- Discos Knock Obaseki Over Row With BEDC Boss
The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors has expressed its displeasure over the recent treatment meted out to the Managing Director of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Mrs Funke Osibodu, by the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki.
Obaseki, on Tuesday, had ordered Osibodu to leave his office for “failing to meet obligations to electricity consumers in Edo and throwing the state into darkness for weeks.”
The mild drama was said to have played out while the governor was receiving members of the House of Representatives Committee on Power who were in the Government House on a courtesy visit.
But ANED, the umbrella body of the 11 electricity distribution companies in the country, described the governor’s outburst as unfair.
The Executive Director for Research and Advocacy, ANED, Chief Sunday Oduntan, said in a statement, “What is most unfortunate about the whole episode is that there is a misunderstanding about how the power sector works and this has led to the governor’s unfair expectations from the BEDC.
“With the upcoming elections and everyone looking for scapegoats, I cannot also rule out that local politics may be involved in this case and that is highly unfortunate.”
Oduntan noted that governor mentioned that the state was generating over 600 megawatts and as such should not be encountering power supply challenges.
“However, he needs to understand that the power generated at Azura or any other power plant in the country for that matter is first sent to the national grid from where it is redistributed to different Discos for distribution to customers,” he added.
According to him, Benin Disco is only entitled to nine per cent of the power sent out from the national grid and so it is clear that the Disco does not have the power to retain the 600MW generated by Azura.
The ANED spokesman said, “More interesting is the fact that out of this nine per cent, over 40 per cent of it is distributed within Edo State as the host community of the Disco. The other three states in the franchise area – Delta, Ekiti and Ondo – share the remaining 60 per cent.
“You can clearly see, therefore, that Edo State enjoys the lion share of what the Disco gets already. To allocate more to Edo – which is what the governor is advocating – will be grossly unfair to the other states.”
Oduntan said it was “unfair to attack a Disco that is on record as having the highest number of prepaid meters in the country all in a bid to ensure customers get value for their money as well as to end the practice of estimated billing within its franchise area.”
Meanwhile, two groups and a market women association have praised Obaseki for the “display of courage and defence of the common man.”
According to a statement from the Edo State Government, Mr Edorodion Frank, in a message on behalf of Aisiokuo-Edo Group, commended the governor “for sending clear signals to those onlookers who think you are weak or afraid to take some compelling proactive radical decisions, which are in the overall interest of Edo people, no matter whose ox is gored.”
He said his reactions, on behalf of Edo people, had won the hearts of majority of residents in the state, including the opposition parties and the non-indigenes, particularly the Aisiokuo-Edo group.
The leader of market women in the state, Mrs Blacky Omoregie, said the governor had once again demonstrated his love for the common people in the state.
“He rose to the occasion to prove the Edo man in him that he is fearless and honest. Our businesses have been suffering for over three weeks since we have been in darkness in Edo State due to the insensitivity of the BEDC,” she added.
The Benin Integrity Group, led by Chief Uhunwa Ighodaro, was quoted as saying, “The Benin Integrity Group salutes Governor Godwin Obaseki’s patriotism and courage to defend the overall interest of Edo people and advises the governor to take more decisive and proactive actions in his burning desire to lay solid socio-economic and infrastructural development of Edo State.”