11 trillion naira. That is how much the Socio-Economic and Accoutability Rights Project( SERAP) says has been sunk into the electricity sector since 1999 with only darkness to show for it.
SERAP made the claims in an open letter sent out to presidential candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections in which the group called on the aspirants to declare their assets and shun vote-buying and other forms of electoral manipulation.
But SERAP must know. It has been present for far too long in the literal and metaphorical darkness of the Giant of Africa to know that its letter will be fall on deaf ears as has been the fate of the reports on corruption in the electricity sector.
One or two of the presidential aspirants who have nothing to hide may heed SERAP
s call and declare their assets. But, it is predictable that many of the heavyweights among the aspirants who have got where they are by making skeletons out of people and projects and stuffing them in their cupboards will balk at SERAPs suggestions.
But whether they do or not, SERAP, one of Nigeria`s most ardent Civil Society Organisations, must feel it has done its bit by calling for it because in Igbo folklore, the fowl caught by a fox in the bush says it cries out not so it will be release, but just so the world will hear its voice.
It will be a euphemism to say that Nigeria`s power supply crises continues to grow from bad to worse with every passing day. A visit to homes, courtrooms, hospitals and even offices cuts out the picture of a country consumed by darkness.
Nigerian businesses especially the small ones have especially been at the receiving end of the problems plaguing Nigeria`s crises-ridden electricity sector.
Even before many new businesses can fully stand on their own, they are strangled by the fact that they have to use most of their capital to fund alternative sources of power to make profits which they pay to the government for power supply that is never steady.
To compound the frustrations of those at their wits` end because of epileptic power supply in the country is the constant talk about the staggering amounts plunged into the power sector over many years with embarrassingly little to show for it.
At the end of the day, it is a question of corruption which has at its center questions about a lack of accountability, and how funds plunged therein have ended up in private pockets.
Probe after probe has been launched. But each time, probes commissioned with public funds have failed to yield the requisite results. The probe reports have often ended up going nowhere presumably smothered by those who do not want facts about how they misappropriated public funds to become common knowledge to Nigerians.
The day of reckoning for many of those responsible for Nigeria`s problems remains elusive because somehow, they have remained around the corridors of power where they continue to call the shots in a country desperately crying out for a new beginning.
It can then only be foreboding that some of those who would know a thing or two about how eleven trillion naira went down the drain of the power sector between 1999 and now are lining up to take a shot at the country`s highest office.