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Nigeria’s main opposition political party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) lost power to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, after ruling the nation for 16 years. As the 2019 presidential election race gains speed, the PDP has vowed to regain power in 2019, but two major challenges stands in her way. The party must present a credible presidential candidate and defeat incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari at the polls. Thirteen political heavyweights are struggling for PDP’s ticket and efforts to present a consensus candidate proved abortive. The party is on the verge of conducting a presidential primary to elect the one who will confront Buhari. This piece weighs the chance of the candidates and foretells the outcome.


The thirteen aspirants jostling for the PDP presidential ticket are former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Governors Aminu Tambuwal and Ibrahim Dakwambo of Sokoto and Gombe States, and ex-Governors Attahiru Bafarawa, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Ahmed Markafi, Jonah Jang, and Sule Lamido of Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau and Jigawa states respectively. Others are former Senate President David Mark, former Minister of Special Duties, Taminu Turaki and Stanley Osifo from Edo State. The PDP presidential aspirants are mainly northerners. The party zoned the ticket to the north in order to lessen Buhari’s vote in the region. The two digit number of aspirants struggling for PDP’s ticket is an indication that the party’s umbrella is large and strong enough to manage all manner of persons, burden and character.


Except PDP presents a credible candidate to Nigerians, it will be difficult for the party to regain power in 2019. The states with the highest number of registered voters such as Kano and Lagos are being ruled by the APC. PDP is in control of 14 states, including Kwara, Bayelsa, Abia, Gombe, Ekiti, Delta, Ebonyi, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Taraba, Cross-Rivers, Enugu, Sokoto and Benue states. The national convention and presidential primary is scheduled to hold in Rivers state.


On how the presidential candidate would emerge, PDP’s Electoral Guideline states that “aspirant with the highest number of votes at the end of the voting shall be declared the winner of the primary. The document further states that “each aspirant must be nominated by at least 60 persons from not less than two-thirds of all states of the federation who shall be registered voters in their respective local government areas and also registered members of the party”.


The ruling APC has conducted her presidential primary and Buhari returned unopposed. The emergence of Buhari’s candidacy is common among incumbent presidents and governors. Scores of them do everything humanly possible to avoid primaries despite being in control of the party and the state. Competing with them is often considered an affront and such challenger would either be hounded or prevailed upon to step down. Managing the party to ensure there’s no contender and awarding automatic tickets to incumbents is the bedrock of disaffections and defections. This ruined the PDP under the leadership of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan. This also triggered a mass defection from the APC to the PDP recently.


Four out of the thirteen PDP presidential aspirants – Saraki, Kwankwaso, Tambuwal and Atiku – are APC defectors. These men would probably not have defected if they are sure of a free and fair presidential primary contest against Buhari. The desire to fulfill their ambition of ruling Nigeria made them dump the APC for the PDP. Some of them know they can’t win, but having the opportunity to test their popularity in a free, and fair primary makes them feel fulfilled.


The north-south unconstitutional, but conventional power rotation in Nigeria also pushed most of the presidential hopefuls into the PDP. Northerners nursing presidential ambition would be restricted by zoning if do not try their luck now. The ruling elites have technically zoned the presidency to the north and power is expected to return to the South by 2023. The implication of such is that if the northern aspirants postpone their ambition, remain in the APC, and Buhari earns another term to rule till 2023, virtually all the waiting aspirants may never have the opportunity to become president again. They apparently have to wait till 2031, after the south must have ruled for eight years. By 2031, majority of those currently interested in the nation’s top job would have become old and unfit.

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Atiku is 71, Lamido is 69, Turaki is 61, and Markafi is 62. If you add 12 years (2019-2031) to the age of all the aspirants, you’ll realize that many of them cannot really afford to wait, especially with the rising advocacy of not too young to run. The either-now-or-never desperation would make the PDP primary a very keen contest.


