The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday, asked the Managing Director of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Mrs Funke Osibodu, to leave his office for “failing to meet obligations to electricity consumers in Edo and throwing the state into darkness for weeks.”
The mild drama was said to have played out while the governor was receiving members of the Federal House of Representatives Committee on Power who were in the Government House on a courtesy visit.
According to a statement from the Edo State Government, the governor was surprised to see the BEDC boss among the lawmakers as her name was not on the list of expected guests.
It said the governor had been in darkness alongside millions of Edo State residents for weeks.
Speaking to the delegation after Osibodu had left the gathering, the governor said the BEDC had continued to fail in collaborating with the state government to provide stable electricity in the state.
Obaseki said, “The BEDC has been an obstacle all the way. They will not provide electricity and will not allow you to get alternative sources of power. The state will not allow it.
“As governor of Edo State, we have lost confidence in the BEDC. We don’t want them here. We are in darkness. Let us remain in darkness until we find people who are capable of delivering electricity. This is our position.”
According to the governor, despite the fact that the state generates about 600 to 700 megawatts of electricity, the people are still in darkness.
He accused the BEDC of being noncommittal about the issue of power distribution, saying, “To assist, we set up electricity committee across the local government areas chaired by the Deputy Governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, with the BEDC as a member, to understand the challenge. But the BEDC frustrated our resolve to finding a lasting solution to the issue of providing electricity to our people.”
In its reaction to the development, the BEDC said the visit by the House of Representatives Committee on Power, in company with officials of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, BEDC, the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, was aimed at updating and assisting in finding solutions to the recent power-related issues in Benin.
It said, “The BEDC continues to be a responsive and responsible distributor of electricity across the franchise states of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti and is committed to serving its customers better.
“In addition, it is on record that out of the nine per cent allocation that the BEDC gets from the national grid, Edo State gets above 40 per cent, while the other three states share the balance. We intend to continue to work towards ensuring that various bottlenecks across the power value chain are eliminated to the benefit of our customers in all our franchise states.
“As a host community, we shall also continue to support the good people of Edo State in ensuring that an enabling environment that will create jobs and improvement in the lives of the Edo citizens is sustained. It should be noted that Edo State has the highest number of prepaid meters all over the country and with the introduction of Meter Asset Provider by the NERC, we shall further accelerate the metering of consumers with effect from the first quarter of 2019 when the scheme is expected to kick off in order to rapidly reduce estimated billing.”