BBOL Collaboration With Sen Tofowomo And The Effort To Restore Electricity To Ondo South

March 16, 2023

6.4 min readCategories: Opinion

By Akinrinlola Olunide

More than two years ago, I updated the public when electricity was partially restored to Ode Aye community and a few areas in Okitipupa and Igbokoda towns respectively.

When it was restored, the BEDC was expecting their usual estimating billing system to continue.
The BBOL group disagreed and the leaders of the affected communities also disagreed with them.

We told them to give us prepaid meters. Otherwise, we accepted to remain in darkness. They (BEDC) opted for the latter to suit themselves. They re-throw the reconnected communities into darkness by cutting off the supply of power even though we are hearing the sound of electricity on the transformers. There is a power supply on our transformers but there was no electricity in our various houses.

In 2020, the Bring Back Our Light (BBOL) team met with Senator Nicholas Tofowomo to brief him on the development regarding the blackouts when he partially recovered from the accident he had on September 6, 2019. Despite his health challenges, Sen Tofowomo met with the management of BEDC twice. In attendance were the representatives of Ode Aye community led by the incumbent Petu of Aye Kingdom with the leadership of the BBOL carefully selected from the affected Four LGAs.

The Senator discussed with the BEDC’s management how to tackle the power outage in Ondo South as well as the issuance of prepaid meters which hindered the supply of power to Ode-Aye Community, Igbokoda town, and some parts of Okitipupa town that had been reconnected to the National Grid.

It may interest the good people of Ondo South to know that Senator Tofowomo succeeded to resolve the metering challenges of Ode Aye and the affected areas mentioned above. The success story was widely reported by the media.

For the avoidance of doubt, see the report on Punch of January 16, 2020, with the headline (Senator, Benin Disco to end blackout in Ondo communities). A similar story was published by Starnews Nigeria with the headline (Ondo South: Tofowomo Resolves Metering Challenges, Collaborates BEDC To End Darkness) on January 15, 2022.

For more than two years now, the few metered customers in Ode Aye, Igbokoda, and some parts of Okitipupa have been enjoying electricity whenever there is a power supply by the discos (BEDC).

In the same year, Sen Nicholas Tofowomo similarly raised the issues of the affected communities that were yet to be energized in Okitipupa, Ilaje, Ese-Odo and Irele Local governments respectively with the management of BEDC. But the disco (BEDC) complained that the entire Ondo South depends on Ondo Transmission Substation which is obtained from Ife/Oshogbo 132Kv line and they claimed that the 132k line operated by TCN is overloaded.

They told the Senator that the Ondo Transmission Station has two 30mva Transformers and only 1 of the 30mva transformers was working and that the transformer supplies power to Ondo Town, Ore, Oke-Igbo, Ile-Oluji, Odigbo and its environs.

They said the other TCN 30mva transformer had a faulty breaker for over five years now.

According to them, all the attempts to transfer all locations into the one working TCN transformer resulted in severe voltage drop to the Ondo South axis which caused very poor and none useful power (‘candlelight’) and the same could not be sustained any longer.

They insisted that the only 30mva transformer in Ondo town that is working cannot power the overall communities in Ondo South anymore. Hence, many of the towns in Ondo South remained in darkness after electrical damages were repaired because of the depreciating condition of the only working 30mva transformer in Ondo town which the entire Senatorial District depends upon.

The BEDC management requested the Senator to follow up with the timely completion and installation of the Erinje Transmission substation as the lasting solution to reconnect all the communities in the five affected local governments of Ondo South which according to them is the only way out of the total blackouts in the district.

When he heard this explanation, Senator Tofowomo was on BEDC to provide sufficient meters to those in need, while he took the second step and travelled to the site of the said transmission power substation at Erinje road in Okitipupa to look at the level of work done.

He was shocked and disappointed to see that they had discontinued the said work as the contractors were no longer at work for lack of funds. The NDDC refused to release money for the contractors to finish their work even though the job was near the completion stage.

Upon the obvious, Senator Tofowomo contacted the contractors of the job and got the necessary information he needed to follow up with the NDDC to release funds for the continuation of the job and he subsequently raised an alarm on the floor of the Senate when NNDC was defiant to his soft advocacy.

The Senator moved a motion on the said blackout and the abandonment of the Erinje Transmission Power Substation in September 2021 and the Senate urged the NDDC to finish the transmission power substation immediately as the only lasting solution to this 16 years of darkness in Ondo South.

Sen Nicholas Tofowomo didn’t stop there, he also engaged the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio on October 28, 2021, during a Budget defence of NDDC and the Minister assured the Senator and the good people of Ondo South that they will release the money to the contractor to continue his work at the Ode Erinje power substation. Senator Tofowomo’s effort was reported by the Tribune and other National Newspapers.

The story was published on October 28, 2021, in Nigerian Tribune with the headline (14 years blackout: Ondo South Senatorial District to get electricity ― Akpabio)

The good people of Ondo South should know that NDDC heeded the call of the Senator through the resolution of the Nigerian Senate amid pressure from other stakeholders who were quietly making efforts in their little ways. We can report that the contractors are back to work and the work is ongoing.

The high-tension cable has now been installed on the poles in readiness to as a matter of urgency, complete the installation of the transmission substation in Okitipupa LGA that would supply electricity to Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Okitipupa, Irele and Odigbo LGAs.

I need to put this online to silence our detractors. The Senator in collaboration with the BBOL are passionate and remained committed to the struggle to put an end to the total blackouts and restore electricity to Ondo South.

We decided to keep quiet and hold our peace, especially when every Tom and Jerry contesting for election is playing politics with the struggle to drive political ambitions.

This update is needed for record purposes. First to set the record straight; to update our people that are sending requests for updates and lastly, to clear the doubt about the BBOL’s struggle and Senator Nicholas Tofowomo’s effort on the blackouts.

Note that metered customers in Ode Aye are not only enjoying electricity supply whenever there is supply by the discos but also, metered customers in a few areas of Okitipupa towns and Igbokoda respectively are enjoying it. I slept a couple of months ago in Okitipupa for two days at the Ola-White hotel on Lebi Street and electricity was used throughout my stay.

At the moment, Senator Tofowomo is currently arranging with the new management of the BEDC to make enough prepaid meters available (FOC), especially to the good people of Ode Aye and a few areas in Igbokoda and Okitipupa town respectively where power had been restored.

Information is power! We hope this helps our people requesting an update.

Akinrinlola Olumide, is the S. A Media and Publicity to Senator Nicholas Tofowomo and
the Convener of Bring Back Our Light (BBOL).

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About the Author: Olumide Akinrinlola

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