The star-studded race would be very fierce as veteran contestant Atiku Abubakar seems to only have this one last opportunity. Atiku has failed to achieve his presidential ambition on three attempts, but he has remained consistent in his pursuit. He has traversed the country, making consultations and selling his programs to vote-determining groups and individuals, including former and serving governors and legislatures, religious and traditional leaders, business moguls, and the international community. His advocacy for restructuring is also earning him admiration across the country.


The major obstacle to Atiku’s candidacy is that many see him as a political migrant that jumps from one party to another. He is also competing with a go-getter like Saraki, younger aspirant Tambuwal, and loyal party man like Dakwambo. Be that as it may, Atiku would get the party ticket, if the delegates top voting criteria is the financial capacity to fund campaigns and preference for someone who is popular across Nigeria. Atiku is virtually the only candidate with no other alternative. Majority of the other aspirants have picked governorship and senatorial forms through surrogates.


PDP has been copying APC’s strategy lately. A number of regional political parties merged to form the APC and defeat the PDP in 2015. Adopting a similar strategy, the PDP has aligned with about 40 parties with the sole goal of fielding a joint presidential candidate to defeat the APC in 2019. APC members picked their National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole from the South-South and the PDP did same by going for Uche Secondus. APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari is from the northwest, will PDP also present a candidate from the region? Most likely.


Aspirants from the northwest are Sule Lamido from Jigawa state, Rabiu Kwankwaso from Kano State, Ahmed Markafi from Kaduna State, Aminu Tambuwal and Attahiru Bafarawa from Sokoto State, Taminu Turaki from Kebbi State and Datti Baba-Ahmed from Kaduna state. 7 out of the 13 presidential aspirants are from the northwest. 4 out of the 7 are ex-governors and one is a serving governor. If PDP decides to have a north-west candidate, Kwankwaso, Tambuwal or Markafi will get the ticket.


Kwankwaso is the former governor of Kano state which has the highest number of registered voters. He is very influential in the northwest and has a formidable political structure and followers across Nigeria – the Kwankwasiyya Movement. The PDP may offer Kwankwaso the ticket in order to harvest Kano’s massive votes and reduce Buhari’s support base in the victory deciding northwest region. Markafi is a credible alternative for Kwankwaso. If PDP’s top selection criteria is based on party loyalty, Markafi would get the presidential candidate ticket. Markafi is the ex-Caretaker Chairman that wrestled the party from the grip of Ali Modu Sheriff, the former National Chairman. Tambuwal is another credible choice. He is ‘young’ and has one thing other aspirants from the region don’t have: immunity.


Incumbent Governors Tambuwal or Dankwambo of Sokoto or Gombe state will get the ticket if PDP considers it essential to safeguard her presidential candidate from political prosecution. Tambuwal and Dakwambo has immunity from arrest and prosecution till their tenure ends on May 29, 2019. This implies that both would be enjoying immunity during the electioneering period and cannot be arrested, detained or prosecuted if they are the PDP presidential candidate. PDP must note that the ruling APC is intolerant of the opposition and any candidate presented would most certainly be invited to answer one charge or the other, in order to decimate him, except such person is protected by constitutional immunity.


The Idris Kpotum led police is inefficient in tackling insecurity, but extremely skilled in hounding the real and imaginary oppositions of Buhari and the APC. The near arraignment of the Osun PDP gubernatorial candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke on the eve of the election and the persecution of Senators Bukola Saraki and Dino Melaye are notable instances.

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Saraki will be the PDP presidential candidate, if the party is shopping for someone that can combat the APC and their hounding tactics. Saraki has defeated the APC’s effort to decimate him on several occasions. He emerged as Senate President and has occupied the position for over three years without the support of the APC leadership. Recent efforts to remove him when he decamped from the APC to the PDP was also unsuccessful. He was arraigned for false asset declaration and the Supreme Court gave him a clean bill of health. Efforts to embarrass him with alleged complicity in the Ofa bank robbery also proved abortive. Saraki’s triumph against the APC has enriched his political clout and earned him admiration and accolades. His ability to retain majority support in the Senate despite the many troubles shows that he is a seasoned administrator and can keep Nigerians united.


