Okey Sampson, Aba Teachers in Abia public schools have embarked on strike over six months salary arrears owed them by the state government. This was even as the teachers accused the state leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) of undermining the plight of members by always thwarting moves to ventilate their grievances. The…
From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
It was jubilation in seven rural communities in Osun State, after the Osun Agency for Community and Social Development Project (O-CSDP) provided them with electricity transformers worth N50million. With the provision of the transformers, the residents, particularly artisans, shop owners and small scale business owners would no longer depend absolutely on generator sets to carry out their businesses.
The beneficiary communities are Yakooyo, Isale Ola, Asipa, Akinlalu, Kumegun, Akorede and Amule all in Ife North Local Government Area.
The transformers were provided through the Assisted Rural Electrification Project (AREP) anchored by O-CSDP.
Ipetumodu where the distribution of the facilities was flagged off by Governor Rauf Aregbesola, was agog as scores of representatives and leaders of the beneficiary communities congregated for the event.
General Manager of the O-CSDP, Mrs. Funmi Abokede, lamented that poverty remained the most critical problem facing the people of rural communities: “With the provision of the transformers and attendant electricity supply, the poverty level would reduce as people could now engage in one business or the other for economic prosperity and sustainability.
“O-CSDP is a community and human development programme funded by the state government and the World Bank. But the beneficiary communities are partially involved in the counterpart funding in order to give them the opportunity to add value and appreciate the efforts by ensuring maintenance of the infrastructural facilities provided for them.
“The most crucial and highest intervention in the rural communities is electrification project. Rural dwellers are seriously yearning for electricity because they need it for vocational skills and preoccupations such as fish rearing, and drying, barbing, hairdressing, shoe making fashion design, arts and craft, beads and several others.
“If energy problem is solved and the populace has access to a steady power supply, then industrialists, manufacturers, artisans such as barbers, hairdressers, pepper and tomato grinders can operate without depending on generator sets that use petrol or diesel to generate power.
“That is why we try to focus on electricity project to reduce their dependence on generator sets. With electricity, they can do their businesses with ease and make gains. This goes a long way in improving the living conditions of the people and the economy of the rural communities. It also solves unemployment problems in the areas.
“We try as much as possible to ensure that communities that seek O-CSDP’s intervention get the infrastructure promptly to actualize their dreams. It is on the strength of this commitment that we went ahead to provide this set of transformers for this new set of beneficiary communities, especially those that lost theirs to damage and those that have never had access to electricity at all.”
Aregbesola while flagging off the distribution of the transformers said: “Love and care for women is the best way to nurture the society and build a good nation. Any man that does not love women has problems. That is why we must do the best we can to make them happy. I am sure that with the supply of transformers to the rural communities, we have been able to make our women happy. I am sure that with the new transformers, you have been empowered with power and life will now be better for you.”
Mrs. Jumoke Komolafe, who has different kinds of grinding machines for tomatoes, pepper, beans, cassava, wheat, corn flours said: “I used to power my grinding machines with diesel and petrol because there is no light in our area.
“This used to reduce my gains after buying the products. But now that government has given us transformers, the stress won’t be much again. At least, my gains will improve because I will not be buying petrol and diesel like before again.”
A fashion designer, Mrs. Labake Olumide, said: “I thank God that that I settled down with fashion designing business. I have a lot of customers and I have been doing very well in terms of patronage. But there is no light in the village where I have my shop. Most of my working tools are industrial machines, which cannot function without light. So, I use generator sets to power them. But now that we have been given transformers, I believe that my business will improve.”
Olusola Adeyemo, a cobbler, said: “I have a factory where I fabricate shoes, sandals and belts. I have a good number of workers. But light has been my major problem. I spend a lot of money on fuel to power my generator sets. I almost closed down my business last month due to lack of light where I have my shop. But now that government has given us transformers, we will have light. In fact, I am excited that my business will improve.”