New Telegraph

Geometric Power Project and Ikpeazu’s footprints of sustainable development

It was James Freeman Clarke, an American church minister, theologian and author, who once famously said that: “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation.” Right now, Clarke and other likeminded philosophers would be turning in their graves as a majority of our political leaders have stuck to being just politicians, refusing to graduate to becoming statesmen who work for the good of the people including the generations after them.

And unless they see political power as a call to service, they are satisfied just with having their names attached to mean feats that do not positively impact generations beyond theirs. That is why those who seek elective offices with the genuine intention of impacting the people usually leave legacies that would not only outlast themselves but also upon which generations after them can build and develop. So, when the immediate past Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu (Ph.D.), took it upon himself in 2018 to intervene in the four-year imbroglio that stalled the Independent Power Project operated by Geometric Power that should have served Aba and its environs with uninterrupted 24-hour electricity, it was in response to his natural instinct to do everything within his powers to ensure that the people enjoyed the dividends of democracy even if such benefits would only eventually start yielding fruits after his tenure as Governor. He stated this much when he went on a tour of the multi-billion dollar facility installed by Geometric Power Project at the Osisioma Industrial Layout, alongside the promoter, Prof. Barth Nnaji and other key members of the company on February 23, 2022. At the tour, Ikpeazu had stated that the power project was “the fulcrum upon which the industrial development of Aba, Abia, and the South East will revolve. “Two years from today, the story of economic development in Aba and Abia State will take a completely different turn. Things will not remain the same again around here, and anyone who hasn’t concluded plans to have a presence here is already late.” Exactly two years after that statement, the entire state is agog with the prospect of that vision coming to fruition as the power project is due for commissioning on Monday, February 26, 2024. However, the journey to development was not without its challenges. It was a road plated with thorns but which only a determined leader with a genuine concern for the people could help to overcome. The Chief Emeka Offor-owned Interstate Electric Company Ltd was a core investor in the Enugu Electricity Distribution licence issued when the Federal Government unbundled the power sector. Prior to that time, the Federal Government had issued the licence for an independent power project to cover Aba and its environs to Geometric Power.

However, this sale was, by omission, not disclosed to Interstate Electric Company at the time of issuing it the EEDC licence leading to tussles between the two power giants that stalled the take-off of the independent power project by Geometric for four years. In a bid to ensure that such an important project did not go into extinction, given its strategic benefits to the people and area as an industrial, technological and commercial hub of not just Abia State but also that of the entire South-east and beyond, Ikpeazu took it upon himself to intervene and initiated several meetings between Geometric Power and Interstate Electric Company Ltd with a view to amicably resolving the matter in the overall interest of the people. He further escalated the issue with the then Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, and after several follow-up meetings, the matter was amicably resolved. However, with the four-year hiatus caused by the dispute, the financial obligations of Geometric to the project had risen as a result of depreciation to equipment, galloping interest rates on loans, inflation etc. It got stuck again. Short of the needed humongous finance needed to resuscitate the project, the only way out was to seek more loans.

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