By Onogwu Muhammed
Rural electrification system remains critical in the improvement of individual quality of life, facilitation of community services such as health and education (consumption use) and enables business venture to carry out professional engagement (productive use) for rural populations.
There is no gainsaying that Energy is the golden chain that links economic growth, social equity and an environment that allows the society to thrive. Rural electrification is thus central for the socio-economic development of non-urban areas in developing and even emerging countries.
Comprises of nine local government areas; 80% of the entire Kogi East has been in perpetual darkness. In Bassa local government area for example, over 98% of the entire LGA is in darkness, same for Ibaji local government area where almost 70% of inhabitants never saw electric poles and cables. The deathless Dusk of the Eastern part of Kogi State accounts for its egregious underdevelopment status today despite being rich in agricultural produce and abundant deposit of solid minerals.
The reason for lack of power in the region as explained by previous leaders has been that it requires billions of Naira to lift energy from Ajaokuta across the Niger River and procurement of associated equipment which the state could not afford. For them, it was a project that can never be done but for His Excellency Yahaya Bello, Aude at Facere (to dare is to do).
Today, the over N2b Operation Light up Kogi East Project is 80% completed. Feasibility study done and dusted.
Contractors paid and necessary equipment such as cables, transformers , transmitters and others procured.
Governor Yahaya Bello is leading the state in line with the words of Sheryl Sandberg who says “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence”. The impacts of his infrastructure development will surely last beyond his tenure and will remain a sweet memory of a selfless leader that will stand the test of time.
By this project, Yahaya Bello has demonstrated once again that he is a leader who does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and available resources to better the life of the people on whose mandate he leads irrespective of ethnic-religious and socio-political differences.
Onogwu Muhammed writes from Lokoja, Kogi State