Nnaji Calls for States, Private Sector Collaboration on Power Supply

Funmi Ogundare

A governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State and former Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji, yesterday called for collaboration between states and the private sector that will enable power regional grids to be put in place for an effective power supply in the country.

Nnaji, who was a guest on The Morning Show programme on Arise News Channel, was speaking against the backdrop of the power supply challenges in the country. He expressed concern that it’s capital intensive hence the need for states to work with the private sector to build power projects that would make it possible to have constant power.

According to him, “We cannot just have national control of power. You can have national grid, but there be should regional grids and there is nothing in the constitution that stops this from being in place. States don’t have sufficient money to build their own power plant except Akwa Ibom and Rivers States, and to an extent, Lagos State. It is very capital intensive, but if you have regional grids, then states can now work with private sector to build power projects that will make it possible to have constant power.

The former minister recalled what had been done in Aba, Abia State, saying there have been improved power generation, distribution network and infrastructure, as most customers are now metered.

He added: “We are doing an aggressive metering process. So when you have that, you have embedded generation-the power plant that delivers more than the amount of power that you needed within that distribution network. That is what is required to have electricity. You can have that in different places. We can have that just like what we have now in Aba, and have reliable quality electricity so that industries can function and compete with their counterparts elsewhere.”

Nnaji expressed concern on the high cost of electricity in the country, noting that there is no how manufacturing companies can compete without a reliable electricity, as he added that the transmission companies could also consider having another grid level so that they would be able to generate more power.

Meanwhile, when asked how sacrosanct the political zoning formula is in Enugu State, the former minister said it was an agreement made by the political figures of the state, and that it is working, adding that it has about brought peace to the polity.

“There is no place in the constitution that says there is going to be zoning, so Senator Ike Ekweremadu can run because the constitution doesn’t forbid him from doing that . However, there is an agreement that exists among the people in the state and that agreement states that we are going to be rotating from Enugu East senatorial zone to Enugu Eest senatorial zone and to Enugu North. So that was how Senator Chimaroke Nnamani became the state governor in 1999 and Sullivan Chime and now Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi also became governors. So by the number of people who are running in Enugu East senatorial zone, you can tell that the people believe in zoning.”

Asked what assurances he got to stick his neck out on the governorship race and if politics will not distract his independent power station in Abia State, he said: “I do not run a Keyman risk government. What we have done is to ensure that we have people who are in executive management position in various companies that comprised our power projects. We have generation and distribution part of the business.

“We have people running the power projects, and in addition, we have operation and management companies. So I am confident that they will be able to run the companies with or without me, so that investors will be confident that there are capable and experienced people. I don’t have to be the one running the day-to-day business of the company.”

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