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The making of the Aba power plant: Gov Otti’s contribution, connection, and how it began

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The making of the Aba power plant: Gov Otti's contribution, connection, and how it began

The facts have revealed how Governor Alex Otti, exploring his huge connections and contacts made tremendous contributions to the ultimate inauguration of the Aba power plant popularly known as the Geometric power station.

Inaugurated by the vice president, Alhaji Kashim Shettima in a well-attended ceremony recently, the Geometric power plant, from the outset, had the imprimatur of the Abia State governor, Otti. This much was brought to the public domain by the chief security officer of God’s Own State himself during an interview with a national television station.

Otti commenced by giving a comprehensive account of how the project came into being. He said, “This is a project that was started in 2004″.

Otti who was in First Bank and Diamond Bank as executive director and managing director respectively, noted that

in 2010, the founder of Geometrics Power Limited and ex-minister of science and technology, Prof Bart Nnaji got across to him (in his capacity as an executive director of First Bank) because the former bank that was funding the project was no longer interested in the scheme because of the global economic meltdown of the period.

According to him, “We processed an $85m facility for him (Nnaji) but unfortunately, he couldn’t draw down on that facility because the board of the bank felt that because I was proceeding to Diamond Bank as CEO, it wouldn’t make any sense to withdraw the facility when the person that was going to manage it was not there.

“I headed for Diamond Bank which was the bank that was initially funding the project. On getting to Diamond Bank, we restructured the facility and saw it to completion by October 2014, the time I left Diamond Bank.

“But a lot of things happened thereafter that made it impossible for the project to take off. There was the unfortunate sale and resale of the Aba Invest Island and that took a life of its own.

“When that was resolved, Shell which owned the major oil block that was supposed to supply gas to Geometric sold it to another company whose focus was not gas for domestic use but export.

“By the time we took over on the 29th of May, we sat down with Geometric a few times and engaged with NNPC and NNPC deployed their partners, and gas was made available.”

Otti whose happiness about the realization of the project was all over him, explained that the station’s current supply was 141 megawatts of power, insisting that the capacity would be at about 181 megawatts when the final turbine was delivered and made functional. The governor added that the third phase of the turbine had been charged, meaning that all three turbines are expected operational and functional. With that, he said the power supply in Aba and its environs would be constant.

An Aba trader, Igwe Obinna, applauded Otti for granting the interview where he detailed his involvement in the coming of the power station. He said “The Abia governor’s explanation has revealed that even before he was voted as governor, Otti was involved in many developmental projects geared towards the growth and industrialization of the state. Had Otti not made the landmark expansions at the television interview, Abians, Ndigbo and indeed Nigerians of all walks of life would not have known that he was involved in the coming of Geometric power plant to Aba. He brought his vision, and contact to bear on the project just as his contributions for its realization were massive”.

It will be recalled that since the Vice President inaugurated the 188 megawatts Geometric Power Plant Aba, residents of the area have been talking big and celebrating what they called a hallmark achievement as power supply would be regular and steady.

“I was born in 1964 and that means I am 60 years old today. Again, I have lived all my life in Aba. All of my primary, secondary, and university schools were here in Aba – I attended Abia State University of Technology here in Aba. My point is, this is the first of its kind. Aba is going to enjoy an interrupted power supply. This is what we have longed for.

“It means that production will now flow, together with its industrialization and employment opportunities that come with it. Insecurity will be drastically minimized and it is a huge achievement”, Kalu Orjinta noted.

Remarkably, the inauguration of the Geometric station was conducted 20 years ago. After it was completed nine years later, there was litigation and counter appeal which involved and nine years after the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC. For the project to take off, the legal battles were resolved.

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To underscore the vision of Otti, the Vice President who was elated at the glamour and color the event attracted said “The project was a major milestone in the efforts of Nigeria towards achieving stable power supply”. Shetima lauded the owner of the multi-million dollar power project and former minister for power, Professor Bart Nnaji for his great idea even as he waited patiently for its actualization.

Shetima, perhaps, in a dramatic gesture m, played with Nnaji. He noted thus, “About two weeks ago when I met Professor Nnaji I was curious to ask him how old he was. He told me that he was 67 years old, and I was amazed. He looks 80 years old. The tears tears, and frustrations of 20 years have taken a great toll on him. But thank God, we are here to commission this game-changing project.”

Commending Otti for his people-oriented projects in Abia in the last nine minutes, Shetima said, “Today in Aba, I saw testimony to good leadership. I saw the outpouring of emotion and support for Alex Otti. Posterity will be very kind to him ”

On his part, Nnaji said, “Now that this project is completed and being commissioned, the test of whether Nigeria can have reliable electricity is here. The test is about gas supply. We can guarantee that if we have a reliable gas supply, we will provide reliable electricity to the Aba metropolis.

” The onus is now on the government to demonstrate that reliable supply of power is possible in Nigeria by ensuring that this project gets reliable gas supply”.

In his address with the headline, ”The Power of Dream”, Otti submitted that the inauguration of the Geometric power plant was a new beginning in the generation and distribution of electricity in the state.

“Certainly, the success of this power project will not just validate my unyielding belief in Aba but would send a clear signal to local and international investors that Aba is open for business.

“Whatever your line of business, manufacturing, agro-processing, metal fabrication, woodworks, ICT, fashion, services, or retail, whatever be it, Aba is waiting to embrace you warmly because, in addition to steady improvements in urban infrastructure, especially roads as we have witnessed since mid-2023, Aba residents and businesses will now enjoy reliable power supply all year round, thanks to Geometric Power Plant”.

 

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