Power Crucial to Success of Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria, Says Expert
It would be difficult for Nigeria to realise any of the numerous objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without significant improvement in the availability of electricity to the populace, an expert in the power industry, Engr. Bashir Mohammed has declared.
He made the declaration on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, at the Town and Gown seminar of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Covenant University, where he was the Guest Speaker.
Delivering a lecture on the topic, ‘The Role of Power Sector in Achieving Sustainable Development’, Engr. Mohammed, who is the Manager, Egbin Power Plant, Ikorodu, Lagos, said despite the diverse human and natural resources that Nigeria is blessed with, she is still described as a developing country, basically due to lack of electricity.
Countries of the United Nations, he said, had adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. According to him, each of the goals, which include good health, clean water, quality education, innovation and infrastructure among others, has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. “But we cannot achieve any one of the 17 items the UN wants to achieve without electricity,” he added.
Giving an overview of the current situation with electricity generation, transmission and distribution in Nigeria, Engr. Mohammed said the government had since privatised some aspects of electricity generation, but maintains a monopoly hold on transmission, while distribution is in the hands of the private sector. He, however, bemoaned the prevailing situation whereby residential houses and businesses in the country go without electricity for hours on a daily basis due to inadequacy in power generation, transmission and distribution.
The guest speaker, in his illustration of the benefits a nation will derive from steady electricity supply, said, “Enormous energy consumption has always been associated with prosperous societies. The quality of electricity energy consumed by a country determines the level of economic activities, which lead to growth and development”.
He averred that to achieve sustainable development, Nigeria must give the power sector the serious attention it deserves, as availability of electricity will breathe new life into homes, industries, science and technological researches, and address challenges in areas like communication/entertainment, rural/urban population drift, and security.
For Nigeria to achieve the level of development she craves, Engr. Mohammed said the government urgently needs to fix the power sector from generation down to the distribution, where people can utilise it for our prosperity. He stressed that more investment should be made towards acquiring appropriate power facilities, and efforts should also be geared towards training a generation of engineers, technologists, technicians and craftsmen that will cater for the technical and managerial needs of the industry.
Noting that one factor that slows down rate of development is the lack of synergy between industry and the academia, the guest speaker lauded Covenant University for initiating the Town and Gown seminar, adding that what is happening in the University signifies that the future is bright.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Professor Sunday Oyedepo, said Covenant University introduced the Town and Gown seminar to bring the academia close to the industry, so as to have a better understanding of how things work in the industry. The seminar, he added, affords students the opportunity to learn what they are not able to learn within the four walls of the classroom. Professor Oyedepo thanked the guest speaker for coming to educate the students, and urged the students to make good use of the knowledge gained from the seminar.
Also present at the seminar were Professors, other faculty, staff and students in the Mechanical Engineering department.