After two years of perennial darkness, the Ikot Awatim, Uyi Effiong and Akai Effa communities in Calabar Municipality and Calabar South Local Government Areas of Cross River State, finally heaved a sigh of relief as the state government turned on the light with the installation of brand new transformers.
The three communities are among several of which have benefited from the state government's intervention following years of neglect.
The intervention is part of Governor Ayade's planned 24-hour uninterrupted power supply in Calabar metropolis, of which he last week took delivery of some equipment for the 20 Megawatts power equipment.
Speaking at the official commissioning, Director General, State Electricity Agency (SEA) Hon. Jake Otu Enya said: “The essence of this exercise is to ensure that Cross River State, particularly Calabar metropolis, has uninterrupted power supply to improve on their living conditions."
He pointed out that “In spite of the current economic realities in the country as well as the lean resources of the state which has made governance almost impossible, the governor, Prof. Ben Ayade graciously granted approval for the purchase of 181 transformers at the sum of N650 million for distribution to areas where there was no light in the Southern Senatorial District of the state for phase one of the project and today, we gather to celebrate this man of the people.”
According to the Director General, “We are the only state in Nigeria that has this kind of intervention. Even when power has been privatized, we still deem it fit to intervene in the interest of our people." He, however, regretted that "despite all this, we are not benefitting from the tariff. We want PHED to do something in that direction.”
Addressing the beneficiary communities, Governor Ayade who was represented by his Special Adviser on Public Utilities, Hon. Iyadim Iyadim said: “Today there is palpable excitement, joy and feeling of sense of belonging as expressed on the faces of the people of Calabar Municipality and Calabar South as we move from one community to another, particularly those areas that felt neglected and were in darkness for a long time to commission the projects.”
Iyadim said, the gesture was in fulfillment of one of the Governor's campaign promises of ensuring total transformation of the economic landscape, stating that power remained a key component for economic emancipation.
Ayade noted that “On assumption of office we undertook assessment of the metropolis and indeed the entire state to ascertain the condition as well as the level of power supply, and it was revealed that most communities were either without light or not connected and in some cases, their transformers were vandalized. So, we took a deliberate step in partnership with the Port Harcourt Electricity Company to light them up to improve living conditions in those areas.
“My candid advice to you is that you should help government to serve you better and bring more dividends to your door steps by ensuring that these facilities are guarded jealously from vandals. Please take ownership of these transformers to enable us expand this gesture to other parts of the state.”
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiary communities, spokesman for Uyi Effiong, Ndabo Mesembe Edet lauded Ayade for the gesture, even as he described him as a messiah. He said the governor had rekindled their hopes and given the community a sense of belonging.