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It’s always a great time for me to toast bread for breakfast whenever there is light from PHCN and if there is bread in the house. Of course we can count how many times these conditions are complete. Toasting bread could be an interesting thing to do especially in the morning. Somehow, this is now a routine and so we take advantage of the very few times we get remembered by our dear PHCN to toast bread for breakfast. Depending on PHCN could be frustrating because of the epileptic power supply especially in my area. A flash of light from PHCN could get the whole house gleaming with joy. So, like every other good time, PHCN came visiting this morning. I was alarmed by the joyous shouts of little children from the batcher estate near my house “up NEPA! Then I looked ah! There is light... I knew the next thing to do -toast bread. Mama calls almost immediately “Bola! Inotide o”! “I know” Bola replied. Then she told me to do the expected when there is bread and light. Toast bread!

Alright! Bola swings into action.
Cleans the toaster and plugged it on to heat up. She got the oil for greasing the bread and the eggs for filling. Mind you, this toast is for Helen and Bola. She gets an extra plate to place the finished toasted bread. Red light turns green. Good! Toaster is hot! Bola opens the toaster, placed two greased and filled slices of bread on the lower part of the toaster, the she does the same to two more slices of bread and places on the upper part of the toaster. Good to go! This will be for Helen and the next will be for Bola, she thought to herself excitedly.

Where do you think this story is leading to? Like most Nigerian movies, it is normal to predict the end of the story and so, maybe you already know the end. Can I say your guess is good as mine? Well, I can't be too sure...

Anyway, as I was saying, just few minutes after I gladly closed the toaster my dear visitor left unannounced. Ouch! Light was gone! What’s her problem? Is it a crime to enjoy her company for at least 30 minutes or at least give me some prior notice before going? For crying out loud this visit is barely 10 minutes…. PHCN should develop means of giving us notice before they take their light. Maybe they should blink the light 100 times with the space of 5 minutes each! Now, without notice my toast is aborted. What will happen to my Toasts?

Since the 90s, we have been hearing phrases and clauses of Nigeria power supply promises by promising failed leaders. I don’t blame them. It’s because they don’t make toasted bread in their houses.

NEPA (National Electric Power Supply) was established in 1972 to develop and maintain an efficient, coordinated and reliable power supply system in the country. What we face today in Nigeria is just an opposite of this mission. No wonder we rename it to Never Expect Power Always (NEPA). I think the mandate to NEPA would have been to under develop and maintain an inefficient, uncoordinated and unreliable power supply system in the country. That one for make sense for we Naija people. At least we will not have a basis to criticize NEPA. For many years Nigeria has been witnessing erratic power supply due to the inability of the defunct NEPA to generate and distribute enough electricity to meet the nation’s demand.

Perhaps they thought the name NEPA is the cause of the epileptic and unreliable power supply experienced since the 1960s. So they did re-brand the name to a more dangerous name! What is PHCN? This name Power Holding Company of Nigeria is making matters worse oh! They just decided to hold the power and render my toasting null and void.

Poor power supply has really affected the manufacturing sector in Nigeria starting with my toasted bread manufacturing industry at home, not to mention the Chalk Manufacturers.

Where are the Candle Manufacturers? Where are the Dry cell & automobile Manufacturers? Shoe polish Manufacturers? Even Matches and Toothpicks are imported now. Very soon they will start importing toasted bread from China. Who no go buy? I will be the first to patronize them. It so sad that industries like the Textile firms, paint firms, Vehicle assemblers, steel firms and petrochemical firms are ailing. The only Manufacturers operating at a sustainable level in Nigeria are Food & beverages, Leather sub-sector and Household products.

My fear for Nigeria is that the Food & beverages sector should not be closed down due to epileptic power supply as my bread toasting was put on hold today ….Na only vegetables we go dey chop oooo!

So, what will happen to my toast? Re-toast? Put the toast in a pot and fry it? This kind of advice will obviously be coming from Uma the-Clown! Or do I Wait for power to come back? So I will leave raw eggs in bread until PHCN restores the light? Putting on the generator wasn’t an option at all.

Well I was already making boolee for my mum with the oven and so I thought………hmmmmmmmmmmm! Here we go on experimental cookery. So I removed the bread from the toaster and placed them in the oven with the boolee. I was waiting with expectation for my toast. Have you ever thought of toasting bread with an oven? What was the result? For me, I had a black toast! But then I just discovered another way of toasting bread without depending on PHCN. I learnt that it is the bread and not the boolee that needs much heat. So I removed my specimen from the oven and placed the remaining greased & filled bread into the oven. Although there was 20% burnt offering from the 2nd batch of the toast, it was pretty fair enough. Oh well, subsequent ones will be 0% burn hopefully.

Really there is always a way out. There is really no limitation in life. The government is not your problem. Life is beautiful. Look within and make the most out of whatever you have. Cheers! Come join me as I munch my oven toast. lol! I can’t wait to toast bread.

So without PHCN, there is always a way out!

Story by
Bolanle Iyowu and Uma Ben
© 2012.


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