Saraki, Atiku, Tambuwal and Kwankwaso are in good position to pick the PDP presidential ticket, but the major hurdle before them is passing the loyalty test. Happenings in the coming days would reveal whether the PDP has forgiven them for the embarrassing defeat their defect caused the party in 2015. Even if the party forgives them, would ex-President Jonathan, who lost power in 2015 ever support their aspirations to become the PDP presidential candidate? Will he support and work hard for the electoral victory of these persons should any one of them become the PDP candidate?


David Mark’s political influence has waned tremendously after he lost his Senate President position to Bukola Saraki. Other aspirants like Sule Lamido and Jonah Jang has a weak political outreach and corruption baggage hanging round their neck.


PDP’s ticket might eventually be given to one of those who made the party lose election in 2015. If such happens, the loyal aspirants that stood by the party during crisis will be aggrieved. The PDP National Working Committee must have a strong crisis management and post-primary unifying strategy in place. APC is fasting, praying and eagerly waiting to profit from a post-primary crisis in the PDP. Any implosion in the PDP would make Buhari get an easy win in 2019.


The PDP delegates and party hierarchy across the states and the national level would be supporting candidates based on their experience, age, party loyalty, nationwide support and integrity. The party delegates would most likely avoid thumbing those standing trial for corruption cases in order not to play into the hands of the APC. Unlike inter-party contests, delegates decision on the candidate to elect changes frequently during intra-party elections, especially in governorship and presidential primaries. A lot of negotiations, alignments and realignments occur few moments to voting and such could alter existing permutations.


For the reason that delegates voting intention during party primaries are easily influenced and instable, the pundit too will be flexible. Out of the thirteen aspirants, the pundit will select three that’ll most likely win the primary. From analysis and findings, Aminu Tambuwal may emerge the PDP candidate because he is from the northwest region, he is of a much younger age and he has immunity from prosecution. The immunity makes him a better choice than Kwankwaso. Tambuwal passed majority of the pundit’s measures of assessment; he is therefore ticked as the most capable aspirant PDP can use to defeat Buhari. Atiku Abubakar may win the party’s ticket based on his far-reaching networks, rigorous campaign and financial strength. Saraki may also emerge as the PDP presidential candidate based on his strong rapport with the delegates, especially the legislatures.


Nigerians don’t often reward loyalty. If the PDP delegates are rational thinkers, Markafi who has shown unflinching loyalty to the party and managed it successfully under intense political troubles should pick the ticket. He is from the northwest region, experienced and not standing trial. PDP is now a beautiful bride for the aspirants that decamped in 2015 because the party is now stable and formidable. People who defected from the party won’t have returned to seek a presidential ticket if Markafi had not managed it successfully. None of those who abandoned the party during turbulent times worth the presidential ticket.


By Omoshola Deji

*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via


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Behold Takefusa Kubo: The New Messi



Takefusa Kubo

A new Messi has been uncovered. He is Takefusa Kubo, a Japanese star.

He is dubbed the new Messi because of his style of play. To confirm his quality, the new Messi has been tapped up by Spanish gaint, Real Madrid in a five-year deal.

The 18 year-old midfielder joined Madrid from FC Tokyo in a 1M Euros deal that will see him playing for the Real Madrid reserve side.

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According to Spanish news outlet Marca, Los Blancos will pay FC Tokyo a sum of £1.78 million for the youngster.

Kubo will represent his country at the 2019 Copa America championship having made his international debut on 9 June against El Salvador.

Barcelona were said to have shown interests in the player but failed to seal the deal having being found guilty of youth transfer breaches and given a transfer ban.

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Why do some people enjoy experiencing pain during sex?



