My name is Eze. Eze Eze Ogali. I’m the head of productions
for BBC Media Action in Nigeria and if you ever meet me, one of the first things
you'll notice is that I like to have my hair close shaven. Not because I'm
growing bald – or maybe I am! – but because I don’t have any time to comb my
hair every morning. Maybe I should wear dreadlocks again like I did way back in
university. But I know my wife and three
young daughters wouldn’t like that! So my only option is to visit my barber,
Big ID, every week.
Big ID! I don't know why he's called that. He’s not
physically big. But perhaps it’s because his dreams are: he believes that
someday, he’s going to hit it big.
He's like many other Nigerian 20-somethings: unable to
secure any well-paid employment in a country where PhD holders struggle to
secure a job as a truck driver. So he opened a barber’s shop. But he gets so
few customers that he can barely afford to pay for the electricity supply his
Big ID in his barbershop in Abuja.
"It's so frustrating," he said to me one day,
as I wondered why he had suddenly increased his fee. "I only get
electricity supply three days in a week, and even at that, the voltage is so
low that I can hardly do anything with it and I pay my electricity bill every
In spite of the country’s natural resources, Nigeria
still struggles to generate a reliable and powerful enough supply of
So to ensure he stays in business, Big ID, like every
other Nigerian, has had to invest in an imported power generator. He buys fuel
from the black market – at a high price of course – to power his noisy and
smoky generator because fuel pumps at the petrol stations are usually dry.
Big ID tells me that he knows his problems are caused by
the political class and while he votes at every election, he tells me he doesn’t
see any evidence that those who he votes into power care about him and his
To help the likes of Big ID, our production team for BBC
Media Action in Nigeria work hard every day creating programmes like our dramas
Story Story and Gatanan Gatanan Ku
(which means Story Story in the Hausa
language). The shows aim to both entertain and inform people across Nigeria
about how the country is governed and what people can expect from those in
We have also started to make a new programme called Talk Your Own – Make Naija Better (Make
Nigeria Better), otherwise known as TYO. A ‘magazine’ radio programme, it
packages together discussions, interviews and investigative reporting to hold
leaders in the country accountable.
So in one recent episode of TYO, we took up the issue of
Nigeria's electricity supply. We interviewed Nigeria's Power Minister, Prof
Chinedu Nebo and he told us that Big ID's case will soon be a thing of the past
as the present government is working hard to stabilise the power sector.
For Big ID's sake and for the sake of millions of
Nigerians who listen to our programmes, we are going to follow up with the minister
to ensure that he does what he said his government is going to do.
After all, Big ID tells me, that is why he voted them