Wednesday, April 7, 2010

From Toyin Dawodu This is my story I need Help


150 million Nigerians are living in darkness because they have no electricity. I live in Riverside, and my city of 300,000 residents generates 500 megawatts of power. That is 1 megawatt per 600 resident. After 50 years of independence, Nigeria cannot boast of 6,000 Megawatts. 150 million Nigerian have less than 3,000 megawatts to share between them. That is 1 megawatt per 50,000 citizens of Nigeria. Sometimes the people go for days without electricity. Nearly every house and business have a diesel generator that spill out carbon monoxide into their house and atmosphere 24 hours a day. It is impossible to determine how many lives have been lost as a result of power shortage in Nigeria. Even hospitals don’t have power. Even though I don’t live in Nigeria, but as a Nigerian, I am depressed about our power situation because it has affected 3 generations of my family and I am sick of it. It pains me to no end and depresses me every time I call to speak to my eighty one year old mother.
32 years ago, my grandmother who helped raised me lost her life as a result of Nigeria’s power shortage. She fell into a ditch a few blocks from our home on the same street she had walked for almost 60 years. But on this fateful night, the street lights were off because there was no power. Obviously, she probably did not know that the contractor fixing the road did not cover up some of the ditches they dug that day. She fell and hit her head. She died a few days later from the blood clot, because there was no power in the hospital to do a proper CT scan to detect the blood clot. In those days, there were no generators. I had just left home for college in U.K, with the hope of seeing her on the first chance I got. It never happened, every day for the last 32 years I just dream of being able to see her once and tell thank her for all she did for me, hug and bid her good bye.
26 years after my grandmother’s death, my mother broke her hip as a result of the same power short in Nigeria. One night in 2004, she woke up to use the bathroom, only to discover that there was no power. As she felt her way around the room to find a match to light a candle, she fell and broke her hip. At first, the x-ray that was conducted indicated that there was no broken bone, but because the pain was so unbearable, I had to insist on another x-ray. I felt so guilty for letting my mother suffer for such a long time because I believed the information supplied by the Nigerian hospital. Even though I was reluctant to have her surgery done in Nigeria, she made it clear that she was not going to travel outside of Nigeria. I could understand, because at age 75, she was no fan of the air plane.
The operation was a failure. No she is bedridden at 81 and each time I talk to her I get depressed, all because my country can’t generate enough power to light a candle. Today, she is losing her hearing also, probably the result of the constant noise from her generator and those of her neighbors.
The last time I was home, my mother said to me, “you know your nephew has been out of college for a while, he has no job and he stays home all day. “ My mother wanted me to see what I could do about it. When I got back to the U.S., I instructed my company to create a position for my nephew in Nigeria. His was to be paid 50,000 Nigerian naira per month. His job was to do assignments and research on the internet. But the work was always late, and each time, the reason was the same, “uncle, we have no power, I can’t get on the internet.” Eventually, I was forced to shift the project to other virtual assistants in India.
This is my story, and I am just one in a million Nigerians that have similar stories to tell.
That is why I am gathering this petition. I want to gather 1 million signatures to submit to our current government that we need to change the law and give the responsibility to generate power to each community.
According to a Greek proverb, “divide the fire, and you’ll soon put it out. Right now, my people are under fire, and I need your help to put out the fire. “A CANDLE LOSES NOTHING BY LIGHTING ANOTHER CANDLE.”

Please sign the petition and include your suggestions to get power if you wish. Thank you.