By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has formally commissioned the 8.8 Megawatts Mainland Independent Power Project that will supply constant power supply to both Federal and state government establishments, saying Lagos is capable of providing stable power supply to residents if backed by enabling legislation.
He also charged Nigerians not to accept any excuses for the inability of the government at the centre to provide stable electricity.
Fashola who spoke at the state Electricity Board, Old Secretariat, Ikeja location of the power plant noted that those who promised steady power supply in the past four years have shown that their best is simply not good enough having failed to deliver on the promise.
He described the successful completion of the Mainland Independent Power Project as a demonstration that the present government is one that makes a public commitment and is duty bound to ensure that it stands by it.
He said the 8.8 MW Power plant has been made possible through a Public Private Partnership between the Lagos State Government and a consortium of Mainland Power Limited, CET Power and Solad Electric Limited.
The MIPP would serve agencies like the Lagos State Electricity Board, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Lagos State University College of Medicine, Area F Police Command, the High Court, the Office of the Chief Judge, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the State Water Corporation, the Old Secretariat complex, the State Ministry of Housing Estate and Eko Engineering Limited.
Others include street lights covering a stretch of 20 kilometres from the Old Secretariat, the Ikeja Flyover, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Agege Motor Road, Ikorodu Road, Jibowu to Maryland, Palm Avenue in Mushin and Ikeja GRA.
Fashola stated that as it is currently constituted, the state government has operated within the limits allowed states and has clearly demonstrated that steady power supply is indeed deliverable to the people.
According to the Fashola, “If tomorrow, the National Assembly legislates that states should generate and distribute power, a state like Lagos will conveniently generate its own electricity and distribute same to its residents”.
Stressing that there are many lessons to learn from the success which the state had made of its Independent Power Plants, the governor expressed concern that “Nigeria is the only country with oil and gas that is without steady electricity.”
According to him, nations like Gabon, Ghana which also have oil and gas in Africa do not have electricity problem just as the whole of Europe depends on Russia for her gas supplies but had never experienced electricity difficulties.
He reiterated that when the administration gave a commitment that the MIPP would be commissioned in 2014, it was conscious that it must be accomplished adding that the promise was made then from an informed position.
Fashola, who also spoke on the focus on young people to power the energy sector, said the present administration is committed to harnessing the undying spirit of the young people to develop the sector adding that although the wisdom of the elders would also be needed in forging ahead, space must be opened for the young ones to participate.
“Nigerians as a people must also agree on the fact that there is a need to conserve energy because it is practically impossible to have unfinished energy”, he said adding that just as Nigerians have introduced the word ‘flash’ into the telecommunication lexicon to conserve, the same should be done with electricity too.
Fashola added that from the time of Ehingbeti Summit earlier in the year, the Government knew that the way forward was in solving the energy problem and was committed to doing that.
The governor, who also sought to know why a Power company like CET Power, with its proven record of success with building power plants, did not qualify as a preferred bidder in the privatization process of the Power Sector by the Federal Government, pointed out that if the best companies participated and did not win, it simply means something is wrong with the process.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Engineer Taofiq Tijani, said the Mainland Independent Power Project is the fourth power plant to be commissioned by the present administration.
He also informed that the on-going Conserve Energy, Save Money (CESM) campaign has run on full steam throughout the month of October and that people could now download the first ever consumer focused household energy calculator from mobile App store.
Giving a project overview, the Managing Director of CET Power, Mr Obiora Nwizu, said the 8.8 Megawatts Power plant has 5.8 MW as the primary power that is produced by natural gas while the 3 Megawatts standby is driven by diesel.
General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board, LSEB, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, said that for the state to address its power challenge, it would need 200,000 energy technicians with maximum age of 45-year-old.
She noted that the number is needed urgently, as the state population increases daily, “This was the reason the state government established the energy academy. This will assist the government to provide the needed technicians within the next 15 years.”
Ogunbiyi stressed that the state government had created an application to assist residents to know the number of energy they consume and what they waste and how they could prevent waste.