Constant “light” – the Nigerian euphemism for electric supply, is the most valuable upgrade (or re-brand) Nigeria needs at this time for obvious reasons.
Dr. Bukola Saraki, Kwara State Governor.
Given the several somersaults from the presidency and the House of Rep over the implementation and investigation of the national power projects, respectively, it is uplifting to read how kwara State went about taking care of business, locally.
Daily Trust reported back in February, excerpts:
What the Kwara State government built was not a power generating plant.. but it simply built a transmission station on a 2.5 hectares of land at Ganmo that could better utilize and maximise the available power that is been generated by the existing generating stations but wasted because of inadequate power infrastructures. Now, the state capital and the towns and villages in the state heave a sigh of relief for this simple foresight…
Residents in Ilorin city centre say they enjoy electricity for days at a stretch without power cut…
But nowhere is the impact more significant than in small scale industries…
There are others who had noticed the differences and are quietly staging a comeback to the businesses they abandoned and took to commercial motorcycling because of the quick money to be made.
Among his peers, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the state Governor, demonstrates an uncommon out-of-the-box mentality to governance.
For instance, about 2-3 years ago when Zimbabwe sent its white farmers packing following a wide scale land recovery exercise, Saraki was quick to see how and where the sacked farmers could fit into his state’s agricultural blueprint. He invited scores over and offered them sweet deals — free land, soft loans, and government support. Many stayed, and have been able to turn their losses in Zimbabwe into gains in Nigeria.
The same mindset was at play when the state took over this federal power project when it was about to be abandoned:
“When the state government came in it (power project) was about to be abandoned,” according to one of the governor’s advisor. ‘The Obasanjo administration funded the project and paid the entire off-shore component, remaining the onshore component which cost about N800 million. It was at this point that the Yar’adua administration came in and suspended all the national power projects in order to carry out proper investigations on them. The Kwara State government felt it cannot wait to get the benefit of the project so it started funding the project’.”
Kwara power project is the first and the only one to be completed. It’s been in operation since January 2009. And it wouldn’t have happened if Dr. Saraki and his government had not been forward thinking.