By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
Cross River governor, Ben Ayade, Friday in Calabar said he views himself not as governor but as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the State while disclosing plans on ensuring adequate power supply for the industries coming into the state.
“The issue of been a governor does not even occur to me, I am more like the MD and CEO of Cross River State. Remember we have commoditize Cross River State and we are running it like a mercantile model” Ayade told members of the Government House Press Corps while on an inspection tour of projects with delegates from SkipperSeil Limited, a power firm, who are scheduled to invest in a 100 megawatts solar farm in the state.
Ayade pointed at embedded generation as key to achieving the target of 24 hours power supply in the capital city of Calabar since it was the only way the state government can control what it generates in order to provide the electricity needs of “the big factories that are coming into the state.”
Stressing the need to look elsewhere while waiting for a national solution to the myriads of problems plaguing the power sector, the governor stated that, “Given the challenges that we have in the country that power supply is rather on the decline, it is imperative that we cannot afford bringing in the big factories that are coming into this state while waiting on the national solution.
“So, with this robust project of generating an additional 100 megawatts and putting into the national grid, we have no control on how the national will distribute the 100 megawatts and that is why we are looking at an embedded generation system where within the shortest possible time, is going to deploy a minimum of 38 megawatts to Calabar as a city. That way, we are guaranteeing a 24 hours power supply within the shortest possible time.”
Earlier, the Group President Skipper T&D, a division of SkipperSeil Group, Jitender Sachdeva said the proposed projects were a continuum of the governor’s visit to Dubai where preliminary discussions had taken place.
Jitendei who was accompanied by the Joint President and CFO, SkipperSeil Limited, Praveen Gupta disclosed that an advance team of five had conducted studies in Ogoja, Ikom and other areas.
With Ogoja selected, Jitendei averred the TCN studies which is to be done by the Transmission Company of Nigeria has been carried out so power can be connected to the transmission network and stressed that the proposed solar farm in Ogoja will be “The first biggest organized solar farm in Nigeria”.
On the provision of 24hours power supply in Calabar, Jitendei said that, “We are bringing in as investors model, the power plants in Calabar and some of the rural districts and local government where we will give the generation either diesel fired or gas fired, either on investment basis or on rental basis or whatever works out but our main aim is to support His Excellency in his endeavor to light the whole of Cross River State in the shortest possible time.
“With all said and done, we should be providing approximately 40 megawatts in the next 365 days. 40 megawatts is a permanent solution, the temporal solution like the diesel fired or gas fired will be 38 megawatts which will give a standing support in the current situation where there is no power to support all the industry.”
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