N-Power: A scheme that solves no thing

One of the most important documents for N-Power registration is the possession of a valid means of identification like National ID card, Voters card, Driver’s license or an International passport. But do we all have these things?

N-Power: A scheme that solves no thing
Crowd waiting for their turn to register for their voters card

During the 2019 election season, there was a a lot of buzz and rush amongst citizens to register for their voters card in preparation for the election that held in May. Myself and a couple of friends inclusive all decided to wake up as early as 5.30am in order to be able to beat the crowd that would be present at the centre for the registration at Ojo local government secretariat, but to our utter shock and surprise, our number on the queue was over 400+ even though we got there as early as 6am. There were fewer officials and even fewer systems for these officials to enable smooth registration process.

This goes to show the level of unpreparedness INEC was in handling the distribution of voters card to every eligible citizen of the country. Well, cut long story short, we weren’t able to successfully register for our voters card, and the portal was shut till there was another election cycle, when the population rush to acquire the voters card would overwhelm the electoral commission again, repeating the same ineffective method of distribution that has always plagued the commission.

N-Power: A scheme that solves no thing
INEC logo

Similarly, I applied for the National ID card at GT Bank, Ojo, Lagos few years ago, and the case was similar. On my first visit to the bank, I spent over 5 hours with nothing to show for. First, the site refused to come up, then when it finally did, it was another issue again, then another and another. For 5 days, I roamed the premises of the bank, all in a bid to acquire a means of identification for myself as a citizen of this great country, Nigeria. All to no avail.

I’d always heard about the payment of some amount to officials in charge of these registrations in order to be able to become a full-fledged Nigerian, but I always thought it was just words.

N-Power: A scheme that solves no thing
NIMC logo

On Wednesday, 1st of July, I attempted to register for the National ID card again at Ota local government secretariat in order to be able to enroll for the N-Power scheme as a graduate who is currently unemployed, but the website, I was informed was still down. The same occurrence that happened years ago. What changed? Nothing. Instead, I was told by officials to “settle” as usual so that I could get my ID card under a day or two.

On Thursday, 2nd, I decided to change my location. I went down to Ifako-Ijaiye local government secretariat to try and get my registration done, but was informed by officials within the premises that the NIMC registration officers had not been around since the commencement of the lockdown, and their offices empty and without anyone to run it.

While I was grieving at the level of luck I’ve had with my country, an official chipped in that if I could settle boys, I would have my ID card by the end of the day. In his voice, he said “10k pere ni. Before today finish, you go don see ur ID card bros”. On NIN website, it was written clearly that registration was free, but it seems here in Nigeria, nothing is free.

How then is the N-Power scheme meant to function and work effectively for the purpose it was built for when its very foundation is buried in greed and corruption? Since the commencement of the program, while others have gained positively, collectively as a nation, the poverty index has increased drastically, earning our nation, Nigeria, the title “World poverty capital” surpassing even India who’s population far exceeds ours.

Is N-Power then the answer to Nigeria’s pain? Is that the cure to the soaring unemployment rate in the country? Or it’s just another scheme by politicians to embezzle more of the taxpayer’s funds meant to draw the Nation out of poverty?

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