Following the directive of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, for the fast track of reconnection of communities that have been denied electricity in Ondo State, a major milestone was accomplished yesterday between Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) and the state government.
BEDC yesterday gave assurance to Governor Akeredolu that the restoration of power supply to the Southern Senatorial District of the State, starting with Ode Aye would begin in December 2017. This is regardless of the contentious bills or existing payment disputes.
The parley also agreed to jointly work together to ensure power supply later get to Okitipupa which is a major load centre in the Southern region.
In the words of the regional head of BEDC, Mrs. Kunbi Labiyi, "the goal is for Ode-Aye and adjoining communities or those on its paths to have light before Christmas regardless of the status of the existing dispute between these communities and our company as a show of goodwill to Mr. Governor in accordance with the spirit of this meeting".
The modality to extend this gesture to Okitipupa will be firmed up between BEDC and the representatives of the Governor, Engr. Tunji Ariyomo, who presided at the parley and who doubles as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Utilities.
The government's representatives emphasized the need to extend the first or early efforts to Okitipupa being a major load centre which has been the traditional headquarters of the entire district since 1914.
Not only that, the Governor's team also secured commitment from BEDC that Ogbagi Akoko, Irun Akoko and adjoining communities in Ondo North Senatorial District will be connected in early December 2017 and that the abandoned transmission sub station in Oke Agbe has started receiving attention.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu's Administration has prioritized power and water supplies in Ondo State among major utilities with the objective of quietly improving the quality of service delivery by utility providers.
Other government representatives at the meeting included Engr. Julius Adeloye the General Manager of the Ondo State Electricity Board (OSEB), Engr. Mrs. Bankole Ajayi, the Director of Operations of OSEB, Engr. Williams Abe, the Chairman of Akure branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers while Princess Abike Bayo-Ilawole, the daughter of Olubo of Obenla, one of the traditional rulers in the affected communities in Ondo South senatorial district witnessed the parley.
The Special Adviser later informed members of the media that the government is in serious negotiations with power service providers to get mini-grids established to serve some of the communities that may be too far away or which may not benefit from immediate reconnection exercises by BEDC as well as to introduce metered stand alone solar system for hundreds of individual households in the deprived or underserved communities pending full resolution of the power issues in the region.
Engr. Ariyomo also added that the state is revisiting the abandoned 30mw Ore Independent Power Project with a view to ensuring its completion and that it has the potential to guarantee power supply to the entire Southern senatorial district.