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Empowering Abia – The Geometric Power Project’s Journey from Vision to Reality

Empowering Abia – The Geometric Power Project’s Journey from Vision to Reality

In the heart of Abia State, a revolutionary initiative, the Geometric Power Project, has is currently transforming the Nigerian energy landscape. In the last few days since the plan was launched by the Vice President of Nigeria, Senator Kashim Shettima, there has been elation across the length and breadth of the nation. However, the journey from conception to actualisation was anything but straightforward, a testament to resilience and unwavering commitment.

The project dates back nearly two decades ago, during the administration of Governor Orji Uzor Kalu. The visionary founder of Geometrics Power Limited, and a former Minister of Power, under the President Goodluck Jonathan, Prof. Bart Nnaji, took the reins of the initiative and sought support from Governor Alex Otti during his tenure as an Executive Director at First Bank.

The project encountered challenges during the global economic crisis, with the bank putting the brakes on its advancement, leaving it in a state of uncertainty. Offering insight into the project’s prolonged journey, Otti, during a recent interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, disclosed “the founder of Geometrics Power Limited and ex-Minister for Science and Technology, Bart Nnaji, approached me in 2010 to seek my support,” highlighting the discontinuation of funding from the former bank due to the global economic crisis.

Otti detailed the subsequent efforts to secure financial backing, stating, “We processed an $85 million facility for him (Nnaji), but unfortunately, he couldn’t draw down on that facility because the board of the bank felt that because I was proceeding to Diamond Bank as CEO, it wouldn’t make any sense to allow the country to withdraw the facility when the person that was going to manage it was not there.”

The Project:
The culmination of this long-anticipated project was celebrated on Monday, February 26, when Vice President Kashim Shettima inaugurated the Geometric Power Plant in Aba, the industrial epicentre of the state. Positioned in the Osisioma industrial hub of Aba. This power plant stands as a testament to innovation and progress, earning its distinction as the first integrated electricity facility in Nigeria, a nation that has grappled for decades under the challenges of electricity supply.

The ambitious $800 million project, inclusive of a 27-kilometer natural gas pipeline, spearheaded by Geometrics Power Limited, has the substantial capability to generate and distribute 181 megawatts of power. The recent establishment of Aba Power Limited Electric, a novel electricity distribution company, marks a significant milestone, as it commences the supply of electricity to nine out of the 17 local government areas in Abia State, at an estimated cost of $800 million. The project also boasts a 27-kilometer natural gas pipeline, a symbol of meticulous planning and execution.

Revolutionising Abia: The Impact of Geometric Power Project
The dawn of the Geometric Power Project heralds a new era for Abians, as they now relish the luxury of 24-hour power supply. Already, there are testimonies to the effect that residents were served 48 hours uninterrupted power supply, upon the launch. The state’s industries, businesses, and households are now beneficiaries of uninterrupted electricity, which will by extension, impact on the general life of Abians.

Aba, the vibrant state capital and a bustling industrial hub in the South East, is poised for significant economic growth and industrialisation with the advent of a reliable power supply. This transformative development is set to stimulate the local economy, as industries stand to benefit from enhanced operational efficiency, leading to increased production, job creation, and heightened investment. The prospect of uninterrupted electricity holds the promise of attracting businesses and industries to Aba, seeking to optimise their productivity with a critical reliance on electricity supply.

Breaking free from historical ties to the national grid, Abia State will emerge as a self-sufficient power generator, thanks to the Geometric Power Plant. This capacity to generate a substantial portion of electricity locally not only ensures a reliable power supply for the state but also alleviates the strain on the national grid, contributing significantly to overall grid stability.

The Geometric Power Project’s prowess extends beyond meeting local needs; it positions itself as a key player in Nigeria’s energy ecosystem. With an excess power generation capacity of approximately 88 megawatts, the project becomes a contributor to the nation’s energy security. The surplus power seamlessly integrates into the national grid, aligning with the country’s quest for a robust and sustainable energy infrastructure.

The impact of the Geometric Power Project transcends the realm of electricity, catalysing comprehensive infrastructure development. The construction of the power plant, coupled with the establishment of an extensive gas pipeline, augments the state’s overall infrastructure. This enhancement serves as a beckoning call for further investment, as a well-developed infrastructure is a cornerstone for sustainable economic growth.

Consciously opting for natural gas in power generation, the Geometric Power Project underscores its commitment to environmental sustainability. Abia State’s reduced reliance on diesel generators and other environmentally detrimental sources marks a positive step towards an eco-friendly approach. The project’s environmental consciousness aligns with contemporary global efforts to address climate concerns, contributing to a healthier and more sustainable living environment.

Navigating Challenges: Will Abians Embrace Payment for Electricity?
As the Geometric Power Project stands as a testament to Abia State’s resilience, collaboration, and visionary leadership, an essential question looms large: Can Abians afford or, more crucially, be willing to pay for this new lifestyle, of a 24 hours electricity supply?

Nigeria is notorious for electricity theft, with the nation losing over 40% of its electricity production. According to a Vanguard Newspaper report from June 26, 2020, Distribution Companies (DISCOs) claimed to lose a staggering N30 billion monthly to theft. This rampant energy pilfering presents a substantial challenge to the viability of the power sector.

Living in an apartment where I am privy to a neighbour who engages in electricity theft, I am acutely aware of the widespread issue. Over the past three years, while I spend an average of N20,000 monthly on electricity, my neighbour, involved in illegal connections, only pays a meagre N1,000. This scenario is just one instance of energy theft, emphasising the immense financial losses incurred by DISCOs annually.

Bringing this predicament to Aba, one wonders if the majority of Abians, accustomed to not paying for electricity, will readily embrace a new payment culture. If Abians resist paying for the electricity they consume, how will the state and its partners recoup their investments? The sustainability of an uninterrupted power supply hinges on the willingness of consumers to meet their financial obligations.

It is imperative for Nigerians, particularly Abians, to cultivate a change in mindset, becoming ready and willing to pay for services rendered, especially by the government. The prevalent sense of entitlement, often perpetuated by politicians suggesting that government services should be free, must be addressed.

Charting the Future: Sustaining Progress and Growth
This milestone achievement not only brightens the state but promises a more electrifying future for Nigeria. The Geometric Power Project symbolises progress, fortitude, and a shared vision for a thriving nation, yet its success could be shortlived.

To ensure the sustainability of this achievement, it is crucial for the project’s architects to court businesses and industries back to Aba. Historically, Aba was home to major enterprises such as Guinness PLC, Glassforce, Flour Mills, Nigerian Breweries, Unilever, Nigerian Bottling Company, Pfizer, PZ, and Neimeth, among others. The state government should actively engage these companies, as well as new ones, to consider relocating or establishing their plants in Aba. Innoson Motors, a notable car manufacturing industry, could be encouraged to relocate its production plant to Aba.

The return of these businesses and the revenue generated should form the foundation for a subsidised electricity tariff plan for Abians. This strategic move would not only benefit the populace but also ensure that the success of the Geometric Power Project, is sustained.

The state on the other hands must be strict in addressing electricity theft. While there is the tendency to perceive the government of the day as being incentive, for making them pay for electricity service, the government of Dr. Alex must not shy away from ensuring that consumers comply. Those who don’t pay must not be serve electricity under whatever guise.

Without such thoughtful interventions, the risk of other states shying away from similar capital-intensive projects remains high. The delicate balance between meeting the people’s needs and ensuring a return on investment for the investors is paramount for the long-term success of such transformative initiatives.

Congratulations Abians and Nigerians, a better future beckons!

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