Four days after it issued a press statement warning those it called mortal enemies of progress in the Southeast for spreading rumours against the Geometric Power group which is about to commission its 188-megawatt electricity generation plant in Aba in Abia State, the Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria (ECAN) has lauded the Nigerian media for living up to their social responsibility role by not cooperating with “vested interests in the smear campaign against electricity development in the state.”
In a statement in Enugu on Tuesday, signed by the ECAN Southeast zonal chairman, Engineer Joseph Ubani, and the secretary, Comrade Christopher Okpara, the nongovernmental organisation commended Mass Communication practitioners in the Southeast and elsewhere in the country for standing by the truth in electricity matters.
“The shadowy persons went from one media house to another and from state to state in the Southeast last week,” stated the NGO, “in the hope of capitalising on the economic misery to compromise journalists to publish their sensational stories, but they were rejected.
“This shows that the Nigerian media are alive to their role as responsible members of society who would not succumb to the wily acts of those who don’t mean well for our people.”
The ECAN officials described the Geometric Power plant and Aba Power which will provide electricity to nine of the 17 local government areas in Abia as the largest investment in the Southeast.
According to sources close to Afrexim Bank, the largest financier of the integrated power project, Geometric Power has invested close to $800 million in electricity development in Abia State.
“It is worth almost double of the Nigerian Breweries plant at Amah in Enugu State,” disclosed one of the sources who did not want to be identified in the press because he was not authorised to speak to the media on this issue.
Engineer Cliff Eneh, a Lagos-based energy consultant and former senior manager with the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), who used to work with the Texas Power and Light Company in the United States, noted that though businesses and individuals in Aba and the environs would be the primary beneficiaries of the power project when it is commissioned in a couple of weeks, other parts of the country would benefit from it.
“Power currently supplied from the national grid to Aba, a major industrial city, will be taken to other cities, towns, and villages, thereby boosting power availability everywhere,” he told journalists.
“In addition, excess power from the Geometric Power plant will be sent to the grid for transmission to other areas of Nigeria, thereby enhancing socioeconomic activity throughout the country.”
Besides, continued Eneh, when there is the constant and quality power supply in Aba, other electricity firms, especially distribution companies, will have to improve their services because a huge challenge has been thrown at them.”
Healthy competition, the veteran power engineer continued, is the soul of modern business.
The apex association of electricity consumers noted that it “is in recognition of the huge benefits of improved power to the Nigerian people and their economy that the Nigerian media refused to collaborate with those against power development in the country to report false and sensational stories the shadowy characters were sponsoring.”
The media, it added, “are still following the footsteps of such preeminent early journalists as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, among others, who were outstanding and patriotic nationalists in the days of the struggle for Nigeria’s independence.”