Governor Godwin Obaseki has disclosed plans by Edo, Delta, Ekiti, and Ondo states to buy back their shares from the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) and reorganise the distribution company to provide a lasting solution to the electricity crisis in the affected states.
Obaseki said electricity was key in driving development in any society, noting that his government has over the past seven years taken deliberate steps to encourage investments in the electricity sector to grow the state’s economy.
Obaseki, in a statement made available to BusinessDay on Monday by Crusoe Osagie, his media aide, said he was in talks with his colleague governors to buy back their shares in BEDC, to ensure that Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo are able to distribute their own electricity.
“I am discussing with my brother, the governor of Delta State, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, and one of the things we talked about is the technicality of electricity. People think of seeing light, forgetting about the technicality involved and the last man on that channel that distributes the light is the distribution company.
“I, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo governors, we have to approach Fidelity Bank and buy back the shares in BEDC. We would make an offer to buy that back to reorganise this company to enable us to have an Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo Distribution Company.”
“Without electricity, we can’t go anywhere. We have our own local grid which we can distribute to various communities as without electricity we are not going anywhere. Electricity is needed for economic growth and development. Those who have cheaper gas will have cheaper electricity and it will lead to cheaper cost of manufacturing and production.”
He added: “We don’t need to wait for Abuja for money but rather have a mind shift to activate and galvanise what we have to create the money our people need.
“Now we are all in darkness; any politics that keeps us in darkness is bad politics as everybody wants light no matter the political divide. No political party wants to stay in darkness, as the conversation started many months ago on purchasing the shares of BEDC, we can rapidly progress.
“The original buyers of the shares of BEDC know what they did. They went bankrupt as the bank took those shares and tried to sell to others but we have signified our interest to buy to ensure the bank doesn’t sell to the wrong people that will keep us in darkness again.”
He said the affected states were interested in buying back the shares not because they wanted to run an electricity business or company, but because they wanted to be part of decision-making and supervise the expert that would run the power distribution company better.
Maybe it’s time to take charge of our own territory. Benin electricity should give Benin light while that of Delta produces that of Delta State, it’s possible,” Obaseki said.