No matter what wailers say, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, is working very well for Nigeria. Conceived during his first term as part of the country’s power sector reform, the Energising Education Programme, EEP, was designed to implement the energy access and sufficiency action point of the ERGP. EEP is a federal government’s intervention focused on developing off-grid dedicated independent power plants, rehabilitating existing distribution infrastructure to supply clean, safe and reliable power to universities and affiliated teaching hospitals. EEP’s objective is strategically designed to address the electricity issues confronting the educational and health sectors of Nigeria.
This is therefore to provide off-grid captive power plants for 37 federal universities and seven university teaching hospitals across the six geo-political zones of the country; provide street lights to ensure safety for students, staff and visitors of the institutions; rehabilitate, strengthen and extend the existing distribution networks; develop and operate training centres to train and certify students in courses related to renewable energy; distribute power to surrounding communities in the second tier of each of each phase as a strategy for rural electrification subsequently resulting in an increase of economic activity within those communities and general well being. It is expected that the subsequent phases of the project will funded by the Nigerian Electrification Project which is also a federal government project administered by the REA in partnership with the World Bank and African Development Bank, AfDB.
There is no iota of doubt that the major challenge facing the Nigerian educational system today is the fact that power is the number one issue. Lack of power supply in federal universities and universities and university teaching hospitals in Nigeria has been cited as a barrier to learning, institutional operations, student residency and considering the role of education in economic growth and socio-economic development in Nigeria, the federal government through its ministry of power resolved to embark on projects that will provide reliable, sustainable and affordable power to our tertiary institutions.
It is the light of the resolve of the commitment of the federal government in ensuring a seamless facilitation and enhancement in teaching and learning and provision of health care services that Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo arrived the ancient city of Kano last Tuesday and proceed to the Bayero University, Kano to commission the largest off-grid solar hybrid power plant in Africa under the government’s EEP. The project is expected to provide 55, 815 students and 3, 077 staff with constant electricity supply from the university’s 7.1 solar hybrid power plant. While in Kano, Professor Osinbajo commissioned and launched 11.41 km of solar powered street lights within the university as well as world class renewable training centre.
The Bayero University project is the second to be commissioned under phase 1 of the energising education programme that will deliver clean and sustainable energy to nine federal universities and one university teaching hospital in the next four years, using solar hybrid and/or gas-fired captive power plants.
Speaking at the occasion, Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Professor Muhammad Yahuza-Bello commended the Government for the support to his University. It is very satisfying that the project will go a long way in improving the University’s productivity and efficiency, research and technology laboratories to operate for 24 hours daily. Talking about saving costs on electricity bills, Professor Bello explained that with the new project, the University would annually save N54m that would have gone to Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
It will therefore not be out of place to commend the PMB administration for keeping to its promise to place education at all levels as a priority since its inception in 2015, for its commitment towards sustainable energy and education. For President Buhari, it is one more pledge fulfilled. Nigerians must appreciate the government for its unflinching commitment towards sustainable energy and education in the country.
The power sector reform which is a product of the ERGP under President Buhari is working well for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians. No matter what wailers will say, Nigeria’s power sector is gradually moving to PMB’s next level. Gradually, Nigeria is moving up, up and up the ladder of progress and development.
Emeka Anyaoku Street,