RIGHTSView: Who will exorcise NEPA’s ghosts?

Posted by News Express | 17 September 2014 | 3,899 times

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Reverend Father Raymond Arazu, the Anambra State-born Catholic Priest, is a well  known and respected professor of theology who has very deep intellectual views on the scholarly understanding of the concept of exorcism, which is regarded widely as one of the most exalted spiritual exercises of all times.

It was from the voluminous scholarly works of Rev-Professor Raymond Arazu that yours truly came face-to-face with the theological concept of exorcism, as a philosophy student in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Like Father Arazu, who became a very influential theologian in the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers, also known as the Spiritans, I was enrolled in a Religious Catholic Senior Seminary whereby, for four years, I had very close intellectual encounter with scholarly writings of theologians in the specific area of exorcism which, to all intents and purposes, are usually very debatable and indeed controversial lines of thoughts.

Before offering reasons for introducing theology in a discussion on the political intrigues tearing down the effective supply of electricity power to Nigerian houses, I will first and foremost explain the etymology of the word, exorcism, so my readers can understand and fully appreciate the fact that behind this classical systemic ineptitude and crass inefficiency and corruption in the nation’s electricity power sector are some demons embedded in the system.

These forces of retrogression and corruption are behind the prolonged inability of the nation's electricity power sector to rise to the occasion and meet with global best practices in the supply of electricity power to millions of Nigerian homes. It is precisely because of corruption and the various demons in the system that over 80 million Nigerian homes are officially rated as not enjoying the services of the epileptic electricity power sector in contemporary Nigeria. And this lack of electricity supply is the most notorious harbinger of mass poverty and the declining performance of the real economic and productive sectors of the nation’s economy.

The House of Representatives, one arm of the National Assembly, has once commissioned a probe by its Power/Electricity Committee in which a very damaging conclusion was reached that over US$16 billion was committed into the electricity power sector, to revamp the near-moribund power plants by the then Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-led civilian administration, from 1999 to 2007. But to the disgust of most Nigerians these humongous public funds were simply stolen by top government officials; and the electricity power sector was still left in shambles. Incidentally, the demon in the system also consumed the chairman of the House of Representatives’ power committee, Mr Ndudi Elumelu, who was accused of bribery. This sensational allegation marred the investigative works of this probe panel. There is, indeed, no doubt that there are several layers of demons in the electricity power sector in this nation and until these demons are exorcised, through legal means, and the forces of corruption identified, named, shamed, prosecuted and sanctioned in the competent courts of law, the electricity power sector may not know stability.

The current Minister of Power, Prof Bartholomew Nebo, an erstwhile university administrator, on assumption of office blamed some demons for the epileptic electricity power supply in the country, despite massive injection of multi-billion United States Dollars of tax payers' funds into several efforts to revive the near moribund and corruption-ridden electricity power sector by succeeding administrations since 1999.  These demons must then be exorcised. 

What then is exorcism? A quick research of the website of www.newadvent.org revealed that the word exorcism is “the act of driving out, or warding off demons, or evil spirits from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice.”

Secondly, exorcism is understood to imply the means employed for this purpose, especially the solemn and authoritative adjuration of the demons, in the name of God, or any of the higher power in which he is subject.

The word, which is not itself biblical, is derived from ‘exorkizo,’ which is used in the Septuagint (Genesis 24:3: cause to swear; III (I) Kings 22:16: adjure), and in Matthew 26:63, by the high priest to Christ: “I adjure thee by the living God…” The non-intensive ‘horkizo’ and the noun ‘exorkistes’ (exorcist) occur in Acts 19:13, where the latter (in the plural) is applied to certain strolling Jews who professed to be able to cast out demons.

These same scholars also stated that expulsion by adjuration is, therefore, the primary meaning of exorcism, and when, as in Christian usage, this adjuration is in the name of God or of Christ, exorcism is a strictly religious act or rite.

Going further, these theologians averred that in ethnic religions, and even among the Jews from the time when there is evidence of its being in vogue, exorcism as an act of religion is largely replaced by the use of mere magical and superstitious means, to which non-Catholic writers at the present day sometimes quite unfairly assimilate as Christian exorcism.

Superstition, they argued, ought not to be confounded with religion, however  history may be interwoven; nor magic, however white it may be, with a legitimate religious rite.

After fully exploring the theological dimension of exorcism, it is now time to assert without any fear of contradiction that the Nigerian electricity power sector is besieged by demons of corruption, inefficiency and political intrigues; and these evils were in high circulation at a recent parley organised by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) when some remnants of the ghosts of the defunct Nigerian Electricity Power Authority now domiciled in the Federal ministry of power as officials kicked furiously at the attempt by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to make regulation on electricity supply and installation standard for the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

This show of shame by these power ministry officials is the second in the series of sinister plots to undermine the authority of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), said to be headed by a man drawn from the civil society background with chain of Harvard University degrees, who is not willing to play ‘game’.

The first attempt in the well-coordinated war of attrition against NERC was the decision of some officials of the Ministry of Power to sponsor a bill before the National Assembly, to create a parallel body to NERC with the underlying objectives of perpetually allowing Nigerians not to enjoy unimpeded access to electricity power and to enable them line their pockets with filthy lucre.

That bill which has some influential members of the House of Representatives as interested parties is called National Electricity Management Authority (NEMSA). Most observers say the proposed bill in the House of Representatives is meant to weaken NERC since most of the proposed functions and mandate of the new institution conflict and overlap with the functions and roles of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Specifically, Electricity Management Services Limited is one of the offshoots (successor companies) of the erstwhile dysfunctional NEPA, which was unbundled into six generating companies: one transmission company and eleven distribution companies, under the Nigerian Electricity Power Sector Reform Policy (NEPSRP) in 2001 and the Electricity power sector Reform Act of 2005.

In the light of the above factual reality, it is safe to conclude that the Electricity management services is one of the ghosts of NEPA that must be exorcised and the open confrontation it waged against NERC only few days back shows how imperative it is for President Goodluck Jonathan to quickly put measures in place to ensure that greedy power ministry bureaucrats do not undermine the expected gains of an efficiently regulated electricity power sector in Nigeria, the type envisaged in the setting up of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.  

There is a groundswell of opinion that political forces bent on scuttling the chances of the current President to run for second term are at work with the sponsorship of the bill; to create a parallel body to NERC and by so doing infuse confusion in the regulatory environment and thereby denying the current Federal Administration any benefit of advertising the success of electricity power sector deregulation as part of the achievements of this government at the centre.

RIGHTSVIEW appears twice a week on Wednesday and Saturdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).

Source: News Express

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