Interview

We’ll find solutions to most of Abia’s problems – Engr. Monday, Power Commissioner 

Published

on

Engineer Ikechuckwu Monday, the Abia State Commissioner for Power, has assured that the Dr. Alex Otti administration is determined to find solutions to most of the challenges confronting the state.

The commissioner who spoke in this interview with Business Hallmark, also disclosed plans the administration has to resolve power issues in the state.

Excerpts:

With the developmental strides that have occurred in the last nine months in Abia State, we want to understand why the decisions regarding development are different from what has been happening in past administrations?

Thank you very much for visiting Abia State. I understand that you came from Lagos State, and I want to extend a warm welcome to you. As for the development in Abia, everything you may have heard about our achievements is indeed true. Abia State has faced poor leadership in the last 24 years until the current administration took office.

The vision of His Excellency, Dr. Alex Chioma Otti, the Executive Governor of Abia State, is clear in his manifesto. He aims to make Abia State the number one state, not just in alphabetical order. Achieving this goal requires a transformation in infrastructure development and human capital.

In essence, it’s about having a deliberate and passionate leader who truly cares about his people and wants them to benefit from good leadership.

The progress has been remarkable. Can you tell me about your future plans?

The people of Abia are truly talented. Our population is young and full of potential. Unfortunately, we’ve had poor leadership in the past. Now, to address your question, we aim to fully utilize our people’s potential and facilitate their growth.

One aspect is infrastructure development. If you visit Umuahia, you’ll see that Abia State is like a construction zone. Since we are mainly a business-oriented community, our rural areas need good roads for agriculture to thrive. This will help farmers connect with their customers and transport their products.

The second aspect is environmental sanitation. It is important to ensure that our environment is clean and that we are environmentally friendly. When we came into power, there was widespread litter and waste. We declared an emergency on waste management and have been making gradual progress. The first phase involves cleaning up the waste, followed by converting this waste into resources to create wealth. This includes using waste as raw materials for producing materials such as plastics and also for generating energy, which can be used for electricity production.

Thirdly, when we consider industrial development, manufacturing, business, and education, energy plays a crucial role. In discussing energy, we are referring to electricity and power supply, which must be improved. This improvement will act as an enabler to help our people reach their desired goals.

The fourth priority is health and education. These are the sectors where we have declared an emergency. Currently, our budget allocates 20 percent to education and 15 percent to health. We recognize that in order to fully utilize the potential of our people, they must be educated and healthy. Therefore, our targets are to improve education and health before the end of this administration.

This journey has been magical, and it hasn’t been without its challenges. What obstacles have you faced?”

Well, we have faced financial constraints, but fortunately, our leader is a finance expert. Despite the financial challenges, our leader was able to secure the necessary funding by reaching out to the right sources. Additionally, we implemented prudent financial management, plugging any leaks. This has enabled us to survive and achieve what we have so far.

The cost of governance has been reduced because all those wastages are no longer there, and we have been able to use the people’s money for the people. The second challenge is the orientation of our people. Having suffered for a long time, they need to be orientated to fit into these transformative measures. His Excellency has put in place a good governance structure. That’s why when we came into power, we created Abia State Orientation Agency to change the mindset of the people and make them aware that we are in the new Abia State. We also had to address the issue of a workforce that was not well motivated, with arrears of salaries due to irregular payments.

Advertisement

Getting them motivated involved training and instituting the right welfare to motivate them. We also encountered a very dilapidated state in terms of infrastructure. There were no roads or access, and you could not travel from Port Harcourt to Aba. Port Harcourt Road, which is now under construction by Julius Berger, was cut off from the city. There were floods and waste everywhere, which posed a big challenge. However, we are making significant efforts to address these issues.

Having prioritized power and achieved significant progress in that area, we are aware of another power project that the administration is currently working on. Can you provide details about the project and the controversy surrounding it?

Thank you very much. As the Commissioner for Power, this falls under my purview. You are absolutely right in highlighting the importance of reliable electricity supply, whether it’s related to digitization or any other aspect. This is a crucial focus area for the government.

Geometrics has been around for over ten years, but they have faced challenges in production for various reasons. Their main issue was the gas supply. When they renovated the plant, they were supposed to receive gas from Shell Company. However, either last year or the year before, Shell decided to stop production and sold that asset to a private company.

During the discussions about the contract, the production of the plant was delayed. The plant consists of three gas turbines that are meant to generate 141 megawatts of power for Aba. This power plant is unique because it operates independently and does not rely on the national grid. Instead, it directly supplies power to substations and consumers at 33KV. The plant has authority over nine out of the 17 local governments in Abia State, while the GTDC has authority over the remaining local governments. When we took office, we engaged with Geometric to address their challenges and provide assistance. The government fully supported them and also obtained assistance from the federal government and the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited to help resolve Geometric’s challenges.

We are aware that negotiations are underway for another power plant. Discussions are ongoing, and investors are showing interest. Additionally, we are exploring renewable energy options. Rest assured, we are actively working to find solutions for Aba and the other nine local governments, as well as the rest of Abia State.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Engaging

Exit mobile version