Many people think of pain and sex as deeply incompatible. After all, sex is all about pleasure, and pain has nothing to do with that, right? Well, for some individuals, pain and pleasure can sometimes overlap in a sexual context; but how come? Continue reading to find out.

The relationship between pain and sexual pleasure has lit up the imaginations of many writers and artists; especially with its undertones of forbidden, mischievous enjoyment.

In 1954, the erotic novel Story of O by Anne Desclos (pen name Pauline Réage) caused a stir in France. It had explicit references to bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism — an array of sexual practices referred to as BDSM, for short.

Recently, the series Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James has sold millions of copies worldwide; and this further fueled the erotic fantasies of its readers.

Still, practices that involve an overlap of pain and pleasure are often shrouded in mystery and mythologized; and people who admit to engaging in rough play in the bedroom often face stigma and unwanted attention.

So what happens when an individual finds pleasure in pain during foreplay or sexual intercourse? Why is pain pleasurable for them; and are there any risks when it comes to engaging in rough play?

Here we explain why physical pain can sometimes be a source of pleasure, looking at both physiological and psychological explanations.

Also, we look at possible side effects of rough play and how to cope with them and investigate when the overlap of pain and pleasure is not healthful.

Physical pain as a source of pleasure

First of all, a word of warning: Unless a person is specifically interested in experiencing painful sensations as part of their sexual gratification, sex should not be painful for the people engaging in it.

couple being intimate and passionate
Pain and pleasure activate the same neural mechanisms in the brain.

People may experience pain during intercourse for various health-related reasons; and these can include conditions such as vaginismus, injuries or infections of the vulva or vagina, and injuries or infections of the penis or testicles.

If you experience unwanted pain or any other discomfort in your genitals during sex, it is best to speak to a healthcare professional about it.

Healthy, mutually consenting adults sometimes seek to experience painful sensations as an “enhancer” of sexual pleasure and arousal. This can be as part of BDSM practices or simply an occasional kink to spice up one’s sex life.

But how can pain ever be pleasurable? According to evolutionary theory, for humans and other mammals, pain functions largely as a warning system, denoting the danger of a physical threat. For instance, getting burned or scalded hurts, and this discourages us from stepping into a fire and getting burned to a crisp; or drinking boiling water and damaging our bodies irreversibly.

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Yet, physiologically speaking, pain and pleasure have more in common than one might think. Research has shown that sensations of pain and pleasure activate the same neural mechanismsin the brain.

Pleasure and pain are both tied to the interacting dopamine and opioid systems in the brain, which regulate neurotransmitters that are involved in reward or motivation-driven behaviors, which include eating, drinking, and sex.

In terms of brain regions, both pleasure and pain seem to activate the nucleus accumbens, the pallidum, and the amygdala, which are involved in the brain’s reward system, regulating motivation-driven behaviors.

Thus, the “high” experienced by people who find painful sensations sexually arousing is similar to that experienced by athletes as they push their bodies to the limit.

Possible psychological benefits

There is also a complex psychological side to finding pleasure in sensations of pain. First of all, a person’s experience of pain can be highly dependent on the context in which the painful stimuli occur.

older couple in bed
Some people find that rough play allows them to de-stress and distance themselves from daily worries.

Experiencing pain from a knife cut in the kitchen or pain related to surgery, for instance, is bound to be unpleasant in most, if not all, cases.

However, when a person is experiencing physical pain in a context in which they are also experiencing positive emotions, their sense of pain actually decreases.

So when having sex with a trusted partner, the positive emotions associated with the act could blunt sensations of pain resulting from rough play.

At the same time, voluntarily experienced pain during sex or erotic play can, surprisingly, have positive psychological effects, and the main one is interpersonal bonding.

Two studies — with results collectively published in Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2009 — found that participants who engaged in consensual sadomasochistic acts as part of erotic play experienced a heightened sense of bonding with their partners and an increase in emotional trust. In their study paper, the researchers concluded that:

Although the physiological reactions of bottoms [submissive partners] and tops [dominant partners] tended to differ, the psychological reactions converged, with bottoms and tops reporting increases in relationship closeness after their scenes [BDSM erotic play].”

