Five years ago, Mr. Udom Emmanuel took the oath of office with expectations to sustain the economic activities and provision of infrastructure by his predecessor. Mr. Emmanuel hinged his election campaign on the promise to industrialize Akwa Ibom State. However, without steady power supply, industrialization is beyond the realm of reason. What has Udom Emmanuel done to improve power supply in Akwa Ibom State?
First, it appears the Governor hit the ground running when barely 18 months into office, he inaugurated a newly built 33/11KV, 2 X 15MVA injection sub-station in Uyo, the state capital. His predecessor and former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, cut the ribbon at the inauguration. The new electricity sub-station provided more than 18 hours daily power supply to Shelter Afrique, Ewet Housing Estate, Osongama, Nwaniba, Edet Akpan Avenue, Dominic Utuk Avenue and Ibom Hotels to mention but a few. Widespread commendations trailed the improved electricity supply in these parts of Uyo, which the Akwa Ibom online community dubbed ‘Ikang Udom’ (Udom’s light). Thereafter, the Governor built a similar 33/11KV, 2 X 15MVA sub-station to provide dedicated grid power supply to the state-owned Victor Attah International Airport with a dedicated 33KV line from Ibom Tropicana.
In addition, when the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) energised 132/33KV electricity transformers in Calabar and Lagos, Governor Emmanuel collaborated with the company to commission a 132/33KV, 1 x 60MVA transformer at Afaha Ube Itam in Itu. This 60MVA transformer increased the state’s available power for distribution from 96 megawatts to 144 megawatts. According to the Governor’s aide on power, Engr. Meyen Etukudo, the upgraded sub-station provides steady power to 10 local government areas in the state including Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Essien Udim, Obot Akara, Ini, Ikono, Ibiono Ibom, Etinan, Abak and Ukanafun. TCN, the sole electricity transporter and link between generation companies and distribution companies in Nigeria, lauded the Governor for the partnership, which they said aligned with the incremental power policy of the Federal Government (FG).
Not done, Udom Emmanuel, again, collaborated with TCN and entered into an agreement to build a 132/33KV, 2 x 60MVA transmission sub-station at Ekim in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. The last time a transmission sub-station was constructed in Akwa Ibom State was20 years ago. As part of activities to celebrate the state’s 32nd anniversary, the Governor invited Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to commission Ekim 132/33KV, 1 x 60MVA sub-station. The sub-station, which receives power from the state-owned Ibom Power Plant, has 33KV dedicated lines to Onna industrial hub, the location of Jubilee Syringe factory, King Flour Mills, Metering Solutions Manufacturing Services and the plywood industry. It also provides steady power supply to Akwa Ibom State University and five local government areas including Onna, Mkpat Enin, Ikot Abasi, Eastern Obolo and Oruk Anam. In addition, Akwa Ibom State Government has secured a 30MVA transformer for the proposed construction of the Ikot Abasi sub-station.
In spite of these investments in the last five years, some residents of the state have decried a total blackout or epileptic power supply in their areas.
Unfortunately, due to the privatization of power distribution assets and Federal Government’s total control of power transmission, Akwa Ibom State government does not have much say on the assets’ utilization. Nevertheless, the Governor’s intent to fulfil his promise seems clearly expressed in the power infrastructure development across the state.
-Michael Dada is the Media/Publicity Officer of Ibom Power Company Limited