Obiano moves to solve electricity problem, signs $150m power deal

    After cleansing Anambra State of criminal elements and anti-social agents that drove prospec­tive investors and most of the state’s illustrious citi­zens away, Governor Willie Obiano has finally turned his magic wand to the most difficult challenge that Ni­geria has to faced in the past 40 years – electricity supply.

    To give impetus to his over­all plan to solve the power sup­ply problem in Anambra State, Governor Obiano, Wednes­day, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the building of an Independent Power Plant (IPP) in the state valued at $150 million with an indigenous firm, UD Integrated Petroleum Production Compa­ny of Nigeria Limited (UDIP­PCO). The 80 megawatt gas-to-power plant will on completion, finally animate the constellation of cottage industries, manufac­turing firms and the numerous commercial centres and mar­kets that define the entire land­scape of the state. The electric­ity project also brings the total volume of investments that the administration had attracted in the past four months to about $1.4bn.

    Obiano’s foray into the neb­ulous power generation and dis­tribution sector falls in line with his general administrative blue­print, which is anchored, on Agriculture, Industrialization, Trade and Commerce and Oil and Gas. Electricity falls within the category of his blueprint that he refers to as the Enablers. The Enablers are the catalyst to the eventual explosion and exploitation of the Four Pillars of his administration outlined above. In singling out the chal­lenge of power supply, Gover­nor Obiano has divined that the only time that Anambra would truly witness a revolution is when he repeats what he did in securing the state in the power sector. To this extent, the gov­ernor has sealed the first major pact that would actualize his dream of providing stable elec­tricity to the people with UDIP­PCO, with an implementation timeline of 18 months from the date of the project implementa­tion agreement.

    The proposed power plant is expected to generate sufficient electricity for the entire state, its industrial clusters in Onitsha, Nnewi, Ozubulu and Awka as well as its many markets, ho­tels, hospitals, schools and resi­dential areas.

    To signify their readiness to commence the first basic steps that will culminate in the con­struction of the power plant, UDIPPCO recently sealed a Gas Sales and Purchase Agree­ment (GSPA) with the man­agement of Orient Petroleum which offered it a direct access to develop and utilize over 375 billion standard cubic feet of gas reserves from the Orient Block and produce it at the rate of 50 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. This will give UDIPPCO enough gas to sustain the proposed 80 MW power plant for 20-25 years or more.

    From time immemorial, Anambra State has always held a definite promise as the home of industrialization in all of West Africa. The state brims with natural born entre­preneurs, industrialists and in­ventors whose genius has been widely acknowledged across the world.

    Nnewi, the first and most prominent Nigerian auto-city had pioneered auto-manufac­turing in the country, starting with the production of auto-spare parts to full manufacture of automobiles. Other manu­facturing activities like electric cables as well as petro-chemical products like lubricants have also been thriving in Nnewi for some time. Unfortunately, they have yet to explode on a scale that will make a real splash in the nation’s economy, princi­pally because of such niggling challenges as the almost non-existent supply of electricity. With the proposed power plant, Governor Obiano will be un­leashing the hitherto restrained kinetic entrepreneurial energy of the people to usher in a new phase of prosperity in Anambra State.

    Speaking at the agreement signing ceremony, Governor Obiano pointed out that elec­tricity supply is one of the key areas of interest to his admin­istration. “We are beginning to address the challenge of power supply in Anambra State. This project will employ about 750 people directly and about 15,000 indirectly,” Governor Obiano explained.

    He further said: “I keep re-assuring our people in the Dias­pora to bring back those talents and skills that made us great in foreign lands. We have done exactly what other people have done to attract our people. They provided security and power. We have provided security and now we are about to provide power here. Those things that will make our people come home and invest are the same things we are doing here now.”

    Meanwhile, giving assuranc­es on the project, the Chairman of UDIPPCO, Nze Lawrence Ekwomadu explained: “Be­tween 12 and 18 months from the date of this MoU being ex­ecuted today, we shall start gen­erating and supplying steady and stable electric power in Anambra State, generated from natural gas produced within the state.