Another reason for engaging in rough play during sex is that of escapism.

“Pain,” explain authors of a review published in The Journal of Sex Research, “can focus attention on the present moment and away from abstract, high-level thought.”

“In this way,” the authors continue, “pain may facilitate a temporary reprieve or escape from the burdensome responsibilities of adulthood.”

In fact, a study from 2015 found that many people who practiced BDSM reported that their erotic practices helped them de-stress and escape their daily routine and worries.

The study’s authors, Ali Hébert and Prof. Angela Weaver, write that “Many of the participants stated that one of the motivating factors for engaging in BDSM was that it allowed them to take a break from their everyday life.” To illustrate this point, the two quote one participant who chose to play submissive roles:

”It’s a break free from your real world, you know. It’s like giving yourself a freaking break.”

Potential side effects of play

People can also experience negative psychological effects after engaging in rough play — no matter how experienced they are and how much care they take in setting healthful boundaries for an erotic scene.

couple holding hands
People can experience psychological side effects following rough play, so it is important to discuss needs and boundaries in advance.

|Among BDSM practitioners, this negative side effect is known as “sub drop,” or simply “drop,” and it refers to experiences of sadness and depression that can set in, either immediately after engaging in rough sexual play or days after the event.

Researchers Richard Sprott, Ph.D., and Anna Randall argue that, while the emotional “crash” that some people experience immediately after rough play could be due to hormonal changes in the moment, drops that occur days later most likely have other explanations.

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They argue that feelings of depression days after erotic play correspond to a feeling of loss of the “peak experience” of rough sexual play that grants a person psychological respite in the moment.

Like the high offered by the mix of pleasure and pain in the moment, which may be akin to the highs experienced by performance athletes, the researchers liken the afterplay “low” with that experienced by Olympic sportspeople in the aftermath of the competition, which is also referred to as “post-Olympic depression.”

In order to prevent or cope with feeling down after an intense high during erotic play, it is important for a person and their partner or partners to carefully plan aftercare, both at the physical and psychological level, discussing individual needs and worries in detail.

Whatever a person decides to engage in to spice up their sex life, the key is always consent.

All the people participating in a sexual encounter must offer explicit and enthusiastic consent for all parts of that encounter, and they must be able to stop participating if they are no longer interested and willing.

Research suggests that fantasies about unusual or rough sexual play are very common, and some people decide to take the fantasy out of the realm of imagination and make it a reality.

If you decide to stray from “vanilla” sex and try other flavors too, that’s fine, and there’s nothing wrong with you. Just make sure that you stay safe and you only engage in what you enjoy and feel comfortable doing.



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DISCOS and the Case for an Encore for Fashola




By Segun Odunuyi

Way back in the 60’s and 70’s in Lagos, Discos – short for Discotheques- were the places to be on Friday nights when the weekend spell of fun and entertainment took off  in earnest. At the Disco parties and clubs, you really let off steam, gyrating wildly to the heavy bass and percussive beats of recorded pop music.

Fast forward to here and now in Lagos. The word “Discos”, to the average Lagos resident, now evokes anything but fun. Rather, it evokes the terrifying image of the bogeyman from the Power Distribution Companies (DisCos), who arrives at your homes monthly with his package of “double jeopardy” in the forms of electricity bills for energy you have most probably not used – called estimated billing – and an unending reluctance or incapacity to provide you with meters -or “pre-paid meters” in popular parlance- which, at least, enables consumers to pay for the quantum of energy consumed.

Clearly, drawing from the drift of the national conversation on the performance of the power sector, the Discos have been and remain the weakest link in the power value chain. In a recent interview, Usman Mohammed, the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) declared that “we cannot have a stable grid (electricity) unless we have an adequate investment on the distribution side and that is why TCN has been calling on the Discos to be recapitalized.” The TCN, like the Discos, is a creation of the unbundling of the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in 2011 under the 2005 Electric Sector Power Reform Act, which privatized the nation’s power assets.

