Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
The residents of Aratumi-Omun, a sleepy community in Olorunda Local Government Area of Osun State, are in deep jubilation. This is because after several years of darkness light is brought to the place.
Succour came when the Osun Agency for Community and Social Development Project (Osun-CSDP) provided a 500 KVA transformer.
Aratunmi-Omun is an agrarian community and the occupation of the people is farming. Some are artisans, eking out a living with small-scale businesses. Among them are shop owners, welders, barbers, hairdressers and photographers.
But the lack of electricity had hampered their ability to operate, putting their businesses almost on hold. They relied on generator sets to run their businesses, with some of them running at a loss, following high cost of fuel.
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Chairman of Aratumi-Omun Community Association, Ipole-Omun, Mr. Ibrahim Sunday:
“This community was in darkness since its existence several years ago because there was no electricity. We could not use electronics at home and life was difficult for us. We have television sets but we could not watch them, except few of us that have generating sets. We could not use other amenities that need electricity to power
“Also, we had to go to very far places in neighbouring communities to charge our phones. Those that could not cope with the situation left the community. But now that light has come, our life will soon change for the better. We have started enjoying light.”
A shop owner, Mrs. Afusat Abdulateef, said: “I relied on the generating set in my office to run my shop and charge my phone and lamp. The fuel I used to buy cost me a lot of money so much that I could not make the desired profit. But since Osun-CSDP came to our rescue recently, things have started changing for the better.”
A 15-year-old SS II student, Gbadebo Rid-wanullah said: “Unlike before, I will now be able to read at night, iron my school uniform and listen to news and watch my favourite movies on the television.”
Alhaji Oyinlola Kazeem, lamented that he used to spend N2,000 on petrol on daily basis to fuel his generating set: “Whenever I came back home from work, I always felt bad. The community was not safe due to darkness that enveloped it. Many of us used to return home very late from work because there was no light at home. But now, we can enjoy light.”
A community leader, Salawu Oyeyemi: “The electricity would enhance more cooperation among us because participation in the community meetings is part of the condition for any landlord to connect his house to the electricity.”
Chairman of the electricity committee who introduced himself as Mr. Kazeem disclosed that measures have been put in place to maintain the transformer: “Some hunters in the community have been engaged to guard the transformer jealously so that nobody would be able to tamper with it.”
General manager, Osun-CSDP, Mrs. Funmi Abokede, told Daily Sun that the project was embarked upon through a counterpart funding by the state government, the World Bank as well as the community people. She disclosed that the project cost N9,730,100, adding that Osun-CS-DP contributed the larger amount of 8,757,090, while the community contributed N973,010:
“The people were cut off from the realities of day-to-day life. Their economic life was in jeopardy. But now that there is power supply to the place, their economic life will soon improve which will also translate to poverty reduction.
Criminal activities will now reduce in the community because of the availability of light. In fact, their life has been transformed for the better.”
She said one of the major social amenity challenges facing Osun State, especially in the rural areas, was the lack of electricity, but since the emergence of Osun-CSDP programmes, the infrastructure has been brought to so many communities with poverty reduction as the major prospect. She added that the agency focuses on social poverty reduction by ensuring access of the poor to social amenities such as electricity, pipe-borne water, road, health and education.
Some members of the Kogi State CSDP recently visited Osun for a collaboration conference and embarked on a tour of the successful projects in the state. The general manager, Mohammed Dauda, enthused that Osun-CSDP and promised that the Kogi-CSDP would adopt its programmes as a model to also drive its social intervention programmes for its poverty reduction initiatives.