… as govt claims it needs N8bn to install ‘obsolete’ plant
- Amosun’s administration lacks focus – Residents
- Claims laughable, says ex-gov Daniel
With the increasing irregular power supply in Nigeria, over N10 billion worth of power plant projects have been found abandoned in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, by the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun, since 2011.
Findings revealed that while Ogun residents grope in the dark, a N9 billion power plant equipment rots away at Oke-mosan, Abeokuta, the state’s capital.
While many state governments across the country have continued to make efforts to improve the supply of electricity within their domains, investing huge funds in various kinds of Independent Power Project equipment to bolster power supply, the Ogun State governor appears not to bother, as he has abandoned an IPP built by his immediate predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
The state, which prides itself as the new hub of industries in the country, allows the mini-power plant equipment to rot and waste away while citizens and businesses groan under the thick blanket of near-permanent darkness.
Expectedly, the elements of weather are already taking their toll on the mini-power plant equipment packaged in about 41 wooden crates, abandoned at the car park of the state secretariat in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, since 2011, when the Governor Amosun-led administration came into office.
The wooden crates housing the equipment are dilapidated, broken and have become haven for rodents of all kinds.
Lack of power has adversely affected the supply of potable water across the state, including Abeokuta, the capital. The taps in many parts of the state have for years run dry and residents have had to resort to several other means to get clean water because the state water corporation has been somewhat comatose. Inadequate supply of electricity has seriously hampered the operations of the water corporation, as it has become impossible for it to pump water into pipes across the state.
Interestingly, however, one of these abandoned mini-power plant equipment installed by the immediate past administration at its twilight in 2011, has since been supplying electricity to the state government secretariat, the Governor’s Office in Oke-Mosan and the Government House in Isale-Igbehin.
Not only that, the plant also supplies electricity to other key government establishments while the surplus is also said to be sold to private organisations, including some highbrow privately owned schools located outside the Abeokuta metropolis.
Inadequate supply of electricity has seriously hampered the operations of the water corporation, as it has become impossible for it to pump water into pipes across the state
Due to inadequate electricity supply, most of the artisans and technicians in the state have overnight become commercial motorcycle, popularly called Okada, riders, while many others have resorted to engaging in menial jobs just to make ends meet.
A commercial motorcycle rider, Kazeem Jimoh, told our correspondent that he and many of his colleagues were forced into the okada business due to the constant power failure being experienced in the state capital.
Jimoh said in order to feed his family and eke out a living, he had to abandon his original job as a trained welder for commercial motorcycle business.
“I used to be a welder. That is the trade I learnt, but since I don’t have that kind of money with which to purchase a generator for my kind of work, I had to close shop and move out to get something else with which to feed my family,” he said.
Similarly, a petty trader, Mrs. Yetunde Oloyede, lamented the situation, saying, “I used to have an ice block-making business, but since the electricity situation worsened and I cannot afford to continue to fuel my generator because it’s not profitable, I had to quit the business. You can see some of my ice block-making machines out there. Our government should please do whatever they can to give us electricity to do our business.”
A businessman, Mr. Kunle Adeyemi of Obantoko area, advised that the state government should stop playing politics with the provision of a very important public utility.
Adeyemi stressed that since the government had continued to use the only mini-power plant installed by the previous administration, it should look into the possibility of installing the remaining for the benefit of the people.
He alleged that most private business organisations in the state were either in a dying stage or have completely collapsed due to inadequate supply of electricity and the exorbitant rate of fueling generators to run their operations.
He said, “I don’t know why we like playing politics with everything in this country. This same government has been using the one installed by their predecessor to generate electricity for their own use and even selling the surplus to privileged private organisations.
“So, what stops them from installing others, instead of allowing them to rot away? Yet, people and businesses are really suffering. It’s not the government or governor who bought them that matters to the ordinary people.”
A civil servant, Yinka Balogun, described the abandoned equipment as “real evidence” of the culture of waste that has become the bane of development in Nigeria.
Balogun wondered why equipment purchased at such a huge sum with the tax payers’ money should be allowed to waste away.
“You can imagine what we do to ourselves in this country. PHCN cannot supply us electricity, yet some people in government feel they are the only ones who deserve to enjoy good things of life. They’ve been enjoying the only one they installed, which has been serving them and they even sell the excess generated to others, as we understand. Yet, they don’t feel the remaining citizens too should have access to electricity. This is too bad!” He said.
Another civil servant, Mr. Wale Odusanmi, urged the Governor Amosun administration to consider the provision of electricity for the residents of the state in order to complement his ongoing “Mission to Rebuild” Ogun State projects.
Odusanmi said, “Our governor should also try and provide electricity for us in Ogun. We are happy with the roads, bridges and other infrastructure he has put in place, but adequate electricity supply will crown everything he has been doing since he came into office.”
EQUIPMENT ARE OBSOLETE, TOO EXPENSIVE TO INSTALL- GOVT
However, the state government has insisted that the power plant equipment is outdated and would, therefore, not expend funds on their installation. In actual fact, the equipment have since 2014 been put up for sale, but potential buyers have yet to indicate interest.
The immediate past state Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who is now the nation’s Minster of Finance, however, once told one of our correspondents that the government decided not to install the N9 billion electricity equipment because they had become obsolete and too expensive to set up.
She had disclosed that the state government was advised by power experts to sell off the over 20-year-old equipment, because of its old age, rather than expend about N8billion required for their installation.
Adeosun had added that the power experts further said that the N8 billion being demanded for the installation of the equipment, could be used to purchase a much more modern and state-of-the-art electricity generating equipment.
She had then said, “When we came into office, we met the power equipment on ground. N9billion has already been spent on that equipment; they were asking for additional N5billion. In addition, they wanted N3billion to install it.
“When you want to spend that kind of money, you have to do cost benefit analysis, which we did. We called in some power experts, they looked at the equipment and they said this equipment is about 20 years old. To install it with N3billion, with that money you can buy brand new equipment, which is going to be far more efficient than that average equipment.
“They said if you have that kind of money, we do not advise you to implement this equipment. I’m sure you’ve gone past that power plant and seen the plumes of black smoke coming from the power plant. Go to Dangote’s plant at Ibese, look at the tiny, efficient, quiet power plant and that’s modern technology. So, that’s why we took that decision and what we are trying to do is and we’ve told the contractor, look for somebody who can buy this and let us use the money to buy something modern.
“It is not new equipment, it is used equipment that was sold to us. We’ve already paid N9billion, if you have any buyer, maybe you can help us to advertise.”
When contacted by one of our correspondents, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otuba Dayo Adeneye, declined to make any comment on the abandoned power plant equipment.
CLAIMS ARE LAUGHABLE- DANIEL
Reacting to the allegations, Daniel said that the claim was laughable. He also described Amosun’s government as mischievous.
The former governor, who spoke through one of his media aides, Mr. Steve Oliyide, had said, “Let me state clearly that those equipment are of the best high quality standard, and that this unfortunate decision is in continuation of the mischievous politics of discontinuing all the policies and programmes of the previous administration.
“I will expect that members of the Ogun State House of Assembly will ask to conduct a probe inviting independent experts in the field to come and assess the equipment.
“Is it not laughable and inverted logic that the government of Senator Ibikunle Amosun said it was going to sell the equipment, which it claimed are obsolete? My elementary knowledge of marketing -buying and selling- implies that you can only sell what the buyers want to buy.
“So if the equipment is obsolete, who do you want to sell them to? One would think he would ask to return them to the original manufacturers and claim some warrantee. I think it’s time we stopped mischief in political administration for the good of the good people of Ogun State.”