By Yakubu Musa
Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi is in Egypt for a refresher crash course in leadership. He is in the country of pharaohs, according to his famous tweet, to “understudy” the Arabs’ power, educational financial sectors as well as how to plan among others. The former Anambra State Governor is, however, to undergo this detailed comparative study of Nigeria and Egypt in 3 days. What Mr. Obi set out to accomplish, no doubt is also a candidate for a page in the Guinness World Record Book.
It’s, therefore, safe to further assume that Mr. Obi must have finished module 1 of his study tour, which was packed with heavy dose of literature and practical aspects needed for a man waiting to lead Africa’s most populous nation.
The leading presidential torchbearer would have found out that, in Egypt, they now even weigh the power they generate in Gigawatts. Yet, he would also be stunned to find out that we are already ahead in terms of reforms as the sector in Egypt is heavily dominated by the public sector while in Nigeria, the government’s involvement has shrunk considerably. One of the breakthrough findings of Mr. Obi would perhaps be the fact that those who designed the reform in Nigeria might have traveled to Egypt and seen it firsthand like him, after all, where did we get the name Power Holding Company in Nigeria (PHCN) when we were searching for the successor firm too much maligned and despised NEPA? The discos, the gencos, and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TNC) have since taken over from the holding company. Yet in the land of pharaohs, the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) established in 1976 as the Egyptian Electricity Authority, is still holding sway as responsible for all power plants, transmission, and distribution.
The job of Mr. Obi is therefore well cut out for him. He just needs to take us back to the PHCN era and let them hold the power again on our behalf.
Since, however, Obi is interested in comparative study (or is a comparative understudy), his additional findings may include discovering that, like in Nigeria, and the Egyptian’s main sources of electricity generation are thermal and hydro.
Yet after some gahwa (Arabian coffee) break, Mr. Obi would like to take a tour of all the subsidiary companies under EEHC. And, by the time he was hosted at the headquarters of the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Obi would be tempted to declare a change of name for our ministry of power on May 29, 2023 to mirror the Egyptians’ renewable energy vision.
I want to, however, presume that Mr. Obi’s second lap of his “understudy” tour would focus on education, education and education.
One of the first secrets Obi might be searching for is why there’s no ASUU strike in Egypt. Thankfully, he would be showered with enough pamphlets on the subject matter at Azhar University in Cairo, which is unarguably one of the oldest ivory towers of learning in the world. Egyptians, no doubt, take education with all the seriousness it deserves. I don’t know how many modules will take Mr. Obi to bring enough takeaways to Nigeria, though.
Yet, before Mr. Obi rushes to catch his flight on the 3rd day of the tour, I don’t think he will not be tempted to seek a visa extension and change flight schedules to “understudy” the country more.
Indeed, tourism should be one of the “among others” Mr. Obi is in Egypt to “understudy”. Mr. Obi would not like to miss an opportunity to “understudy” a sector that contributes close to 400 billion Egyptian Pounds to the GDP. But it’s even in the best mental interest of our next president to round up the tour with some interesting visits to all the historical sites and ancient monuments in Egypt. No doubt, Mr. Obi deserves the therapeutic ride on the back of a dromedary camel around the majestic Sphinx and Giza Pyramids. I would be disappointed if the planners of Mr. Obi excluded the night cruise of the River Nile. They can get him a blindfold if he doesn’t want to see the belly dancing.
Even if Mr. Obi misses all these tourism attractions, at least he will not miss the opportunity to “understudy” Egypt’s aviation sector from the unfinished of “the among others” at Cairo International Airport. Our super prudent presidential hopeful can even make a fortune in the bargain by having a chance meeting with representatives of Alfa Supermarkets at the Economy Lounge of the airport to discuss investment opportunities with Next Cash and Carry.