Njundu Drammeh

(JollofNews) – “Problems are opportunities in work clothes” Henry Kaiser

“A problem is looming large, an opportunity is on the horizon, and you have a choice” quipped Blaine Lee in his book “The Power Principle”

The current situation that is NAWEC cannot be solved at the same level that it was created ‘re spare parts not arriving on time; Government, businesses and all in arrears; old Generators; etc…. How sustainable is the current system that generate energy for us?

My brother and comrade Alieu Darboe suggested we try solar energy and wind power too. We have the sun everyday. The wind blows every day. We have the land for the solar panels. Can’t we harness these natural resources to our benefit and may be in the long run fulfil our dream of national electrification?

We have the engineers and scientists and experts to help us. The opportunity is here and we can exploit it. We cannot privatise this sector. It is the nation’s. If we do, we would become prey for capitalists, we would encumber the poor. Ask Ghana and other countries that have gone that path. No amount of World Bank or IMF pressure should make us knuckle under.

If our neighbours have surplus electricity to export to us, we ask and negotiate. If they do not, we work together and find solution to our common West Africa and Africa problem, electricity. We have the Sahara Desert; it is ours. We can invade it with solar panels and light the whole Africa. What has happened to the great idea of Nkrumah: work on the Akosombo Dam in Ghana to provide electricity the continent? Great idea and vision. But even Ghana suffers the outages; even Ghana has high electricity tariff…. But we have the rivers to dam and light at least West Africa….. All it would take is a little ingenuity, a little drive and commitment, a little pan-African solidarity, a knock on the doors of serious investors.

It is tough time for all us. And who thought it was going to be an easy ride, especially now that we are coming to grasp with the indescribable mess Jammeh has left our economy in. The current problem that is NAWEC is a manifestation of that mess.

Clearing the Aegean Stable, our lot. But what pains, excruciatingly, and like hot water to a thirsty man, are statements like “it was better during Jammeh’ s time”; ” hai, we wish Jammeh was here. Such things will never happen”; “Jammeh should come back”…. Such statements aren’t only disingenuous but hurting, very jarring to the ears….. As if there was a golden era, a fresh pot; as if we had rights and privileges which were lost in the innocence of our childhood and which we must recover; as if Jammeh’ s was the cornucopia or was leading us to the El Dorado and Barrow and the Coalition truncated that dream; as if ours was the land of honey and milk and music.

To wish for the past that was Jammeh’s or for the return of Jammeh himself is delusional. We have crossed the Rubicon. What is perplexing is that the winning of liberty and freedom, the will to be ourselves, to live in dignity without fear, hasn’t sank into some people. How can we inured ourselves from the horrible past, our cataclysmic struggle to be free, the indescribable suffering and personal privation of some people, the battle that good waged on evil, the colossal human suffering and tragedy which were the definitions of the regime?

Until the oppressed is conscious of his or her situation and the stranglehold of the oppressor on his or her wellbeing and status as a human being, freedom may not be a worthy thing he or she would want to fight for. He or she may prefer the oppression because that is all there is to know and behold. Like the people in Plato’s Cave, they would prefer illusion to reality.

They “are apt to shut their eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren” till they are turned into “slaves”. Unless the oppressed is empowered, becomes self aware of the powers he or she has, is conscientised, the oppressed will continue to see the oppressor as the best benefactor. That was Yaya’s transactional leadership style for 22 years. And we came to eat from his hands. And freebies and leftovers our lot…..

We are navigating through rough waters but we know the captain won’t jettison us because he wants to lighten the boat. We know feet are not so firmly solid on the ground but we can shout and say “the emperor has no clothe on”. And with NAWEC and other service providers, we can demand for answers, we can protest…. And NAWEC has been forthcoming with information.. The road ahead will be bumpy and rough. It will not be an easy ride. But we will overcome. With the right leadership, committed citizens, the appropriate tools, systematic citizenship engagement we will overcome.

Regardless of what happens, the heat we endure, one thing is as clear as day: no one, not I, want to go back to the dictatorship however cosy they make it out.

“I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Patrick Henry