Mulling Governor Obaseki's stance on sustainability and its benefits: Edo streetlighting initiative in perspective by Ikponmwosa Osamede
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Mulling Governor Obaseki's stance on sustainability and its benefits: Edo streetlighting initiative in perspective by Ikponmwosa Osamede

by Ikponmwosa Osamede

When Governor Godwin Obaseki's brainchild, the Ossiomo Power Plant, which currently powers the streetlights in the Benin metropolis, came on stream, I read a comment from a social media user who wondered why the streetlights in previous administration didn't last the test of time, noting further that the lights, at the time, were considerably dimmer than the ones being deployed by Governor Godwin Obaseki. I responded that Governor Obaseki's concept of streetlighting was driven by sustainability, not the fanfare of such lights being on. 

I told him that the lights in the previous administration were on for few hours per night while costing the Edo State tax payers many millions of naira in the purchase of diesel for just a night. I told him that that concept was wasteful and profligate as it was tantamount to spending a billion naira in whitewashing a chalet built with a few pennies.

That conversation brought to the front burner, once again, the great gains Edo is making in the Governor Godwin Obaseki's administration.

For Governor Godwin Obaseki, sustainability is key and wastefulness is forbidden. The want of sustainability and the surplus of avenues for wastage is the major reason the country is comatose economically. If we had governments like that of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the country, the story would have been different. 

Today, the CCETC-Ossiomo Power Plant, which is an independent 55MW power plant that provides 24 hour power supply, serves as an alternative to Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC). It utilizes the enormous gas deposits that some parts of Edo sits on and is responsible for powering all streetlights in Airport road, Sapele road, Kings Square, Sakponba road, and Oba market road. Feelers reveal that inroads are presently being made in the Uselu axis and other parts of the City. True to my friend's testimony in the opening of this penned ruminations of mine, the lights deployed by Governor Godwin Obaseki is ten times brighter and the poles in which this fixtures are affixed are considerably sturdier and more durable.

Not just streetlights, Governor Godwin Obaseki's sustainability drive is seen in the fact that same Ossiomo Power Plant is powering two communities (Ologbo and Obanyanto), the rebuilt Edo State Secretariat Complex, Edo State Government House, Nigeria Observer, Edo Creative Hub, NUJ complex, the rebuilt Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, and many other Government buildings.

If the daily purchase of diesel to power the streetlights was continued till date, given the realities in the oil and gas sector, the total cost of keeping them running would have been astronomical. Hence, one is left to wonder how the Governor comes up with such impeccable foresight in first establishing a sustainable power source (Ossiomo Power Plant) for the streetlights before putting them on.  This power source, apart from being environmentally friendly considering that it's a clean energy source, replaces the need to run diesel engines as well as makes room for the other people-oriented benefits Edo people are currently enjoying. Workers, especially, will testify in this month's end considering the recent increase in their minimum wage to N40,000. 

A social media conversation sparked this testimonial and led to my recollection of the grand economic wastage seen in previous administrations. I just thought to quickly pen some thoughts down. 

In all, thank you Governor Godwin Obaseki for your drive for sustainability. This, too, will be your legacy.

Ikponmwosa Osamede (Ik Osamede), a multiple national award  winning writer, writes from Benin.

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