Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
No fewer than 4000 communities in Kwara State have been cut off from the national grid. This was disclosed to Daily Sun by an energy expert, Tunde Yusuf Salihu.
He was visibly emotional about the largely untapped opportunities of economic revival offered by alternative energy, which if professionally utilised can help jump start economic activities with multiplier effects.
He bemoaned the insincerity of the former government: “They prefer to patronise quacks who charge exorbitant prices yet deliver shabby jobs, thereby swindling the tax payers of their money.
“It is unthinkable that we have no fewer than 4,000 communities who have never lighted bulbs in this 21st century with advance technology. Any serious government will understand that human existences depends on availability of electricity as virtually all economic activities depends on it.
“We have achieved uninterrupted power supply for Lajolo, a community in Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State, the community hitherto never connected to national grid is now the beehive of economic activities where people travel to from far and near for relaxation and other economic activities.
“This was achieved by private individuals. I can’t imagine what can be achieved with government’s partnership towards ensuring the complaint of electricity especially for economic activities is eliminated, it’ll go a long way in helping to tackle unemployment and insecurity.”
In Asa Local Government alone, 30 communities in Aawe District are yet to have power supply, over 100 years after their creation. Its District Head, Alhaji Oba Daudu-Suleiman, described the development as unacceptable.
He said the non-provision of electricity and other infrastructural facilities like good roads in the communities retarded the growth and development of the areas. He listed the affected communities to include: Olowo, Atere, Elelu, Ogunbo, Yede, Ogundeji, Danbudo, Afonta, Okoolowo, Afo, Ologede, Layeri, Ajengba, Afonta and Ode Magaji.
He appealed to the state government to come to the aid of the communities as a way of bringing development to the grassroots. He said the provision of electricity in rural communities would curb rural urban migration and create employment for youths in the areas.
Daudu-Suleiman also urged government to urgently find lasting solution to the power outage confronting Aawe in the last five years. He said that the power outage was caused by rainstorm, adding that the development crippled social and economic activities of the town.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Mr Sunday Moses, confirmed that the ministry was aware that several communities were yet to enjoy electricity. He said government was working within its available resources, toward ensuring that electricity gets to the nooks and crannies of the state:
“Several communities have written letters of request to the ministry, we have informed the state government of their requests. We are working round the clock on the issue.”
Convener of Kwara Youth Centre, Kayode Oyin-Zubair, stressed that it is time for the youths to be problem solvers: “Therein lies their economic prosperity and financial independence.
“The youth should identify areas of people’s needs, meet the needs and make money (entrepreneurship). Carving a niche in an area is important for growth and development.
“For us at the Kwara Youth Centre, we are not interested in complaining, our resolve to assist humanity is unwavering, therefore we’re strategically positioned to pick societal challenges and try to neutralise them.
“We will go into partnership with government, developmental organisations, public spirited individuals towards ensuring the youths are gainfully engaged and made economic catalysts.”
Oyin-Zubair however pledged the resolve of the centre to key in to the alternative energy possibilities, to create entrepreneurs and employers of labour.