#Editorial

The Erinje N8.1b Power Project

ACCESS to electricity is undoubtedly a fundamental necessity to the development of any community since it affects the daily lives of countless individuals. It is essential for a wide range of activities, from powering homes and businesses to enabling communication and transportation. No economy can thrive without reliable and affordable electricity. That is why the newly commissioned N8.1b 132KV Erinje power project in Okitipupa Local Government area of Ondo State represents a beacon of hope to an area had  been without electricity for almost 15 years.

 IT is an understatement to say that the economy of the area had been grounded for so long. Majority whose sources of survival require electricity lost their means of livelihood only to start looking for what to do while those who could afford generator would have to charge exorbitant rates as a result of cost of fuel. Reading for students have not been so easy to mention few of the negative effects of the issue. Although, some of the residents have embraced solar power as an alternative, but installing a solar power that can power heavy duty machines is expensive. So it has been a serious setback for the people.

BEFORE now, there had been accusations and counter accusations of why the electricity of five out of the six local government areas in the Southern Senatorial District of Ondo State was cut off. The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) responsible for supplying electricity to the area had accused the people of not paying for its service while the people had complained of outrageous bills. Efforts by leaders of the affected areas and the state government to restore electricity for the people for the past 15 years had not yielded good results until Federal Government’s intervention recently.

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THE Hope, commends the Federal Government for taking the bold step to begin the process of restoring electricity to the area and for bringing the multi-billion naira power project to the commissioning stage considering the huge resources required. At the time when the project was proposed, it sparked quite a bit of controversy and debate among stakeholders. On one hand, proponents of the project believe that the project has the potential to significantly uplift the standard of living of residents and stimulate economic growth in the region. There were also those who questioned the necessity and feasibility of such a costly project. Some argued that the funds could be better allocated to other pressing needs in the area. But the federal government took the bold step which led to the commissioning recently.

FOR  a fact, when the project is fully completed and light is restored to the area, small scale businesses will pick up and the economic growth of the area will be enhanced leading to improved standard of living for the people. We believe it will facilitate the Olokola projects, the seaport and other ones. We foresee the area as the future economic capital of the Southwest.

HOWEVER,  a lot needs to be done if the project will be fully completed. The federal government must go beyond commissioning and ensure that light is restored to the area within the shortest time possible. It must check materials like transformers, cables and other damaged accessories are restored quickly. BEDC should also be alive to its responsibilities of metering consumers in the area as soon as light is restored. It must ensure adequate distribution and correct billing of the people since one of the complaints was that some electricity consumers pay exorbitantly while some pay less. So this must be carefully looked into immediately.

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WHILE  congratulating the people for having electricity soon after 15 years, The Hope calls on the community to reciprocate the federal government’s good gesture by keying into the project. They must be ready to carry out their financial obligations by paying for what they consume. They must also be ready to guard the project as a matter of life and death considering what they went through in the last 15 years and the huge resources involved in such projects. They must guard it jealously and protect it from vandals and thieves.

BESIDES, The Hope urges state and local governments to consider alternative power supply like solar and wind which are even cheaper than hydro power as they cannot continue to rely on the federal government to fix their problem for them every time.

Ultimately, the Erinje N8.1 billion project has the potential to bring about positive economic changes and development in the area. The Hope appeals to all stakeholders to work together to ensure that the project is carried out in a responsible and inclusive manner.

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The Erinje N8.1b Power Project

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