Peter Uzoho and Ayodeji Ake
A former Minister of External Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has stated that Nigeria will surmount her current developmental challenges and move forward when genuine leaders with clear-cut vision are at the helm of the the country’s affairs.
The Professor of Political Science and International Diplomacy also stressed that having free and fair elections and organising developmental programmes across all sectors of the economy will help reshape Nigeria.
Akinyemi stated this in his lecture at the Diplomacy and Studies Think-Tank symposium, at the University of Lagos, organised by the MDSS Class 17, with the theme: ‘Contemporary Africa’s Political and Developmental Challenges.’
He said: “You and I know the way forward: have free and fair elections, get genuine leaders, having a developmental programme and a vision of where we want to go. We all know this, but how do we get there?
“That is what I don’t know. The primaries we just had went to the highest bidder, you and I know that. How do we get political parties that are not controlled by godfathers? How do we move away from them? I feel we have been moving backward.
“The leaders we had in 1960 were much better than the ones we have now. The elections we used to have before now were also much better than what we are having now. I can’t find a roadmap towards autochthonous African political system.”
He added: “It is not that one does not know what genuine African political system will look like. One does not reinvent the wheel. It will have to be based on transparent elections, free from external interference.
The major key players in the world system find the natural resources of Africa too precious for Africa to be left alone.”
The Convener of the symposium, Dr. Gerald Nwokocha, a gynecologist, said the platform was made up of highly intellectual individuals with special interest and passion in public and international affairs to engender workable solutions to issues of concerns.
“As students, we have spent time equipping ourselves with the art of diplomatic studies in order to become good diplomats, policy makers and the right change agents in our society,” he said.
“Our main objectives specifically is to implement the theoretical knowledge gained from the classroom into strategic solutions to help solve Africa’s societal problems, give back to the society by intellectually engaging like-minds, and to engage in scholarly discussions on issues of global concern,” he noted.
Earlier in his remark, the Chairman of the occasion and former Director-General, Nigerian Institute of international Affairs (NIIA), Prof. Bola Akinteyinwa, commended the students for organising the symposium, stressing that they have laid a foundation for Nigerian citizens’ diplomats.
NERC Moves to Cap Estimated Billing by Discos
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is considering putting limits on estimated billing as part of the efforts to address complaint by customers of all the electricity distribution companies.
In the ‘Consultation Paper on the Capping of Estimated Billing’ released at the weekend, the regulatory body described the Methodology for Estimated Billing introduced in 2012 as “a complete failure.
“It is fully aware that the Discos have contractual obligation under the privatisation programme to meter all their customers within five years as contained in the performance agreement signed with the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“This metering obligation has, however, not been fully met by the distribution companies, leading to mounting complaints on the side of the customers.”
The regulator added that this challenge necessitated the introduction of the Methodology for Estimated Billing.
The agency added that the methodology was designed to ensure that unmetered customers are fairly billed with estimates that are scientifically derived.
“However, this was a complete failure owing to the Discos’ inability to effectively implement the guidelines.
“It is apparent that the prevailing regime of estimation under the commission’s approved MEB has not been effectively and accurately implemented in all the distribution licensees.”
This has led to considerable burden being placed on unmetered customers, who ultimately are beset with outrageous and very high estimated bills that are not objectively determined.”