BY RAYYANU BALA
The importance of electricity in nation-building cannot be over stressed especially in developing nations such as ours. Undoubtedly, for developing nations, the need for reliable and affordable electricity is more fundamental than any other thing. Electricity can improve and save lives just as it can support expanded industries, modern agriculture, increase trade and improve transportation. These are indeed building blocks that help people in many ways to escape poverty and create better lives. Electricity powers computers, communications, cutting edge medical equipment and much more. Regrettably in Nigeria, we are yet to fully harness the values which electricity can add to our daily existence. Even though governments in the past made several efforts to address the problem of power supply, they did not yield any positive results. Massive corruption in the sector prevented all the efforts of government towards getting at the solutions.
Here in Nasarawa state, successive governments made several efforts towards addressing our electricity deficiencies by way of provision of transformers and other accessories that could assist in improving the supply of electricity to various communities; again, the efforts yielded little or no result, hence, in the case of Nasarawa South zone, the 33KVA line that runs from Akwanga to Lafia was grossly inadequate to take care of the entire Nasarawa South. That perhaps explains why we are today confronted with rationing of electricity at best and at worst, total blackout. People in Nasarawa South which comprises of Lafia, Doma, Awe Keana and Obi Local Government Councils have been contending with above scenario for decades now despite efforts of successive administrations to address the menace.
A seeming relief came when the federal government awarded contract for transmission of 330KVA line running from the south eastern part of the country to the northern part, crossing Nasarawa South. Taking advantage of this, former governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura put up a spirited fight to ensure the federal government also awarded contract for stepping down of this 330KVA line in Lafia to boost power supply to Nasarawa South.
His efforts yielded result as the federal government awarded this very contract with three years completion period. But all the encouragement of the state government to ensure completion of the project at stipulated time met some upsets as one form of problem or the other kept rearing its head, forcing the project to extend to this material time.
In recognition of the vital role electricity plays in nation building, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state upon assumption of office pledged to continue from where former governor Al-makura stopped in respect of Akurba 330 KVA sub-station. And since then, Governor Sule has been running from pillar to post to ensure completion of the project. He made uncountable trips to Abuja and to the project site in Akurba to ensure that the project came to fruition.
And to the glory of God, Governor Abdullahi Sule penultimate week, hinted a cheering news which is that the much awaited 330 KVA Sub-station in Akurba will be commissioned fully in a few months time. Speaking at the commissioning of Giza 33KVA electrification project, Governor Sule indicated that Akurba power substation project is now 100 percent completed. What remains, he said is line-in, line-out which will be completed in a matter of months.
Governor Sule who visibly expressed his gladness over the completion of the project, further identified electricity as critical to the industrialization thrust of his administration, adding that on assumption of office, he entered into contract with the people of the state for provision of infrastructure, employment opportunities, healthcare, water supply and electricity.
He emphasized that on completion of the Akurba substation, the problem of power supply in the state will be a thing of the past, with six dedicated lines to distribute power across the state.
“Two lines will be dedicated to Lafia, one line will go to Doma, one line will take care of Assakio/Obi/Keana, one line will go to Akwanga”, Governor Sule further revealed.
It is indeed a truism that completion of the Akurba 330KVA substation will substantially boost power supply to Nasarawa state, thereby improving the lives of our people. But the fear being expressed by the people is whether the existing wires, cables and transformers are good enough to withstand the volume of supply from a 330KVA substation in view of their obsolete nature. Apart from that there is also the issue of substandard electrical materials as well as phase to phase connections which is commonly found in some of our homes. How do we address these issues before the final commissioning of this 330KVA line?
Moving forward, the Nasarawa state government must procure and replace the existing wires, cables and transformers or lobby Abuja Power Distribution Company to do so. On phase to phase connections and substandard electrical materials in our various homes, the state government in conjunction with Abuja Power Distribution Company must embark on public campaigns/ sensitizations of our people against the use of substandard electrical materials and against phase to phase connections. Government must do the needful to avoid any unpleasant situations. Let not the 330KVA line turn to a nightmare for our people. A stitch in time saves nine.
BY RAYYANU BALA