Electricity: Nigeria’s town hosting suspended lake without light for two years
Gbemiga Olakunle, indigene of Ado-Awaye, Oyo State, the town hosting the only suspended lake in Africa tells the story of blackout in the area in the last two years
The fact that Ado-Awaye, an historic town located in Oyo State, South –Western Nigeria is hosting the only suspended lake (Iyake Lake) in the whole of Africa Continent is no longer news to most members of the International Community, especially those that are conversant to the social media and those that are following the trending events/developments in the Tourism industry.
What is news, ironically is the reality on ground that the same community has been without electricity supply for almost 2 years now!
Precisely since May 5, 2018 when the only 2.5 MVA Power Transformer which was donated by the Administration of the former Governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao – Akala in 2011 packed up, the Community Leaders have been running from pillars to poles seeking for solution.
And through the intervention of the present Honourable Minster of Works and Housing before the Power Sector was dropped from his portfolios, the Ibadan Distribution Electricity Company (IBDEC) has made frantic efforts to repair the faulty transformer at least on three occasions, only for the transformer to work for few days before it would pack up again.
Every technical person knows that what is needed is a replacement with a new transformer – possibly of a higher grade (5MVA or 7.5MVA) which Ibadan DISCO (IBDEC) is unenable to provide.
Not relenting, the Ado- Awaye Development Council on behalf of the Community that is housing the Headquarters of the Araromi Local Council Development Area (LCDA) approached two Federal Agencies – Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the Niger -Delta Power Holding Company of Nigeria (NDPHCN) for assistance.
The REA Management advised us to ensure that our Request should be passed through our Representatives at the National Assembly so that the budget could capture it.
Hence, we approached the Senator representing our Community located within the Oyo North Senatorial zone popularly called Oke – Ogun Area who said he could no longer promise us since he is committed to other projects even though our request was his major promise to the Community during his electioneering campaign.
Fortunately for us, a respected Pastor in Abuja who is a friend of our Community promised to pass our request for a new 7.5MVA power transformer through Senator Gabriel Suswan- Chairman, Senate Committee on Power for possible inclusion in the 2020 Budgetary Allocations of the REA. But as at–Tuesday January 7 2020 when we went to the REA Headquaters to verify, this request wasn’t captured.
On the part of the NDPHCN, we were also advised to meet with our representatives at the NASS for speedy processing of the same request which has been sent to the Agency since October 2019. Alternatively, we were given another option of routing our request through the Office of the Vice-President.
At the moment the economy and the social life of Ado-Awaye have nose – dived due to this perennial power challenge that has lasted about 21 months now. Paradoxically, this is the same period that Ado-Awaye is generating good waves in both the National and the International media as the only Community in the whole of Africa that is hosting a Suspended Lake. The second of its kind which is a Heanging Lake is located in Colorado, United States of America.
We are hereby using this medium to appeal to the Concerned Authorities to please come to our assistance and flush out the regime of total darkness (power outage) from our Community with its accompanying vices and discomforts.
Kudos to Fashola.
In a related development, through our Save our Souls (SOS) letters and Requests for Emergency Repairs of the Federal Road that passes through our Community, the Ado-Awaye Development Council (ADC) through our two letters in October and November, and with a reminder in December 2019,has also brought to the notices of Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) the deplorable state of a major road that connects Oke Ogun Area (Oyo North Senatorial Zone) to the rest of the other parts of the South–West.
The Maya – Iseyin Federal Road which branched off from the abandoned Badagry- Sokoto expressway is in a sorry state and has been recording fatal accidents which could have been avoided through proper erection of road furniture and repairs of the failed sections which have become death traps to many motorists that are not conversant to the road.
As a matter of fact, the communities along the Federal Road have to engage the services of some villagers to caution motorists that are plying the road. This is the same road that the Dangote trucks and other articulated vehicles are using to have access to Oke-Ogun Area in order to deliver their products like cement and petroleum products, among other goods since Moniya (Ibadan) to Iseyin state road is still under reconstruction by the Oyo State government.
Nevertheless, in spite of these challenges, on a good note and with the heart of gratitude, the Ado- Awaye Community and its environs want to also make use of this medium to appreciate the Federal Government who has deemed it fit through the Office of the Honourable Minister Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to award the reconstruction of Adekola bridge which is a major bridge along the same Maya – Iseyin Federal road. Actually, it was the only major bridge which was awarded by the Ministry under its 2018 Budgetary Allocation.
When completed, the bridge with a well-maintained Federal Maya- Iseyin road can serve as an alternative route to Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Unfortunately, the reconstruction works on the bridge has been put on hold since October, 2019 due to an issue that occurred between the Contractor handling the project and the Federal Controller of Works (Oyo). Even though the personal issue between them was eventually resolved, it was at the expense of the project which couldn’t benefit further from the 2019 Budgetary allocation of the Ministry.
If not for this snag, as the Facilitator of the project, I have it on good authority that the Contractor could have made use of the prevailing dry season which started in October 2019 to ensure that the bridge project is completed by March 2020 – well ahead of the commencement of this year’s raining session which may slow down the work even if more fund is made available to him since no meaningful earth works can be done during the raining season.
Still on road works, in 2016, Ado-Awaye Development Council (ADC) made another request for the construction of a road to link the tourism sites and kaolin solid mineral deposits in our Community to Ibadan -state capital of Oyo state which is about 68km. And immediately this same Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing –His Excellency Babatude Raji Fashola, SAN directed the then Federal Controller of Works (Oyo) to inspect the proposed road and send in his team’s report.
I was part of the Community leaders who accompanied the team of the Federal Engineers on the reconnaissance survey of this proposed new road whose Technical report I followed and monitored to the Headquarters of the Ministry here in Abuja where the Directors told me that the Technical report was favourable. Nonetheless, they hinted that we needed a political push for the proposed road project to be a reality.
In view of this, we are appealing to the Honourable Minister to lend his political weight to the early construction of this road to facilitate movements of Tourists and Investors within Nigeria and the International Community to boost the tourism and the solid mineral deposits potentials of the place.
In the spirit of the Seasons, we wish the Honourable Minister and his officials and other well-meaning and lovers of Ado-Awaye Community, a very happy and a prosperous New Year.
Live Long Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Gbemiga Olakunle, JP