Fashola Commissions Peninsula Integrated Power Project, Says It's Possible To Take Power Supply To Homes In Six Months If Authorized By FG
'Let nobody come and tell you that we don't have money to generate Power. What they lack is the knowledge to do it'- Governor
Mar 8, 2015 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Sunday commissioned the Peninsula Integrated Power Project in Lekki, the fifth in the series of Independent Power Projects (IPPs) across the State, saying he could distribute the power to the homes of residents of the areas covered by the IPPs within six months if authorized to do so by the Federal Government.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the Admiralty Way Lekki Phase 1 venue of the occasion, insisted that there is enough money within the country to develop her economy adding that the building of the IPPs was a strong statement to the Federal Government that stable power supply in the country was possible.
The Governor told the distinguished audience which included members of the State executive Council, top officials of the Lagos State Electricity Board, financiers of project, Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other Energy stakeholders as well as residents, "I have always said that the money to develop the Nigerian economy is here if you put it to good use; if you don't steal it, if you don't divert it and if you sincerely want to use it".
According to him, "We didn't take a World Bank loan to do this. The purpose is clear and the financiers could see the return on their expenditure and immediately we signed the Power contract we had a deal; the banks were ready to finance. So let nobody come and tell you that we don't have money to generate Power. What they lack is the knowledge to do it".
Expressing regrets that his administration could not take the power to the homes of residents as a result of the Constitutional restrictions, Governor Fashola, however, disclosed that he had made a written proposal to the Distribution Company (Disco) in under whose concession the area fall to handover some estates under their charge to the State Government to handle the generation while they (Discos) handle the billing adding that although the proposal was made in January last year, he was yet to receive any response from the Discos.
The Governor, who noted that the Power supply could be scaled, declared, "One of the things I did immediately the Power Reform Programme was completed was to write to the owners of the DISCOs in Lagos to handover Lekki Estate, Abraham Adesanya Estate, Government Estate where all the transformers and poles were supplied by Lagos State, and Magboro and Ogudu GRA in Ikeja District in their concession that we could deliver power to those homes within nine months and they would bill and we recoup our money".
"This was in January last year; we are still waiting for the reply. But because this thing is clear to me, we pursued projects such as this to demonstrate that power can be produced. So that when they come to tell you lies that there is no power, you tell them that there is power here but that it is their responsibility to bring it into your homes", he said.
Governor Fashola maintained that if the owners of the four Discos sign an agreement with his administration today, citizens' residences would have power within no more than six months, adding, "It is possible. It is that simple. All the distribution apparatus is there".
"For me today, apart from our waterworks, we have taken Alausa Secretariat off the National Grid. Let them do same for Secretariat in Abuja. State House in Marina is off the National Grid and Power has not failed there in the last three years. So let them just open the programme and let the people who know how lead the process", the Governor said.
On the arguments that the building of the project would impact on the environment of the area as a result of the fact that the land was reclaimed from the sea, the Governor said what was important was the knowledge of the impact and the mitigating measures as well as insistence on the implementation of such measures.
"When people talk about sand-filling and affecting the environment, the truth is that every day we live we are affecting the environment. What we must do is to record the effect on the environment, design the mitigating measures and implement them faithfully and vigorously", he said.
The Governor argued further that if past governments of Lagos had listened to those who were against sand filling, there would not have been any Lekki or Victoria Island, because, according to him, "Lekki is an estate reclaimed from the sea and Victoria Island is a city produced from the sea. The whole of Victoria Island is sand-filled".
Citing the example of Singapore as a country substantially reclaimed from the sea, Governor Fashola declared, "Why is this important on an occasion when we are talking about Power? The Power Plant we are dedicating today is built on sand-filled land. Without sand-fill we wouldn't have found the land on which to build what we are commissioning today".
"What is important is that government will rigorously continue to find out what the impacts are and what the mitigants should be and insist and demand very rigorous implementation of such mitigants", he said.
Governor Fashola thanked members of the State Executive Council who, he recalled assisted in the realization of the project singling out the Commissioners for Energy and Mineral Resources, Engineer Taofeek Tijani, Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze, Finance, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Mrs. Reginald Obasa for mention.
The Governor also commended the General Manager of the State Electricity Board, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi and the Project Promoter, Mr. Farouk Agoro, whose hard-work and dedication, he said, saw the realization of the project adding, "Seeing the two working together to deliver power when some people said it was impossible, what many generations before them could not fulfill, I feel fulfilled now that this generation is ready to take over".
According to the Governor, although the Lagos State Electricity Board was established by Alhaji Lateef Jakande in the 1970s, it took the return of Mrs. Ogunbiyi who was on secondment to Nigeria from England to revive it adding that she recruited an army of young people to work with her.
"So wherever you see street light at night except on Third Mainland Bridge up to Simpson, they are the ones powering it. And we have asked them (Federal Government) to give up Third Mainland Bridge because they can't maintain it. Sometimes it comes on but often times it is off but we are always on", he said.
The Lekki Independent Power Plant, the Governor said, will power Lekki Waterworks, Ikoyi Waterworks, Victoria Island Waterworks and provide more stable water supply and light up the streets at night for safety and security of residents, adding that because of the inadequacies of the Central Government, the State Government has to come up with such projects to give meaning to the waterworks.
"When a State Government has built roads with sidewalks and put up the street light poles just as we have done here; three hundred and something poles over 700 bulkheads over many streets in Lekki, we should take power supply to it for granted. But with the PDP and the current president in power unfortunately we can't take power for granted", the Governor said.
Urging the people to make the right choice during the coming General Elections, Governor Fashola declared, "You have two models of government working for you. One works and delivers service everyday while the other brings cash to you six weeks to elections. The choice is yours to make. Those are the two models. If you like the second model then we will rap up this power plant, sell off the parts and distribute the money. The choice is yours".
Earlier in her remarks, the General Manager, Lagos State Electricity Board, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, said the State had shown that reliable and sustainable power projects were possible through the youths.
The Promoter of the Project, Mr. Farouk Agoro, noted that the Peninsula Integrated Power Project was an innovative idea of World class natural gas, fired power generating facility sold to the Government by youths and it was brought into to supply Government Institutions, especially in the area of water supply and security.
He reiterated that the Peninsula Integrated Power Project would significantly improve the delivery of social services to the entire residents adding that it would substantially reduce noise pollution and carbon monoxide emissions.
The Project also provides uninterrupted power supply to Lagos State Public Water Corporations in Lekki Phase 1, Oniru, Victoria Island and Ikoyi, as well as over 25 Kilometres of public lighting.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Engr. Taofeek Tijani, said the new additional Power Project was about continuity in public infrastructural programme of the State Government adding that it would give energy to the State's scheme.
Among those who attended the short but impressive and well attended event were Senator. Gbenga Ashafa, Hon. Gbolahan Yishau, Deputy Governorship candidate, Dr (Mrs.) Idiat Oluranti Adebule, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu, Commissioner for Finance and his Economic Planing and Budget counterpart, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi and Mr. Ben Akabueze, Government functionaries, All Progressives Congress (APC) Party chieftains and residents of the area.