Maintenance Culture, Solution to Power Challenge in Nigeria, -Don
Implementing an effective maintenance culture has been identified as the solution to the moribund electricity industry in Nigeria.
This was the submission of a Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Covenant University, Professor Claudius Awosope, in his lecture titled Nigeria Electricity Industry: Issues, Challenges and Solutions.
Professor Awosope presented the paper at the 38th Public Lecture of the University on Friday, October 24, 2014 at the University Chapel.
Professor Awosope, who is also the Deputy Dean, School of Applied Engineering in the College of Engineering of the University, argued that if the maintenance culture is improved upon in Nigeria, then the facilities would witness an improvement in delivery of power beyond the current level.
“For subsistence of engineering facilities and equipment, capacity building is very crucial. This means that sustainable maintenance culture must be entrenched in the electricity industry by all the stakeholders. On the long run, the maintenance plan is further straightened by the development of Project Planning matrix to include monitoring and evaluation with the sole purpose of ensuring a planned and scheduled maintenance”, he explained.
Professor Awosope traced the current epileptic electricity power industry back to the early 1970s when the electricity consumption rate of Nigerians increased without adequate preparation by the power utility company for the expansion.
“The current status of electricity generated in Nigeria with regards to its population is grossly inadequate. This challenge has been in existence since 1970s when the Udoji’s Federal Government awards improved the economic life of the workers.
“This made the workers to increase their electricity consumption by purchasing several sophisticated and automating machines that consumed quite a lot of energy.
“The power utility company, on the other hand, was not prepared for this increase in consumption. This challenge has consistently left a deficit in consumption of generated electricity ever since that period in Nigeria’s electricity consumption history. Thus, this has led to consistent imbalance in the demand and the supply of electricity”, he argued.
The erudite Scholar also adduced other reasons that contributed to the lackluster attitudes to the maintenance culture in Nigeria to include what he called the Nigerian factor.
This, he said, is evident in the lack of interest in equipment maintenance once such equipment is still active in the service delivery. This, according to him, is very common where non-professionals are at the helms of affairs in purely an engineering enterprise or corporation. “From this, it would be said that the Nigerian environment has not been very conducive for maintenance but for repairs of equipment”, he added.
Another School of thought, according to Professor Awosope, noted that since Nigeria is not manufacturing any of the electric power equipment locally, it becomes very difficult to ensure that the spare parts for maintenance are always available.
“The argument is that the spare parts of a particular model may have been phased out by the manufacturers to pave way for newer and more efficient products, which means that even when the engineers are competent to maintaining such equipment, it is very difficult to secure appropriate spare parts for necessary replacement of old and worn out parts of the machinery” he explained.
Professor Awosope, therefore, advocates the engagement of local solutions by Nigerian Electrical Engineers to the myriad of problems confronting the power industry.
“The myriads of problems plaguing electricity supply in Nigeria are not beyond the capabilities of Nigerian electrical engineers and other allied professionals. There are many Nigerian Electrical Engineers who possess the requisite experience to confront such problems if approached.
“The government can take the bull by the horn by challenging these Nigerian Engineers to find lasting solutions to these problems. In that wise, the Federal Government must be ready to make the necessary wherewithal available to these engineers; it is not too late to find local solutions to the problems of electricity supply in Nigeria”, he opined.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charles Ayo, stated that steady electricity supply was key to the social, political and economic development of the nation. He decried the neglects of the electricity industry, contrary to what obtains in some smaller African countries.
“Smaller nations like Benin Republic, Ghana and South Africa are able to guarantee steady electricity supply but the situation in Nigeria is abysmally low. While Ghana continued to improve the capacity of the Hydro-electricity dam in relation to increase in population, nothing happened in Nigeria until the situation got out of control”, he explained.
Professor Ayo admitted that though the government alone can not provide employment or drives the economy; however, the absence of basic infrastructure like power, road and transportation has made the cost of establishing industries very prohibitive to the extent that some companies relocate to other African countries.
The informal sector, according to him, was the most hit, which made many to result to social vices like armed robbery and prostitution, among others. He therefore called on researchers in higher institutions and other spirited public-private-partners to bring about the most awaited industrialization of Nigeria in order to make life better for the generality of the populace.