to get electricity.

Ghana risks falling into the same quagmire Nigeria currently is in. On the average, every home in Ghana now receives only 6 hours of power from the Electricity Company of Ghana, only 2 hours better than what is prevailing in Nigeria. We then have 24 hours of non-stop dumsor. The "fa ma Nyame" (leave it to God) Ghanaians that we are, are quiet over the predicament we find ourselves in. I mean how? No one is voicing out concerns about the inherent effect of the "dumsor" on industry, the loss of jobs, rising insecurity and capital flight as a result of businesses relocating from Ghana, amongst others.

As a country, we have not been told the Gospel truth about why we have this energy crisis. We are told there is no end in sight to the dumsor, because power producers have indicated there is a production deficit due to the lack of gas to power our plants. We have thermal plants sitting idle in Tema and Takoradi all because government does not have money to buy light crude oil, despite a barrel of crude oil now hovering around $43. We were told the Atuabo gas plant was going to save Ghana $500 million and deliver 500 megawatts of energy. Atuabo is on stream and what are we seeing? The situation has worsened.

It's been almost 4 years since this "dumsor dumsor" started. President Mahama, in his bid to win the 2012 elections, told us that "dumsor will be a thing of the past." Four years down the lane, nothing has happened. All that we have seen are the plethora of promises he makes towards solving the longest dumsor in the history of our country. I can confidently say that the President is not interested in solving the dumsor dumsor. His priority is the 2016 election, and how he can win 1 million votes in the Ashanti region. His communicators, Ministers and functionaries are all about this "1 million votes" business.

President Mahama knows Ghanaians will not complain because, according to him, "we have short memories."

It is about time Ghanaians proved President Mahama right or wrong. By our actions, he will know whether he and his government can continue taking us for granted. Ghanaians must stand up and be counted. Let us not fall into the situation Nigeria finds herself in. We must speak up and let our voices be heard. We must rise up and stand against the crisis. Governments are put in power to solve the problems of Ghanaians and not create problems. When President Kufuor left office in 2009, there was no dumsor dumsor. Now, under the NDC and President Mahama, we have the longest-running dumsor dumsor in Ghana's history.

I am a well-meaning Ghanaians and I am saying, enough of the dumsor. Say no to "dumsor dumsor"

Mohammed Alhassan

Builsa South Constituency