I visited a big church in Abuja in 2005, and that was the title of the sermon that day. I’ll pick a few points from it.
In 2009, there was a demonstration in Lagos State protesting the unending power paralysis. It was organised by Daystar Christian Centre and tagged Let there be Light.
You might have read about the argument that “darkness” is nothing; we can only have the absence of light. That is what we call darkness.
Nevertheless, everything in life revolves around light. Even those who embrace darkness do so with their eyes on the light, not on darkness.
My secondary School physics teacher even argued that since all energy is from the sun and energy is everything, then the sun could be God. Again, it’s about light.
Now, there is the darkness of the night. It can be helped by electricity. Then there’s the darkness of power outage. The lasting solution is enlightenment. Nations that have light have grown in “light” and technology with learning.
The bigger darkness is the absence of enlightenment; of learning; of education. And this is the darkness pervading Africa… for now.
About 2014, a particular State was said to have the highest number of school-age children out of school in Nigeria. The servant Governor protested in the media. And on a TV show, I heard the journalists tell him to compare the number of billboards bearing his face in the state capital with the number of schools renovated since he came to office. That was the end of the back-and-forth, but not of the resulting darkness.
You may agree with me that the breakage of education in Nigeria and Africa is the basis for our power outage. If that’s true, then education will be the foundation of our improved power supply.
For example, Ahmadu Bello University built a petroleum refinery a few years ago with a capacity of one barrel per day. Yes. It consumes only 33,000 litres of crude oil per month. Imagine if every University in Nigeria makes one of such. Imagine if every next University chooses to upscale by only 10 barrels per day above the last university’s.
I’ve met 3 contemporaries who built neon signage as their University undergraduate project… done almost 20 years ago. Yet, in my many travels around Nigeria and a few other African nations, I’ve not seen any junction whose traffic lights were built by the students of the University around the corner; not even on the campuses.
In his book My Transition Hour, former President Goodluck Jonathan writes about his two-pronged approach to fighting insurgency in NE Nigeria. The short-term one was the military option. The long-term one was the building of schools. By the end of this term, 160 boarding schools for almajiris (homeless boys) were Operational in Northern Nigeria. I suspect that if only 20 students of those schools “catch the light,” there may be 3,200 ambassadors of light soon to be manifested in those places.
In your efforts at precipitating change in Africa this year, consider the education of at least one child. It will make a great impact in the long run, for a longer time, and it could replicate itself many times over.