When he emerged on the power scene in November 2015 as the Minister of the three-in-one Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, which constituted about 80 percent of the basic physical infrastructure on which hopes for the revival of the then comatose economy rested, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola was still basking in the public adulation of his exceptional performance as Executive Governor of Lagos State. His appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to oversee such a “super-portfolio” elicited vehement protests from some quarters but Mr President knew that he had hit on the man to oversee the revival of physical infrastructure to drive the resuscitation of the economy..

From the 2005 Act and the subsequent unbundling also emerged entities like the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the all-powerful regulator and licensor, and the Power Generation Companies (Gencos) who buys gas from the gas companies to produce power and sells to the Discos who rely on the TCN to get the power to their substations and distribute to homes and factories in their allocated distribution areas.

The “sin” of the Discos, then and now, is that they have never been able to fully evacuate the power load generated by the Gencos. The result is that there is a perpetual gap between power demand and supply and hence the power outages. The irony is that, contrary to popular impression in the media and among energy consumers, Fashola does not supervise the Discos. They were not licensed by his ministry but by the NERC which does not report to the Minister. So, Fashola, cannot, for example, withdraw the licence of a non-performing Disco or alter the terms or scope of operations of such licensee. That apparent absurdity in supervision was a product of privatization. Still, the minister had to navigate his way around such limitations and others to deliver on his agenda for profound and enduring change in the sector.

And, going by the incredible strides and achievements he has demonstrably notched up in just there and a half years to fast-track infrastructural development in Nigeria, Fashola’s performance has been top-drawer. But as he has stated often, the journey he had patriotically and passionately embarked upon was a “marathon and not a sprint”. Clearly, there is still a lot to do and accomplish if the Buhari government must equal or even surpass the spirited and enduring physical infrastructure development feats of the General Yakubu Gowon regime in the late 60s and 70s. Fashola undoubtedly deserves an encore on the second term Cabinet of the Buhari Administration, to reach a greater distance in the “marathon” especially in the power and works sectors.

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It had not been easy, though, for the man once dubbed “the Actualizer” when he was at the helm of affairs in Lagos State. Indeed, Fashola must have been jolted by what he inherited in the power, works and housing sectors: structural rigidities, convoluted supervisory arrangements and crippling underfunding amidst huge liabilities to contractors, amongst the many unenviable legacies of the long and mindless neglect of the country’s primary and secondary infrastructures. But he also had a free hand from Mr President as well as his own his vision and rare capacity to understand, dissect and proffer solutions to knotty issues; his legendary fervor for long and hard work and, of course, a number of able lieutenants. He was not about to fail on his set deliverables.

Take the power sector. Fashola knew he had to, literarily, “crack the DNA” of the seemingly intractable power sector, which is the livewire of industry, by introducing fresh ideas. He did not take long to arrive at his  eureka moment, and he set out to deliver to the following goals: increasing power generation from the 4,000 MW the administration met at inception, to a peak of 7,000 mw, in order to achieve “Incremental Power” -as the first visible and practical results of new initiatives; ending  the mind-budgetary under-provisioning in order to get abandoned projects back on track and to execute new power projects , and improved interface with power stakeholders and consumers to secure the critical buy-in for the ministry’s road map . After three and half years in office, Fashola and his ministry have delivered satisfactorily on all these power sector goals.

Under Fashola’s watch, the initiatives which have driven the “Incremental Power” phase of his ministry’s road map include the promotion of off-grid connections and licensing of private Meter Asset Providers (MAP). The result is that, nine universities in the country will have 24-hour supply by the end of the year while major markets across the country, including Ariaria, Sabon Gari, Sura, Iponri and a couple of others in Ondo and Ibadan now have reliable power supply from the off-grid model. Twelve private meter providers have also been licensed to roll out from May 1, 2019 nationwide in a move that will help assuage vociferous and unending consumer protests against the present regime of estimated billing by the Discos.

