Former NERC Chair, Amadi, Electricity Union Condemn Power Privatisation

Sam Amadi

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

After serving for five years as the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), playing a role part in the power sector privatisation exercise for the federal government, the immediate past chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, last night condemned the privatisation of Nigeria’s power sector, saying it was not the solution to the country’s power sector challenges.

Alongside the Secretary-General of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Mr. Joe Ajaero, Amadi spoke at the monthly power dialogue of the Nextier Advisory in Abuja.

He specifically said that government’s failure in the power sector could not be cured by adopting privatisation, and that as an idealogy, the privatisation exercise that was concluded in 2013 was structurally wrong.

“You cannot cure government failure by privatising because privatisation is built upon some basic framework for public good. My argument is that there are some certain structural issues that determine whether that proposition would work. Government needs to reform how it does business.
“The idea that we can outsource government by allowing the private sector to come in with skills, good finance, information management, has failed. That is why I say that I’m not against privatisation as an intervention in cases where it is justified, but I’m against it as an ideology, which is what happened between 2010 and 2013,” said Amadi.

He added; “So, perhaps some Discos would have been sold, while others would not have been sold. I argued that this is the most expensive privatisation exercise. We shouldn’t have paid workers. We should have allowed them and deal with them in a corporate sense.”

“But we sold and used the money to pay workers who are still there. My answer is simple, it was ideological because it was based in the assumption that the private sector works,” he explained.

On his part, Ajaero stated that the model of privatisation adopted by the government could not be understood by many, as power distribution companies had failed to even provide meters for electricity consumers.

Ajaero, noted that private sector players who bought the power assets had not delivered on the promises they made since they took the companies four years ago.

According to him: “Somebody said that there is a model for privatisation and I have asked, what model did we use in Nigeria? From which country did we borrow the model? In India, you can go to a store and buy your meter, but is that so here? In fact, in every market, even if you want to buy garri, there is measurement for commodities; you have a cup to measure the garri.

“But you have electricity being generated without following it up with a form of measuring instrument. There are no meters, you generate power and people are charged based on estimation but then we say we’ve arrived with respect to privatisation.”

“Even the Discos, if you give them all the meters, they won’t install them because they want to make profit. People at times use the telecoms sector as an example of where privatisation worked. They should stop comparing what happened in the telecoms industry with the privatisation of the power sector.

“This is because if you don’t have airtime in your phone you can still use it to receive calls, but power is not like that. For the past one month, there are people who haven’t loaded airtime in their phones but they are receiving calls. However, in the case of power, the very moment your credit finishes, I’m telling you that your power supply will be cut,” Ajaero explained.

  • FrNinja

    So says amadi after receiving over 300 million severance paycheck as NERC head. Why complain now?

    • William Norris

      Just like YOU enjoyed massive profits from investing in MTN at a time the company was wickedly EXPLOITING Nigerians by charging ₦50,000 per simcard back in 2002.

      Apparently anyone else that makes money commits an economic crime except YOU.

      • FrNinja

        I didnt award myself shares in MTN unlike amadi who awarded himself and his fellow commissioners huge sendoff gifts.

        • William Norris

          His pay was completely LEGAL, just as your MTN profits were LEGAL, just as Tinubu’s governorship pension is LEGAL.

          The more the merrier, you know……it’s boring to eat alone.

        • William Norris
          • FrNinja

            Like I hv told u before the US govt accounts for over 20% of the US economy. Nigerian govt accounts for less than 8%.

          • William Norris

            The US government is funded by a highly productive PRIVATE SECTOR that still thrives despite gargantuan levels of corruption. That’s the point I’m trying to pass along.

            As long as the Nigerian government continues to own and regulate most productive assets in the economy, it will NEVER have a productive PRIVATE sector.

          • FrNinja

            Hope you know that computing would not have happened without federal government funding basic research.Also aviation, communications, transport, energy all have significant US govt funding.

          • William Norris


            Well we know the USA is doing well with massive corruption. So corruption is NOT the major Nigerian problem.

            And the government spends billions on MILITARY research that is then used by PRIVATE companies to make billions…that is how AAPL gets to charge $1,100 for a phone. Almost like your MTN, driven by the same greed.

            There’s MANY characteristics s that make a nation successful…..ethno-cultural cohesion, private enterprise, legal and economic INCENTIVES that drive high PRODUCTIVITY, free markets, light regulation, among others. Nigeria unfortunately has NONE of them.

          • William Norris

            Good! Trust….HOW did the US government develop trust?

            Part of the TRUST has been built on the doctrine of a strong RESPECT FOR PRIVATE PROPERTY AND FREE MARKETS, to a much greater extent than Nigeria.

            No Nigerian can own LAND or any MINERAL RESOURCES.

            Even INVESTMENT is subject to PRICE CONTROLS via currency fixing. Would you put $1 into Nigeria today if you can get only CBN rate of N305? Yet I’m sure you support a strong naira.

