I had settled in my hotel room on a visit to Abuja. For me, three cable TV channels that always keep my attention are Telemundo, Aljazeera and TBN. As I watched Aljazeera after settling into the hotel room, it was yanked off by the cable providers and in its place, a music channel came on. I surfed all the channels, but Aljazeera was nowhere to be found.
We can walk from Mama Odeku’s shop to Mama Ibeji’s store to buy a bowl of garri. We can eat meatpie in Genesis restaurant if Best Bite doesn’t have them in stock. We can buy another shirt from another store if the one we are in doesn’t have what we seek. It’s our choice. And we enjoy the power.
What happens when the power distribution company that our electric lines are hooked to is comatose? It’s not financially palatable to either forget the company’s provision and use the generator daily or move out from that neighbourhood to another. It’s a loss of that power.
And that’s what happened to me in that hotel room. The cable company yanked it off for their own reasons. It won’t be prudential for the hotel to hook up with more than one service provider, but they can.
This seemingly monopolistic stance creeps up because the space isn’t a fair fighting ground. It may never be till eternity comes up on. For now, companies like Dangote and Multichoice are titans, dictating how the cookies are dished. And for many of us without the economic power to match them in their domains, when we feel the powerlessness of choice, we either shout impotently or resign to our fates.