It was joy unlimited for the people of Ona-Ara Local Government Area of Oyo State knew, as the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) formally commenced the supply of electricity to the area after three years of power outage.
The power outage was the aftermath of the burning down of the defunct PHCN sub-station at Olorunsogo area by hoodlums during the January 2012 nation-wide fuel subsidy protest.
The development had paralyzed the socio-economic activities in the entire Ona-Ara Local Government Area and other neighbouring council areas, with repeated calls from the residents for the restoration of light.
When our correspondent visited the area on Monday, he reports that residents felt delighted to see power restored.
Some of them were also seen reconnecting wires, which was earlier connected to their generators.
One of them Kamilu said, “The light is back and we are all happy about it. This is good and as you can see, almost all of us has started disconnecting wires from our generators.”
Earlier, Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, while speaking at the inauguration of the rehabilitated sub-station by IBEDC, described the rehabilitation of the two 15MVA and 33/11KV as a thing of joy to him and his government.
“Thirty months ago, during the 2011 fuel subsidy crisis, a demonstration against government was capitalized upon by some unscrupulous persons in the society to inflict the harrowing pain of darkness on this peace-loving community.
“For the period of this darkness, government was bothered by the various complaints of our people from Ona-Ara Local Government to look into their plight of darkness.
“Since power generation and distribution are not in the confines of the powers of a state government, the Oyo State Government could not but constantly appeal to and nudge the then NEPA and the IBEDC to restore power to our long-suffering people of Ona-Ara,’’ he said.
Governor Ajimobi said that the Chairman of the council was consequently directed to constantly dialogue with the community members and the IBEDC in this respect.
“In this regard, I am aware that the Chairman constituted a dialogue body between stakeholders in the community which comprised religious bodies, landlords and other stakeholders in Ona-Ara.
“The result of this was several meetings with the IBEDC authorities and the pledge by the latter to restore light in three months,’’ he said.
The governor commended the sense of purpose and the commitment of the management of IBDEC to the project, stressing that it was its commitment and tenacity of purpose that gave birth to the inauguration of the project.
He expressed his administration’s commitment to the people of the council area and the state in general in the provision of amenities, assuring that this would continue in every respect.
Governor Ajimobi urged the people of the council area to guard the project and not allow vandals to destroy the facility again.
He also urged the people of the state not to allow any politician with penchant for violence and brigandage to rule the state again, stressing “where there is violence, development and progress are always absent’’.
Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of IBEDC, Mr. Olatunde Ayeni said that the project, which was completed earlier than the three-month target, gulped a total sum of N150 million.
He commended the Ajimobi administration for its unflinching support to the company since it took over the distribution job nine months ago, pledging his organization’s readiness to partner with the state government in the task of taking the state to greater heights.