            Again would your investment in MTN have been profitable or even possible with REGULATED telecom TARIFFS? Yet you’re all over the place preaching price controls.

            So HOW exactly do you expect Nigerians to get richer and Nigeria to develop? Who is going to invest for the long term in a country that you can’t TRUST to defend your PROPERTY and natural right to sell at whatever price you want?

            LOL….let them keep fighting corruption, another 50 years we’ll see how far they got.

          • FrNinja

            I am an advocate of private property rights but thats not Nigerias problem. Nigeria is run by thieves. Government is just a facade. The US government is an extension of the American private sector. They work hand in hand. This is why the US is infinitely more successful than Nigeria even as it has 5 times more oil.

          • William Norris

            The USA is also run by thieves. What else do you call the members of the Bush 43 regime who declared war on Iraq based on LIES and awarded NO BID war contracts to a company in which the VP was a major shareholder? Over 5,000 US soldiers died for nothing….over 25,000 are permanently maimed. HOW about that for CORRUPTION.

            I’ve given several examples of government corruption in the USA, why the presumption that it can only happen in Nigeria? Come on man!

            Please which country anywhere is run by HONEST people?


            So corruption has a LESSER EFFECT on the populace and economy in countries where government has LESS control over money, PROPERTY and resources.

          • FrNinja

            Again I ask you. If corruption in American government is so bad why do they have functional roads, rail, airports, food stamps, subsidized housing, federal mortgage guarantees, research funding, water supply, sanitation, public parks, public libraries, 10 lane expressways.

            Nigeria cannot even build simple sewer or water supply or proper mass public transit in any one of its badly planned cities – something even Zimbabwe has achieved in Harare. So I would take American corruption over Nigeria’s fantastic corruption.

          • William Norris

            I already answered ….

            1. because a highly productive PRIVATE SECTOR supplies enough money for the government to spend. The amount of money produced by PRIVATE ENTERPRISE is so large that the effects of massive corruption are not noticeable. At least you now agree there’s corruption in the USA …..Hallelujah!!!

            The average Nigerian thinks there’s no such thing as a corrupt American or European official.

            2. The private sector is highly productive because the USA has a culture of free(er) markets and respect for property rights.

            If THE PEOPLE of Nigeria adopted a similar mindset there would also be plenty of money left over for development even AFTER massive corruption has been accounted for. As YOU have demonstrated, most Nigerians PREFER regulated prices and government owned and dominated markets. That’s what Occupy Nigeria of Jan 2012 was about. That’s why Nigerians elected The Dullard, Muhammadu Buhari.

            I’ve written the above several times. I also emphasized that the success of nations is driven by a COMPLEX interplay of factors, none of which are found in Nigeria.

            I wrote this in reply to YOU:

            There’s MANY characteristics that make a nation successful…..ethno-cultural cohesion, private enterprise, legal and economic INCENTIVES that drive high PRODUCTIVITY, free markets, light regulation, among others. Nigeria unfortunately has NONE of them.

            Your take on all this is just too superficial.

            Why was Harare built? WHO built it? Are you going to tell me the government that built HARARE, formerly Salisbury, was not very CORRUPT?

            You seem to be COMPLETELY oblivious of the role played by CULTURE, tribal interests and ETHNIC DOMINANCE in the development of nations.

            DID you ever watch the Pilger documentary on South Africa I recommended to you? You should.


            1. Biafra in the midst of war was able to refine and provide petrol, build and run 2 airports and manufacture arms and many other things Nigeria can’t do today. Its worth asking WHY Nigeria that contains the same BIAFRA is still importing petrol.

            2. The USA built up a massive amount of wealth and SOCIAL CAPITAL from 400 years of SLAVERY. The distribution and application of the benefits were RACIALLY based.

            3. Ethiopia that you so admire has a RIGHT of SECESSION for its ethnic nations in its latest Constitution. ERITERIA took advantage of that principle to leave Ethiopia.

            4. India & Pakistan were once United as one country. It’s worth your time to consider the gains and drawbacks of their separation.

            That should be enough.

            National success isn’t some sort of PREFABRICATED house that you can put together and drop on Nigeria or any other place and it just fits and becomes reality. You have to consider THE POPULACE, TOPOGRAPHY and WEATHER….are those factors a good fit? GOOD GOVERNMENT or substantive & worthwhile development simply can’t happen in Nigeria in the present ideological, cultural and legal setting. Impossible. It never happened in Nigeria in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s or ANY OTHER TIME despite the oblivious and remanufactured memories conjured up by Nigerian popular hallucinations. I mean….what % of the population had access to piped water and phones during the Gowon crude oil price boom?

            A book that might give some insight is GUNS, GERMS and STEEL….I forget the author.

            Or go here –


            I sympathize with your attempts to understand your country. I do. Try and dispense with what you would like to happen and try a more REALIST approach, it might help you come to terms with what Nigeria REALLY is, not what you WANT it to be.

            It takes a lot of IDEOLOGICAL & physical work and sacrifice to make a great nation. Nigerians just want to IMPORT greatness like they do petrol, religion, Tokunbo cars and 2nd hand clothes. NEVER gonna happen. Sorry.


