Are you listening?

Are you listening? Good.

The last #TMP was published on Monday, May 25 2015. The initial promise was a fresh post everyday.

I failed to meet up with my target.

Today is May 29, Democracy Day in Nigeria, the day presidential powers will be officially handed over to Muhammadu Buhari. That is on a global scale, but in my own little world, today was supposed to be the day I would unveil a new app I have been building for a while to the public eyes.

I failed to meet up with my target.

On Monday, May 25 as many others in Nigeria, I found my self fuel-less, power-less and to compound matters, My telco provider went offline, I was left with no network to call, text or browse the internet. It was suddenly 1998 again, literally overnight. I braved up, embraced my “fate” and armed myself with packs of candles… power supply or not, it was still gonna be a long night ahead. The break from the whole world was a great time to think straight and ask myself, what was truly important.

Are you still listening? Good.

First, it dawned on me that Nigeria runs on oil. We literally run on crude oil. We make most of our money by selling crude oil, then we import petrol and other related products that then run the economy, everything else. If a crisis cut off access to oil imports for say 6 months, I doubt if we would have a Nigeria left.

Therefore, while focused on my candle and doodling on a sheet of paper, it dawned on me that the next big thing, the ONLY problem worth our time, attention and resources was not my trivial app I could no longer develop or my inability to access my websites inorder to send you a fresh edition of #TMP. The ONLY problem we need to solve now – today is the power problem, we need to develop alternate ways of generating all the power supply we would ever need.

I do not want my kids to grow up with the phrase “Up NEPA”* still in vogue, and I sincerely believe we have enough smart people and resources in Nigeria to make it happen. We need to stop fooling ourselves, without any viable alternative to power supply, we can be sent back to 1998-style living overnight. We need to stop fooling ourselves, Silicon Valley cannot develop a solution for us, we have to join our heads together and think up a solution.

All the cool video streaming apps, banking apps, messaging apps and shopping apps that dominate Nigeria’s tech scene needs to move over. It is all useless when there is no power to access them. I wonder a lot why no one has raised money from venture capitalists to attempt and solve Nigeria’s power problem. Why are they throwing so many dollars at watching movies and buying things online?

Are you still listening? Good.

We need to solve the power problem, we need to look at how we can generate all the electric power we could ever need. We are living in digital times and all our digital devices do not thrive because of all the cool apps we are building, these devices live and breathe electric power.

The most important work to be done in this decade is to ensure that everyone anywhere has constant access to electricity. Once we fix the power problem, then we can talk.

*Up NEPA – people excitedly chant “up NEPA” anytime Nigeria’s power production and distribution companies restores power.


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