Cross River Governor, Sir Ben Ayade, Wednesday disclosed the reasons his administration has embarked on the building of a second 26 megawatts power plant, shortly after the test-run of the 23 megawatts plant at the Parliamentary Extension in Calabar.
Ayade, who reiterated the industrialisation thrust of his government, insisted that this could only be realised when there’s adequate power supply in the state.
Fielding questions after inspecting ongoing work at the 26 megawatts Power Plant at the Tinapa Leisure and Business Resort, the governor said his administration would be contributing a total of 54 megawatts of power from the parliamentary extension axis in Obudu as well as Tinapa areas.
“Today, we are generating 23 megawatts out of the Parliamentary Power Plant and we are doing 26 megawatts out of Tinapa and five in Obudu, so, approximately we are doing about 54 megawatts of power and that will be the amount of power I am contributing to Cross River State.
“I am so focused on power, because industrialisation is our core focus and of course, we cannot industrialise without regular power supply. That is why my emphasis has been on regular power supply.
“I have to re-engage the Federal Ministry of Finance to see how we can extend the programme that we have at hand to ensure that we have a second power plant. It is only when we have the second power plant that we can now have a combined circle to give us a third power plant for us to have an absolute benefit of the value,” Ayade said.
Worried by the power challenge, especially when the country is blessed with abundant gas resources, the governor maintained that “the best way to go is to see how we can combine renewable sources of energy, that is why a team from the United Nations is here discuss how we can get hydro-power and mini hydro as an alternative to gas.”
According to him, “If you stay fully on gas, it is very possible to continue to experience epileptic power problems, like we have in Nigeria today. So, you must combine a bit of gas, a bit of hydro and others, depending on the source and target you want to reach.
“We have to spend 4.5 per million BTU, but if we are using water, that costs us zero. So, the name Cross River tells you that we have a lot of rivers to cross. As a professor, my idea is, I want to cross each river but I want to put a small hydro and generate water – while I am crossing; I am generating electricity.”
While imploring the federal government to look in the direction of the state, the governor said: “Power supply is a serious business. Any state that has shown commitment, I wish to enjoin the federal government to such state so as to achieve success,” adding that “industrialisation cannot be done without power and no state with the income of Cross River can fund or finance power alone! We need the collaboration of the federal government to allow all the industries in Cross River State to have full benefits.”
Jitender Sachdeva of Skipper, handling the power project, was also part of the entourage to inspect the project, explaining that 55 per cent of the total progress has been achieved with certification by the Federal Ministry of Finance as well as India.
He intimated that “the turbine generator, transformers and electrical balance of the plant are all in place and we are waiting for the rain to subside so that we can start doing the road and earthworks.”
Disclosing that the company’s target was to see the plant commissioned by April 2020, he assured that Skipper remained committed to the Cross River State Government as the job standard and its duration with the best of international practice remains unshakeable.
On his part, NIPO Chairman, Rakesh Sardana, assured of constant supply of gas, saying: “We will address any shortfalls resulting from connections including pipeline breaches to enable the beneficiaries get optimum services.”
According to him, “We are prepared to go the entire length to see that we provide fuel in order to boost the power need of the people, while ensuring that industries benefit immensely and domestic consumers get optimum operations at a reduced cost.”