By Bose Adelaja
IGBORE community in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, was for over two years enveloped in darkness. Many of its residents whose sources of livelihood depend on electricity could not make ends meet as several steps taken to register their plights with the state authorities met a brickwall.
The situation worsened the condition of living many Igbore residents as not only did prices of goods and commodities skyrocketed, many businesses in the area packed up, while the remaining ones merely struggled to survive.
They traced their ordeal to a weakened and overloaded electrical transformer meant to serve about 20,000 residents of Igbore, Oke-Igbore, Ijeja and Igbein. Due to its over-use and overloading, the 12-year-old transformer frequently broke down.
However, the residents are presently celebrating the end of the reign of darkness in their area. It all began on Friday November 18, 2011, a day they gathered for the funeral service of a front-line educationist, Dr. Mofolorunso Akitoye Kuti, at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Cathedral, Oke-Igbore.
But rather than one of mourning, the occasion soon gave way to smiles by most of those present. This happened courtesy of two new transformers presented by Governor Ibikunle Amosun who came to pay his last respects to the departed soul.
Response to list of requests
The Governor’s gesture in this respect was in response to a list of requests presented to him by the mourning residents as soon as he arrived the church in a convoy. The Governor was particularly moved when he was informed by the Provost of the Cathedral, Very Reverend Sola Obaleye, that the community of over 20,000 residents had been living in darkness for the past two years. He had promptly promised to give the situation his urgent attention.
Some of the residents thought his promise sounded too good to be true and gave expression to their cynicism. They were, however, taken aback when two new 259 KVA transformers arrived the community within 24 hours to replace the rickety 250 KVA transformer which has been a source of pains to the community.
According to the Governor: “One of the transformers was to replace the old one while the other one was to serve as a reliever due to the heavy load on the main transmitter’’.
Speaking with Vanguard Metro, VM, one of the community leaders, Lukman Adebari, said he was amazed by the speed with which the promise was fulfilled, adding that the gesture was a big surprise among residents. “We have placed the two transformers on 24 hours surveillance and also decided to locate the reliever transformer at Oke-Igbore, while the other one is to replace the existing one,’’ said the community leader.
Corroborating Adebari’s view, some residents said they have formed a vigilante committee in order to safeguard the new acquisitions. “We watch over them 24 hours because we don’t want anyone to vandalise or cart them away. We have suffered for so long until God brought the Governor to our area and he brought these transformers,” said Pa Oyewole Akinnubi and Madam Omolara Atoro.
Indeed, it was dancing time in the community on Sunday November 20, 2011, when the Director in charge of electricity in the State, Mr Lanre Bisiriyu, came to inspect the transformers.
Residents used the opportunity shower praises on the Governor for promptly intervening to bring an end to their travail, especially the intractable problem of electricity which has paralysed economic activities in the area for some time.
Septuagenarian Pa Aremu Olawale could not hide his joy as he danced and showered encomiums on the Governor for his kind gesture. Madam Deborah Balogun,who claimed her ice water business collapsed due to the malfunctioning of the old transformer, prayed that God would shed light on the path of the Governor for bringing light to their area.
Alhaja Ramota Omilende and Madam Oduntan Temitayo, were equally appreciative of the gesture. To Alhaja Omilende, that the Governor fulfilled his promise under 24 hours is “something that really surprised me because it is incredible.
“We heard about his promise but many of us did not believe it; we thought it was one of those political promises they make but never bother to fulfill. So we were surprised the following morning when we saw the transformers being offloaded here. It was like we were dreaming”.
While explaining why government decided to bring two transformers, Bisiriyu said: “It was based on the advice of officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, who told us that one transformer would not be a able to effectively serve the entire community and so we advised that two be sent here and the Governor approved it and it was sent the following morning”.