When the epileptic power supply at Alubarika community in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital became unbearable, residents approached the political office holders representing the area asking for help with the purchase of a transformer.
The old transformer in the area was the primary reason for the poor power supply in the community, officials of the electricity company in the area had told residents.
A few months later in 2017, a 500 KVA transformer, facilitated by a former Senator representing Oyo South senatorial district, Soji Akanbi, was installed.
When this reporter visited the community in July 2020, the transformer was still functioning and it has significantly improved the stability of electricity supply.
Completed 2017 Zonal Intervention Projects
In 2017, Senator Akanbi nominated the installation of 2 units 500 KVA transformer 33/0.451kv at the rate of N9,042,750 each in the senatorial district as part of the “Zonal Intervention Projects”.
The agency in charge of the execution of these projects was the Ogun/Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA) under the Ministry of Water Resources.
In response to an official request by PREMIUM TIMES, the agency stated that a total amount of N12,659,850 was released for the provision and installation of the two transformers. The contract to supply the transformers was awarded to Debson Engineering Company Ltd.
The two areas where these transformer projects were located are Alubarika community, Ibadan South East local government and Odo, Ona, Apata.
The Chairman of Alubarika community, Hussain Mustupha told UDEME that they (residents) initially approached the state lawmaker representing the area but due to the cost of procuring the transformer he directed them to talk to the federal lawmaker of the area.
“When we were having power issues, we were the ones who wrote a letter to Hon. Ige, a state lawmaker then and when we gave him he told us to take it to a federal lawmaker who represents us because a transformer project is beyond the capacity of a state lawmaker.
“We then took the letter to Hon Dapo Lam (a former House of Representative member) and then-Senator Soji Akanbi whose Personal Assistant promised us immediately that they would work on it.”
However, less than a year after the installation of the transformer it began to develop a series of faults.
Mr Mustapha said the fault was as a result of overload on the transformer as residents of neighbouring communities started using the transformer.
“When it became worse to the extent that we had to invite NEPA (PHCN technicians) to repair it at least once every month, we now asked them what caused this and they told us that there are some communities also using this transformer who have to move away to reduce the load on it,” Mr. Hossain said.
He said after some of the unauthorised users were disconnected from the transformer, it has been working with fewer breakdowns.
When this reporter visited the location of the second transformer project at Odo-Ona, Ibadan, he observed that the transformer was installed and functioning well.
The chairman of the landlord association in the area was not available but his wife who simply identified herself as Iya Ibeji spoke with this reporter and confirmed that the transformer was still working.
She, however, said the transformer requires constant repair.
“It is working. In fact, it is working very well. But the issue is that it sparks a lot. Anytime it sparks the community invites NEPA to repair it. The number of times it has sparked between now and when they installed it is not countable,” the chairman’s wife whose house is located just beside the transformer said.
“When they just brought it and we complained that what if the transformer is sparking, they told it’s not yet time for it to spark but about two months after, it started sparking,” she added.
2018 Zonal Intervention Projects
In 2018, the lawmaker, Mr. Akanbi again nominated the Construction and Installation of 4 units 500 KVA transformer 33/0.451kv at the rate of N9,000,000 in various local government in the senatorial district.
The agency in charge of the execution of the project was Ogun/Osun River Basin Development Authority (OORBDA) under the Ministry of Water Resources.
In response to an official request by UDEME, the agency stated that N54 million was released for the project.
When UDEME visited Age community located in Owode at Ido Local Government Area of Oyo state, one of the areas listed by the agency, it observed that the transformer was installed and it was still working.
The chairman of the landlord association in the community, Wasiu Ejikoto stated that the transformer was installed about a year ago.
“It was facilitated by Senator Soji Akanbi. It is working well,” the chairman said.
He also explained that even though there was a transformer that powered the community before the installation of a new one, it was not enough.
“We have one transformer before that we share but it is not enough. we have two… after this one was installed then we had to share the energy. Part of our area is using the old one and the other side is using the new,” he said.
However, the Chairman explained that even though the transformer was properly installed, they had to carry out the distribution of its energy out themselves.
The second location listed by the agency is Veterinary area of Mokola, Ibadan. When this reporter visited, residents were anxious to sing praises of how the project had improved their livelihood.
“There is a difference between the quality of the power supply we receive now and then. The transformer we use before developing faults every day. Every Friday, Saturday; we don’t have light.
“NEPA even turned us to an ATM machine because every time we call them to repair it then, we always pay them but with the current transformer it is better,” one of the residents, Mr. Babalola Akintayo said.
Olusegun Sobowale, who is a member of the committee that manages the affairs of the community revealed that even though the transformer has been working since it was installed, it has begun to develop some faults.
He also stated that a relative of Akanbi who lived in the community helped to facilitate the provision of the transformer
Residents, however, said the transformer has only developed minor faults, which were quickly fixed by the electricity company.
At Ita-Ige, another location listed by the agency, the story was similar. The transformer, located beside the main road in the area, was easy to spot.
In an interview with this reporter, the Public Relations Officer of the youth association in the area, Owolabi Sheriffdeen revealed that the transformer was brought to the community in 2018 but installed in March 2019 ahead of the general elections.
“They brought the transformer in early 2018 and it was installed in March 2019 before the campaign.
“Since they brought it, it has not been faulty and there is no issue with it.”
He also stated that even though the community had a transformer before, its capacity was not enough to power the area.
“The issue we have is that the one we have before, its capacity is not containing the area because the transformer we were using was for both ward 5 and ward 6,” Mr Owolabi said while reacting to questions on why the area asked for the new transformer.
Another resident of the community who spoke with Udeme, Mr Abideen Oladeji confirmed that the transformer was facilitated by Senator Soji Akanbi noting there have been “no problem” with it.
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