ABUJA—THE Federal Government has disclosed that construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan road will commence within the next four to six weeks, just as it said Nigerians would begin to experience uninterrupted light by December, 2012 with plans to generate 5,400 mega watts from the current 4,400 mega watts.
Speaking with newsmen weekend, the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe who noted that the president was gradually delivering on the promises which he made to Nigerians before the election, said the electoral reform, which was part of his promises was gradually becoming a part of the nation against the backdrop that the presidential election of 2011 was adjudged the best globally as well as that of Edo governorship election which was conducted recently under the watch of Jonathan’s administration. He added that he never interfered with it and government ensured neutrality.
President Goodluck Jonathan
Okupe explained that the 5,400 mega watts target will be achieved following the arrangement by the National Integrated Power Project, NIPP, where by December, 1,000MW would be added to the current 4,400 currently available in the country, as against the little above 1,900MW before Jonathan took over.
According to him, President Jonathan inherited grounded and moribund NIPP with 10 of the projects abandoned and with the rehabilitation process and efforts made, some of the grids are adding about 600MW.
Okupe debunked insinuations by some critics that power increased because of increase in the water level. He said: “When the President assumed office, the energy capacity of the country at that time ranged between 1,900 megawatts to some 2,200 megawatts. The Independent Power Projects, 10 of them were grounded and nearly moribund, but today Nigeria is generating in excess of 4,400 megawatts of electricity.
“Some cynics have said this is due to high level of water in the hydro generating plants in Shiroro and Kanji. This isn’t true.
“I can tell you authoritatively that why it is true that every year there is a marginal increase in power supply, because of the increased contribution in the hydro plants, that cannot account for the 15 hours or so that is being currently enjoyed in many parts of the country.
The reason for this additional increase is coming from the NIPP that are now adding between 600 and 800 megawatts to the national grid. That’s what is responsible for this new improvement and between now and December, we are expecting nearly an additional 1,000 megawatts, because of increase and an arrangement that have been made for purchase and supply of gas to some of these NIPP projects. More areas will enjoy longer hours of electricity supply by December.”
CBN to begin awareness campaign on N5,000 note
On the proposed N5,000 note by the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Presidential aide stressed the need for the apex bank to begin serious campaign as part of moves to carry the people along, adding that the introduction would reduce the demand on dollars, as people who purchase dollars do so to reduce the volume of money they carry about.
Okupe who insisted that the new denomination will not conflict with the cashless society, said, “It does not conflict with cashless society. Cashless society does not mean that you do not go about with money or pay for items with money. The printing of N5,000 note has no conflict with distinction. It will reduce demand on dollars, because people that purchase dollars do so to reduce the volume of money they carry about.
“We are losing so much on issue that is not as important as other issues. We tend to politicize issues and this is an issue we should have left in the hands of experts, it will not have impact on the economy. I did not say that consultation should not be done, but Nigerians should focus their attention on issues that have direct impact on the economy.”
On Lagos-Ibadan Road, he said, “the one that gives a lot of anxiety to the Nigerian public is the Lagos-Ibadan Express road. It is a test case in the Public Private Partnership and it is obvious that globally this is a trend that governments are patronizing. It is important that we don’t give wrong signal on this major one and that is part of the reason why government is taking its time.
“Federal Government has judgment debt in excess of hundreds of billions of naira. So, government is also trying to avoid issue of unnecessary litigation, but I can tell you, authoritatively also that everything concerning the Lagos Ibadan road is about to be perfected. Real construction work is likely to commence within the next four to six weeks, maximum.”
On rule of law, Okupe who noted that President Jonathan led government has adhered to rule of law, said without it there will be no democracy, insisting that lack of it would have affected the nation’s foreign and local investment, adding that not only has President Jonathan liberalized governance, but has also liberalized security because the hitherto draconian approach no longer in vogue.ENDS