By Chris Chimezie
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, yesterday inaugurated projects for the restoration of electricity supply to the Southern District of the state which has been in darkness for about a decade.
He also held a stakeholders’ meeting with leaders of the southern Senatorial District of the state.
The occasion, which brought traditional rulers, opinion leaders, women groups and the youth of the four local government councils that made up the Southern Senatorial District together was to assure them of the commitment of both the federal and state governments of restoring power to their various towns.
Akeredolu, while thanking residents of the district for their patience, enjoined the youth and people of the district to create an enabling environment for the contractors handling the project in order to deliver the project on time.
He appealed to them to stop blocking highways, noting that work is already on to make electricity available to every home in all the communities in the areas.
He lauded the Federal Government through the Niger Delta Power Holding company for not dashing the hope of the people.
Akeredolu noted that his administration has taken steps to intervene in the issue of power with the installation of solar power plant in the households of Aboto, Igbobini and other parts of the district before their connection to the grid by the Federal Government.
Governor Akeredolu, who stressed that no governor can be happy seeing part of his domain suffering from lack of electricity, maintained that the President who directed the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to look into the matter is committed to ensuring that power is restored to the area.
He appealed to the people of the Southern Senatorial District of the State to cooperate with contractors that would handle the electrification projects in a bid to ensure restoration of power that has been cut off for ten years in the region.
The Governor made this appeal at the Town Hall meeting with the people of Ese-Odo, Ilaje, Irele and Okitipupa Local Government Areas on the restoration of electricity, held separately at Igbokoda and Idepe yesterday.
He noted that before power is restored to the area, the company will work on the rehabilitation of the lines.
The Governor noted that the project, which would be in stages, when completed in one community, will be carried out in another until everywhere is lighted up in no distant time.
Akeredolu, appealed to the Traditional rulers to ensure that the contractors handling the projects are protected for their efforts to bear fruit.
Earlier in his welcome address, Deputy Governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi expressed satisfaction that the meeting is coming on the heels of series of critical interventionist efforts on the part of the Governor to put the problem of lack of power behind the people of the Southern District.
He commended Governor Akeredolu for finally putting an end to the unfortunate development that had thrown the people into an untold hardship for ten years.
Describing the meeting as unique, he said it came at a time that there appears to be a collective resolve of the good people of the Southern Senatorial District against perpetual lack of power supply.
At Aboto Community in Ilaje Local Government Area, Arakunrin Akeredolu flagged-off the commencement of the Independent Power Plant and Mini-Grid projects that would provide light to every home in Aboto and other communities in the Southern Senatorial District of the state.
The projects form part of the intervention projects in the area, which include solar power supply for all homes and national grid extension by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
Describing the project as a necessity, Akeredolu urged residents of the community to protect it and ensure they maximise it for their use.
The Governor hinted that the Solar Plants in their homes will go a long way to putting an end to the almost ten years darkness being experienced by residents of the region, pending the time the electrification project that would supply permanent power is completed.
He said his administration is determined to touch the lives of the people through a series of projects that will bring the desired development to the state.
The Alaboto-elect of Oboto, Oba Oyetayo Ofoaye applauded Governor Akeredolu on his untiring efforts at ensuring that light is restored to every home in the various communities.
He assured that the Solar Panels would be protected from being stolen, adding that, henceforth, following the steps taken so far by the present administration towards restoring power to the region, youths of the community would desist from protesting and would support the realisation of their longterm agitation.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Utilities, Mr Tunji Light Ariyo whose office is handling the project stressed that the Solar Power Plant is one of the bold steps taken by the government to address electricity problem in the area.
Also, Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Engr Ifeoluwa Ayodele noted that the District’s suffering would come to an end as efforts to restore light to the region has commenced.
He said the scope of work for improved electricity supply to area, based on the survey conducted include: the rehabilitation of 5km, 33kv line from Okitipupa to Igodan-Lisa.
Others, according to him, include the construction of 1×7.5mVA, 33/11KV injection Substation, construction of 6km 11KV line in Igodan-Lisa town and the construction of 2Nos. 500KVA distribution SubStations within Ondo State University of Science and Technology campus and 8Nos.300 KVA, 11/0.415KV Distribution Transformers in Igodan-Lisa.
While describing President Mohammed Buhari as a man of his words, he commended him for bringing his pledge to restore light to the region to fulfilment, adding that the project, when completed, would supply uninterrupted power supply to the region.
Ayodele assured that youths of the communities would be offered employment opportunities by the contractors handling the project aimed at empowering youths of the region.
Also speaking, Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Frederick Akinruntan and the Kalasuwe of Apoiland, Oba (Prof) Adedamola Amuseghan lamented the situation which had plunged people of the region and their business activities into hardship.
While thanking the Akeredolu administration and the Federal Government for fulfilling their promise to ensure that light is restored to the area, the monarchs assured of the communities’ supports towards ensuring the timely completion of the project.
They, however, appealed to the aggrieved youths to exercise more patience and cooperate with the contractors to ensure that the project does not exceed its completion period.
At Idepe, Jegun of Idepe-Okitipupa, Oba Adetoye Obatuga, who expressed sadness over many years of darkness that had subjected people to various hardship, hinted that efforts made by traditional rulers in the area aimed at restoring lights to the area in the past proved abortive.
While lamenting the huge amount spent on petrol and diesel to power their generating sets, he appealed to government to speed up the project and ensure that darkness becomes history in the area.
On the Governor’s entourage were: Secretary to the Ondo State Government (SSG), Hon Ifedayo Abegunde, Commissioner for Education, Mr Femi Agagu, his counterpart for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa, Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan and some other members of the State Executive Council.