In this interview with Jesusegun Alagbe of Punch Newspaper, actor Bob Manuel had this to say!
Do you also use generator like most Nigerians do?
Of course, I do, even more than most Nigerians. We have no choice due to poor power supply in the country. I rely mostly on generator for my power needs.
For how many hours in a day do you enjoy government power supply in your area?
I cannot estimate that. Sometimes there is electricity today, tomorrow there is none. It’s an on-and-off situation. Sometimes, there could be no power for weeks and I often forget there’s anything called government power supply. It’s just like what every other Nigerian experiences.
Some people switch off some of their home appliances when running on generator so as to save fuel cost. Do you also do that?
I do it, but not necessarily to save cost. It is to save the lifespans of the appliances and the generator. Using home appliances for long when running on generator could cause damage to them and the generator in the long run.
That is why I have three generators in my house. It is not deliberate and it is not to prove being rich, but it is because of the condition we have found ourselves in this country. I run one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the night. By doing this, I will be able to lengthen the lifespan of the generators. Of course, running the generator throughout the day creates a deep hole in the pocket, but what can we do with the epileptic power supply in the country?
How much do you spend on powering your generators per month?
I have stopped calculating the amount. It is painful. You can just imagine if someone is spending just N1,000 per day to run a generator, in a month, you would have spent N30,000. Many Nigerians spend more than that per month. Personally, if I calculate what I spend on powering my generators, I will develop high blood pressure. I don’t bother again.
Do you have any hope that power supply in this country will improve?
No hope. There is none and I will tell you why. The issue of power supply in this country cannot be solved in a day.
The problem was caused by a particular set of people in this country who don’t want to see things work. Twenty years ago, having a generator was by choice, not something everybody had. Only a few people had it. But things got worse afterwards and now the importation of generators is big business and the importers are making billions of naira from it. Some of the importers are big people in this country who are doing everything they can to not make power supply improve. Some of them partially own the companies that manufacture generators.
These people are in the government and wield huge influence. I am pessimistic we can succeed in getting good power supply again in this country. If it is ever going to happen, it will involve the shedding of blood because the cabal will be ready to do anything for their business to keep thriving. I am putting this as a challenge to the government, let them prove me wrong. We can never get stable power supply again in this country.
Some people are going for solar panels in their homes. Are you also considering installing it?
Every option is on the table, but is solar cheap? No, it’s not. People are suffering, there is no money. People are not smiling. These days, you hear stories of food theft because of the bad situation of things. All is not well for now. My appeal to the government is to bring the much desired change. Things are hard on Nigerians and we cannot continue like this.
What advice would you give Nigerians?
Take things in order of priority. Draw a scale of preference. Then, to give a tip on saving fuel, when you turn on your generator, draw the fuel pump valve to half way. I have not really experimented it before, but I think it gives some psychological feeling that you are saving some fuel. Let other Nigerians try it and give me feedback.