African Outlook Online

Letters to the editor

An Open Letter to southwest Nigeria's Ogun State Governor

An Open Letter to southwest Nigeria's Ogun State Governor

Subject: Power (Electricity) Outage in a Major Area of Ijebu-Ode Mega City

 

Your Excellency,

I am writing to bring your attention to the Power (electricity) menace that the people of, arguably one of the most important areas in, Ijebu Ode are facing. The city axis includes Saka-Ashiru, Omo-Owo, and part of Ondo road.

This area of Ijebu-Ode houses the Ijebu General Hospital, the School of Nursing, Our Lady of Apostles secondary school, and several businesses including Sawmills.

 

Problem:

The electricity in this area has been out for over six (6) months due to a blown transformer. The sad part is that the citizens of this area had endured at the minimum 2 years of "candle like" low current power. The current was so low that it could not power simple appliances such as TV or radio and in fact you could not see the face of the person sitting across the table from you.

 

Citizens Role:

The citizens, on several occasions, have gone to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) offices (in the area) to complain and even bribed officials of the PHCN to help resolve the issue but nothing was done. The citizens had also contributed money on 3 occasions (at the suggestion of PHCN officials) and gave the cash to PHCN officials who promised to help fix the transformer. In total, the citizens of this area have contributed over N1,000,000.00 (about US$7,000) to PHCN and yet nothing was done.

 

Impact on Life:

The lack of electricity has greatly increased the menace of armed robbery at night due to the shear darkness and the heavy noise of power generators used by some residents. The darkness encourages kidnapping and such as they could easily roam the streets at night. In fact, there have been over 12 cases of armed robbery in this area in the past 9 months.

 

The lack of power is also making it almost impossible for students of this area to have enough study time after school. Not to talk of having access to educative technologies such as computers and television. The lack of power is also worsening the poverty level of the people living in this area as they are forced to spend all their hard earned income to purchase petrol and kerosene needed for daily living.

 

My Personal Concern:

I am a proud citizen of Ogun State and a proud Ijebu man. I am a little over 40 years old and have a solid memory of how things were in the past. I remember vividly a time when basic needs of life such as power, water, and health care could be easily accessed by anyone who desires. I also remember times when at least power outages were on rotational basis and people understood when to expect power and planned accordingly.

 

However, I don’t ever remember a time where any part of Ijebu-Ode was without electricity for 4 months at a time, not to talk of 6 months and counting. I don’t remember NEPA (as the power utility company was then known) officials demanding money from citizens on the promise of fixing the transformer and yet not holding to their promise. I don’t remember citizens of my state and hometown having to worry about being kidnapped at the dawn of darkness for money or rituals.

 

Why a letter to your Excellency?

I have followed your indisputable love for our state, the gateway state, Ogun State. I’ve also been following all your efforts at making our state one to be reckoned with in Nigeria, and Africa as a continent. You have focused on massive projects such as roads, education, and health care, but none of the projects you have done and are still doing will be deemed successful if the citizens are not able to enjoy the basic needs of life such as electricity and water.

 

I am aware of the about 500 transformers you have purchased and would beg your Excellency to see to it that those transformers are provided to the areas that truly need them such as the above mentioned area in Ijebu-Ode. The people of this area voted en mass for you not because they want the governor to provide everything for them or give then handouts, but because they believe you could improve the basic need of the society as enjoyed by cities across Ghana, South Africa, and other cities of the world.

 

In the name of our state “Ogun State” the “Gateway state”, in the spirit of the foundation of your party the “Action Congress” party, in the name of all the pacesetters of Ogun state and Nigeria as a country, and in the humble name of all the residence of Saka-Ashiru, Omo-Owo, and parts of Ondo road, in Ijebu-Ode city, I am appealing to you sir! I am appealing to you to intervene. Help hold the PHCN in Ijebu Ode accountable. Help restore the transformer to its working condition! Help save our kids, our lives and our livelihood! Help save our city and help save our future.

Yours sincerely,

A Concerned Citizen (Name withheld)