By John Adams, Minna
There was mild drama in Minna, capital of Niger State, yesterday, when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, accompanied by his wife, Dolapo, got a feel of the epileptic power outage being experienced in recent times with five minutes blackout.
The occasion was the 8th Festival of Songs, organised by the Minna Choral Society, with Osinbajo, his wife and the state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, in attendance.
The well-attended festival was barely 30 minutes when power went off, throwing the entire hall into confusion. This brought the event to a halt for five minutes.
There was uneasy calm as security agents and the state government, as well as the organisers battled to restore power.
However, when the confusion was on, governor Bello excused himself from the hall and returned to the hall after light had been restored.
The governor reportedly went to observe his prayers but the august visitors kept their cool until power was restored.
Some dignitaries at the occasion expressed disappointment at the embarrassment and blamed the organisers for relying solely on Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) as against the usual practice of getting a generator on standby whenever there is an event at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre in Minna.
Besides, the state has witnesssed epileptic power supply in recent months.
Worried by continued power outage in the state, the state government, in September, this year, negotiated with two companies from Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to build alternative power source in the state.
The state government had equally threatened to stop payment of electricity bills to the AEDC if power outages persisted.
Then, Bello said the state, which hosts three hydro power generation stations with 1,600 mega watts capacity each, should not experience such power outages. “We have demanded from electricity generating companies to allocate additional 10 per cent electricity from the national grid to the state. That is yet to yield result. We can no longer wait but take appropriate action to seek other means of steady electricity supply to our people.
“We have started talks with two electricity companies based outside the country. We will start with Minna, the state capital then, it will cut across other local government areas of the state.
“Though the president is aware of our plight, we will try, on our par,t pending when the 10 per cent additional allocation we are demanding will be allocated to us, to look for alternative way.”