rise Africa rise

i carved out the barks of the tree of life
made out of it sculptures of bleeding hearts
hoping this art will scream for voices unheard
rise Africa rise

i raced across the Virunga mountains
its volacanoes could not endure this agony
the soil mourned for every parted step
howling beasts reechoed the whisperings of the wild
rise Africa rise

i sailed a skiff through the Nile, Congo and Niger
these bodies of water burble and trickle
they carry with them the cries of distressed generations
rise Africa rise

the spirit drum bangs and throbs
acquatic life dance to the tribal tempos
these enslaved hearts are freed of their misery
their voices heard accross distant skies
rise Africa rise

Image by @rcupidore

The Broken Grid: A Nigerian Fossil fuel love story 2

Part 2

Hardship (noun): A condition that is difficult to endure.

You know what’s hard?
Trying to figure out what brand of cookies to get at the grocery store.
No that’s a first world problem.
I’m talking about having the responsibilities of your country’s government on your shoulders. Right that’s out of proportion.
Having to buy cooking gas with your gas tank because there are no household gas networks in this country, well if you’re lucky enough to afford it.
Having to build a borehole to get water.
Having to provide your own electricity by using a backup generator.
Having to pay your medical bills in full if, again, you’re lucky and rich enough to afford going to the hospital.
I know all these seem illogical.

Having to…
Heck I could list a thousand issues,
but I don’t want to break you,
however, I’m going to double dare you,
cause my pen spews
this rage in me does ooze
and none of these politicians can come to the rescue
cause all they do is misuse, abuse
until they annihilate the funds
what a bunch of cabooses.

Hardships come in different shapes and sizes
and the Nigerian hardship is grandest of all,
Just like our parties and humour, it always enthrals
Federal republic of Shalaye.
We grind, we move, no lele.

So how did we end up like this?
Well I’ll have to take you several decades back but this isn’t a history lecture on some so-called giant of Africa.
Giant my a**, the giant’s got a big fat belly that it can’t look down to see it’s stepping on hot coal, that its feet is burning.
And burn will it, down to ashes until it starts working on that big fat rotten belly.
If it does not want the situation to turn deadly.

Enough with big fat bellies,
let’s talk about electric power because without it, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post.
And this isn’t some engineering lecture
so I won’t be talking about how the generation down to utilisation of electric power works.
If you want more light on it, ask Prof. Google.
We tend to ask her just about anything these days,
including if she has an imagination, can you imagine?

Let’s check the facts
In Nigeria, the supply is 5.3 gigawatts
I know that’s not a lot
Our population, 200 million people and counting
I’m not going to compare us with countries like France, a country that’s much more advanced
cause Bruh, like I said,
I don’t want to break you, not yet
Not yet.

That’s 30 Watts per person.
Global average, 900 Watts per person.
What’s the fuss all about?
Nigeria spends three times as much on backup generator power as compared to the grid.
Similar trends are seen in other African countries and South Asia, although, much lower.

Now you’re asking,
How can we stop this type of whacking?
Why can’t we just spend that amount to fix the broken grid?
Why can’t the government fix our shit?
Because some Ogas with big fat bellies will not be able to sustain their big fat bellies.
They need a continuous flow of the big fat pennies.
And anywhere you go, they’ve got silent cronies.

The backup generator business is simply lucrative.
An industry that’s without a doubt very exploitative.
And the consequences, awfully punitive
I hope you found this highly informative

Cause in part 3, we’ll dive into the consequences.


Image source: Bloomberg

The Broken Grid 1: A Nigerian fossil fuel love story

Part 1

Image Source: Financial times

It’s a chilled Friday night and I’m binging on my favourite TV show which talks about political reforms that are needed in my country ( p.s. the reforms hardly ever happen 🙂 ). All of a sudden, there’s a blackout and the TV and lights go off, my living room turns into an abyss of darkness. I manage to locate my phone and turn the flashlight on. Hurriedly, I step out of the door to the backyard to switch on the generator, luckily, I do not have to pull as the generators nowadays come with a starter which is much easier than using the recoil pull.

This is the reality of millions of Nigerians, including the Ogas at the top that have failed to fix the erratic power supply, but oh they do not have to turn the generator by themselves, they have maigadi’s to do that for them. So here we are today, a so-called sane nation with power outages every now and then, a country where the soothing Beethoven-like sounds of backup generators will make your eardrums pulsate, where beautiful exhaust fumes fill the air creating an artistic masterpiece of soot in the sky.

On some nights where you decide not to turn it on because you are low on dirty petrol/diesel or you are just plain broke, you’ll have to decide sacrificing your body to mosquitoes, because I assure you they will have a good barbecue that night. Bon appétit to Mr. Mosquito because Kentucky Fried Human-Blood (KFH) never tasted better. On other nights, the heat due to the weather will make you think of life deeply, I’m sure you can relate and if you can’t, the electricity supply in your country is stable.

This is just the beginning of a love story

It’ll be in free verse form

Sometimes, it’ll rhyme.

It is meant to inform

To help you understand the source of the grime

A story about humans, electricity, fuel emissions, health and our environment.

A story of hardahip, pain, love and greed and of a country that needs development.

By Salim Ubale