Budgetary allocations from 2015 till date have also reflected the administration’s success in breaking from the mold of the past, when promises to bridge the nation’s gaping infrastructure deficits were mere political statements totally unmatched by financial provisions and commitments. In 2015 the total budget for the Power ministry was a N9.06 billion with about 50 percent or N4.47 billion earmarked for salaries and other recurrent expenses, leaving a paltry N5.13 billion left for capital expenditure. That sum could barely fund 22 out of the 142 outstanding transmission projects valued at N40 billion which Fashola met on ground.

Such budget under-provisioning was, indeed, the fate of the ministries saddled with infrastructure development, a recipe for abandoned projects and worsening of the infrastructure deficit. The Muhammadu Buhari administration halted the trend. From its very first budget in 2016, the government raised the pathetic N93.66 billion for Power, Works, Aviation, Transport and the Federal Capital Territory in 2015 to a healthy N433.4 billion the next year for Fashola’s Works Power and Housing ministry alone. Indeed, by 2018, the government, even in the face of other pressing obligations and dwindling earnings, had spent a whopping N2.7 trillion on infrastructure in three years, an unprecedented record.


And, unlike the past when the nation has had little to show for the billions of naira expended on infrastructure, demonstrable and visible results have emerged under Fasola’s watch. Yes, power outages still subsist, no thanks to the Discos who lack the capacity to evacuate power load generated by the Gencos.  The difference now, however, is that today with Fashola’s “Incremental Power”, the consumer knows he does not need to wait endlessly for power to be restored. Now, unless there is a major transmission fault in his locality, power is back soon for the consumer’s use after an outage. So, consumers now run generators for shorter periods and spend less money on fuel to power their generators. This is a far cry from the situation up till 2015. Under Fashola’s watch, power generation has increased from 4,000 MW to 7,000 MW and distribution from 2690 MW to 5222 MW as at November 2018.

Meanwhile Fashola has initiated and led a bold effort to help out the problematic Discos by proposing and securing a N72 billion funding from the federal government, which owns 40 percent states in the Discos, for the distribution companies to invest in their equipment and operations in order to evacuate excess power. With this, the gains from the “Incremental Power” phase of  the ministry’s road map  will improve significantly since power outages should be fewer.

On the works front, Fashola got contractors back on site at hundreds of abandoned road projects. Indeed, by the beginning of 2017, work was going on simultaneously on at least two roads in each of the 36 states of the federation.  The roads, including the seemingly jinxed Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, were mainly strategic arterial roads connecting states and major cities, with significant socio-economic benefits in the nation’s six geo-political zones. Construction and rehabilitation of roads involving 565 contracts are currently on-going across the nation under Fashola’s watch.

The minister’s strategy on housing growth strategy was hinged on the pilot of a National Housing Programme in 34 of the 36 states and FCT that had provided land for the scheme. Ongoing construction of different models of houses across the nation with at least 1,000 people – artisans, vendors, craftsmen and suppliers – engaged in each of the sites. Characteristically, Fashola has also sought the buy-in of the private sector by creating a better enabling environment for their participation in housing construction and development. Equity contributions for prospective home owners seeking mortgage loans from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) have been slashed drastically to provide easier access to housing. The institutions, which are parastatals under Fashola’s ministry now require zero percent (from 5 percent) contribution from those seeking mortgage loans up to N5 million and 10 percent (down from 15 percent) from those who want loans of over N5 million.

Even with the prodigious achievements he has notched up  in the first term of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, Mr Babatunde Fashola , the Honourable  Minister of Power, Works and Housing, still has quite some distance to cover to reach the finish line of the “marathon“ which his ministry’s infrastructure road map has been. An encore for him on the next Federal Cabinet is what the nation deserves. Never mind the Discos.

Segun Odunuyi is a Lagos-based public commentator


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