What has been recognized to be the bane of Nigeria’s development is epileptic power supply. The lingering crisis, that is as old as Nigeria has largely been responsible for the high and traumatic level of unemployment in the system. Most disturbing is the fact that unemployment has been breeding crime, youth restiveness and parlous economy that are now a whirlwind blowing deaths across Nigeria.
However, among the 36 states of the federation, Ekiti is ranked among the worst hit by the scourge of erratic power supply in the country. Little wonder the state has remained poorly industrialized and been relying heavily on monolithic civil service structure, thereby resulting in poor standard of living among the populace, especially among those who were not privileged to be offered employment into the state’s civil service.
Ekiti, according to available statistics has about 2.4 million population, but out of this population, only about 60,000 are gainfully employed into the civil service which represents six percent of the total population. Also, statistics has revealed that about 40 percent of Ekiti’s population are into agriculture, with over 35 percent of it majorly subsistent. Going by this startling and disturbing revelation, Ekiti has about 54% of its population being jobless on account of failed self-employment or not being employed at all, a situation which was considered as being inimical to the growth of the state.
Since the advent of democracy in 1999, several efforts had been made by government to mitigate the effects of unemployment. The government established National Directorate of Employment (NDE) with sole intention of energising vocational and skills acquisition. The small and medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) was also conceptualized to spur self-employment via promotion of small scale industries, among other schemes and policies. All these efforts has however remained futile because the electricity that could have serve as the catalyst and needed impetus was not readily available. In most cases, people fondly resorted to self-electricity generating process through the use of generating sets.
However, what looks like a respite is underway for Ekiti as Govenor Kayode Fayemi had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for the construction of 132\33KVA electricity power substations in Ilupeju and Ijesa-Isu Ekiti communities. At the signing of the MOU, the governor said the step was part of the concerted efforts being taken to boost electricity generation in the state to attract investors and create jobs. Governor Fayemi added that his government was glowingly desirous of creating economic stability for the people in order to attain progress in their businesses and other self-established ventures. Most exhilarating was the statement credited to the TCN’s team leader, Mr Victor Adewumi, to the effect that the projects will commence in earnest since all agreements had been signed by projection.The projects are to be delivered before June 30, 2021.
Added to this was the plan by Governor Fayemi’s government to sign another pact with international partners for the harnessing of one of the water dams in Ekiti for Independent power project. This is to be accomplished before the expiration of his tenure in 2022. With all these efforts, it is evident that government know the importance of power generation in the life of any nation. Governor Fayemi was not also oblivious of the fact that there was need to diversify from sole dependence on the civil service economy. Though, the civil service remains a veritable opportunity for the training and development of Ekiti’s vast human resources, but the gains inherent in such are not limitless. The growth and development of any economy rests heavily on all strata of the society, the Elite, skilled and unskilled labour.
The expectation now is that, Ekiti has a good prospect in terms of industrial upliftment by the time the projects are delivered and become operational. Also, the task of making Ekiti an industrial hub will manifest and the lean Internally Generated Revenue crippling the economy will be augmented for radical development of the people across strata.
•The view point was written by Dalimore Aluko, Assistant Principal, Ikere High School, Ikere Ekiti. 08032712451, 08066181583