          • FrNinja

            There is no flourishing private sector without supportive government. The US government as Bill Gates acknowledged is Americas secret weapon. Whether through funding for science or indirectly through its expeditions to secure cheap resources. The greatest feats of engineering and science were marshalled by the US government from nuclear fission to space exploration.

            America is an organization. Nigeria is nothing other than a state run by rogues. The state exists for industrial scale theft. Private enterprise exists either as an accomplice or as an anomaly. Nigeria is destined for collapse like the termite hill it is.

          • William Norris

            United States of America is an organization….OK, does it have owners? How did it arise?
            What is the driving motive of the USA?

            You keep harping on research and infrastructure LOL…here’s one bit….The USA Interstate Highway System was built enable smooth wartime MILITARY TRANSPORTATION. Don’t take my word, check. Just like space exploration and the internet, it’s all about WAR.

            As for Nigeria…it is a Resource Colony owned by the Anglo-Saxon tribe. Nothing more.

            Nigeria itself and everything that is wrong or right with Nigeria, was made so by the Anglo-Saxons.

            Who do you think killed Abiola?

            When Murtala did the coup of July 1966, his original intent was for the North to secede from Nigeria. I hope you know why he changed his mind?

            WHY did the Anglo-Saxons expend so much time converting Nigerians to Christianity? So you can all go to heaven?

            Anyway, I wrote earlier you have a simplistic view of the Nation State.

          • FrNinja

            You keep harping about some sort of grand anglo saxon tribal conspiracy on Nigeria. Well its a lot simpler than that. The reality is that Nigeria was only a nation state as a facade. Internally it is a pirate state, a lootocracy, a country riven by internal political divisions and instability.

            Nigeria is in the final throes of pretending to be a nation state.

          • William Norris

            No conspiracy.

            Nigeria was CREATED by Anglo-Saxons.

            Are you going to dispute that too?

          • FrNinja

            Last I checked all the presidents, governors, senators, government officials since 1960 came from within the boundaries of Nigeria.

            The brits have done enough to teach Nigeria how to run a functional nation state. If Nigerian leaders want to continue behaving like petty thieves and imbeciles its not their fault.

            After all, the brits themselves were civilized by the Romans and the church. Have they not advanced from barbarism? Nigeria should blame no one but itself for its state of uselessness.

          • William Norris

            LOL….you say Nigeria is fake.

            I agree…but WHO CREATED THE FAKE NATION?

            Was the Benin Empire fake? The Aro Confederacy? The Oyo Empire?

            How did all those get merged into an unworkable fake Nation State?

            Nigerians are to blame in the sense that 99.99999% of them are trying to emulate British colonialism and use it to victimize their fellow Africans.

            An example is the belief that an investor should be forced to provide electricity at a loss. The British took stuff by force and they prospered thereby so you should be able to do it too.

            Your Much admired USA, a REAL NATION, was at least partly built on slavery. WHO SHOULD BE ENSLAVED to build Nigeria? Your guess is as good as mine.

          • FrNinja

            The Benin empire, aro confederacy, Kalabari were the Portugese and English partners in the business of slavery. At the end what happened? They couldnt even manufacture the guns and territory they got in the slave trade to defend themselves from colonialism.

            Do you see a pattern with the partners in the trade of the Niger Delta oil?
            57 years to build a functional nation. They couldnt do it.

            But no blame the British.

          • William Norris

            You have a good point there.

            That’s where culture and PSYCHIC conditioning come into play.

            The Hindu of India mostly stuck with their religion despite spending a longer time under both Islamic & British colonialism.

            The Black Africans converted enmasse in order to become partners with the Arabs and later British in exploiting their own people and their homelands.

            I’ve often made the case that Black Africans are inferior humans and you just stated one of the reasons why I believe that. It takes a special form of self hatred to be a Black African “Christian” or “Muslim”

            But the British bear some blame for whatever Nigeria has become. After all they created Nigeria, without them the country wouldn’t even EXIST.

          • FrNinja

            There is no great civilization without religion at its center. You have to inspire people to a higher ideal otherwise we are no different than savages. The romans brought the christian church along with their systems of law to civilize the tribes of europe from france to england to germany. It elevated them from barbarism. They gained enlightenment. They started thinking rationally. When they freed themselves from feudal chains, knowledge and productivity exploded.

            The Hindu are where western europe was in the 17th century. A great religion within a feudal system. The drive for learning and advancement in India is there but it is stunted by its class system.

            For Africa something clearly happened after the collapse of Egypt. People were scattered to the West and South. New tribes formed. The yoruba, igbo are recent civilizations in a state of creation. None has evidence of living where they presently are for more than 2,000 years. Both have been disrupted by events. The slave trade, fulani jihadism, colonialism, christianity, national corruption.

            Nigerias dysfunction reflects these political storms buffeting it. It either pursues a EU style negotiated federalism or collapses into more uniform entities.