By Hassan Mijinyawa.
The philosophy of rural-urban electrification centers broadly on improvement of social and economic lives of the people generally across a given environment. This is to enable government to reorder society to stem rural-urban migration and to stabilize the polity generally. Moreover, it’s intended to spread evenly the population to checkmate social ills and to sanitize society. In this direction, the Ishaku administration has given its best and ensured that attention is focused on the programme from the outset based on its master blueprint, The Rescue Agenda.
When the administration came on board, the electricity supply in Taraba State was generally most dismal with mere 2 megawatts, too migre to propel and drive even the most rural economy. As a starting point, Governor Darius Ishaku personally visited and engaged a power supply company in Yola, Adamawa state, where on personal goodwill and financial commitment, power supply was increased for Taraba state to 18 megawatts, which greatly improved energy supply for the state, resulting in huge economic multiplier effects, especially for small and medium scale businesses. Ditto, the social life received a boost, making meaningful life impactful.
Following this step, he mounted a 100KVA transformer in Jalingo and supplied 300KVA each to TSBS, neighbouring Sunkani and Bakin Dutse as well as to Wukari and Rafin Kada to start electrification at two complimentary levels of rural and urban settings. In a similar fashion, Governor Ishaku supplied 26 numbers 60 KVA generators to Wukari, while Bakin Dutse and Ibi in Southern Taraba were hooked up to the National Grid. In addition, 7.5 MWA transformer was installed at Takum to service Wukari business district. Taking accelerated steps to enhance supplies to cover the state, he commissioned a hydro-electric power generation project at Kakara in Central senatorial zone, to support the Beverages Company at Mambilla Plateau that produces Highland Tea, as well as cater for other businesses in that zone that depend on and are enhanced by electricity.
This was crucial in the complementarities of other programmes like Skills Acquisition Training that covered trades such as tailoring, hairdressing, cosmetic production; computer operation, welding and soap making that require the use of electricity to optimize performance. In this respect, participants made up of women and youth drawn from the 16 local councils of the state showed zeal and commitment. This has remained a remarkable contribution by the Ishaku administration to put food on the table of those once unemployed and for their families to make them responsible members of society.
Inevitably, it should be noted that part of the contributions came from Barr Anna Ishaku, wife of the governor through her pet project, Hope Afresh Foundation. She ensured that in improving communities, her foundation remarkably gave support to the disadvantaged to provide and sustain hope for a better life on a permanent basis, not just a fly in the pan.
In the quest to continue to upgrade facilities, the Ishaku administration completed the 7.5KVA injection sub-station project in Donga, while the rural electrification at Yikwa in Zing local government area of North Senatorial zone is already being connected to the National Grid.
Meanwhile, the Gindin Dorowa Rural Electrification project abandoned by the previous administrations has been completed and waiting commissioning.
To ensure that Taraba state gets a better deal, Governor Ishaku has continued to mount pressure on the Federal Government to see to the actualization of the power component of multi-billion naira Kashimbila Dam in Takum local government area of the state. This is being done through constructive engagement for the substations to evacuate easily power from the dam through Takum and Wukari, and eventually through Mutum Biyu and other satellite towns and villages to Jalingo of which work is fast progressing.
Also, work on the second phase of the Tunga Dam at Kakara is nearing completion, which when commissioned would add 330kilowatts of power to the existing output which will enable more surrounding areas to benefit from the power produced by the dam.
Historically, never before has there been such a corroborative effort and synergy of this magnitude between the Taraba State and the federal governments. This is to ensure that the Mambilla Hydro Power Project takes off.
Therefore, when completed every village and town in Taraba will light up apart from the huge economic benefits to states in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. Through various presentations, a lot has been achieved and in every way, the rural communities are already benefitting especially for those that belong to the site of the project through employment and other menial services they provide on a regular basis.
It is believed that Governor Ishaku has followed up his work plan to make a total electrification of Taraba State a toast of the people to find both urban and rural living attractive and comfortable.
Mijinyawa is the Special Adviser to the Governor on Press Affairs.