Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has said his administration is committed to achieving 24 hours electricity supply for every household in the State by the end of year 2021, despite continued vandalisation and alarming theft of power installations.
Akwa Ibom State has an estimated population of six million people.
Governor Emmanuel said availability of electricity should be a matter of right of every resident of the State.
Speaking at a media briefing as part of event marking the State’s 32nd anniversary, the governor emphasised government’s commitment to improve electricity supply as part of a deliberate plan to enhance the ease of doing business in the State.
He said the Federal Government was not even paying the state for the power it is generating and supplying to the National grid, adding that the Ibom Power company has been supplying 115 megawatts of power to the National grid.
“Akwa Ibom State is one state that has put in more money in power than even what the Federal Government has put into any state in this country. There are some areas in the state that we generate electricity that can go round everybody.
“We generate 115 megawatts and the Federal Government is not even paying us for what we are giving to the National grid, it does not make sense. I told the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo when he came here, that we are going to do something drastic about it.
“We are going to check how to do our transmission and we are going to set up our own transmission company. I pay a lot of money generating power, we have enough electricity but PHED just decides not to give us light.
“When I ask, they tell me a lot of people in the villages are not paying for electricity. What about the assets I provide? I have not even been given credit for that; I invest so much and I get so little. The only way to solve that is to get our own transmission company and get ourselves out of PHED. We are working seriously on that.
“The Vice President just launched power for all by end of year 2021. We want to run with it; power for all by year 2021 is real,” he stated.
“We are very serious about actualising the power for all by year 2021. My administration has invested heavily in power infrastructure but we are not getting an output that is commensurable to our investment. Despite this, we are developing a plan to ensure that the State is self-sufficient in electricity by 2021.”
“When we came in, Ibom power plant was not working. But, through our efforts, General Electric has rehabilitated it. We are trying to find a way around the challenge of power distribution which is exclusively handled by the federal government.”
Governor Udom Emmanuel administration has built three power sub-stations within four years. The newest of the sub-stations at Ekim, Mkpat Enin local government, was commissioned alongside a flour mill and plywood factory, by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday 21st September, during events marking the 32nd anniversary of the State.
However, Governor Emmanuel has decried alarming theft and vandalisation of power installations like armoured cables and transformers in different parts of the State.
“Recently, we procured about 20 transformers, but they were stolen before they even arrived the State. The Commissioner of Police said they recovered ten of it. They had also arrested a syndicate which specializes in stealing electrical equipment and recovered another 19 transformers.”
“It is our people who are doing this in connivance with people outside the State. We need to discourage this.”
He said his administration’s commitment to the actualization of its completion agenda is irrevocable, calling on the people of the State to avoid attaching political biases to the successes of his industrialisation drive.
“When we are celebrated as we currently are, as the only State with a fully functional airline, it is not just a PDP achievement, it is an Akwa Ibom achievement. When the 18 industries that we have successfully attracted and established, help create jobs for our teeming youths and the attendant value chain, it is not just a PDP achievement, it is an enduring Akwa Ibom story.”
“The Flour mills that was commissioned by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo a few days ago is for all Akwa Ibom people. The Plywood and Timber Factory that was equally commissioned by the Vice President, will not only be defined as a PDP achievement, neither will the furniture industry that will benefit from this factory be used mainly by PDP members – it will be an Akwa Ibom success story. So, it will be wrong for anyone to play politics with these achievements.”
Governor Emmanual encouraged journalists in the State to play-down on sensational political reportage, but should focus on helping the government to market the investment potentials of the State.