In the wake of the Corona virus pandemic and the shutting down of Lagos in February 2020, the Liberty CDA and its Ifelodun neighbouring community in Laketu area of Ikorodu, ceased to have electric power supply. Their ordeal for power supply was not caused by the power holding company, neither was it a fault of anyone in the community. The explosion in population caused so much strain on the former transformer and it started experiencing intermittent breakdown, causing the communities to live without power supply for days.
The 300 KVA power transformer, which served the two communities located directly behind Lucky Fiber factory along Itoikin road, was unable to stand the strain of supplying the two communities, which inhabited over three hundred houses.
As a result of that, the Power Holding Company officials advised the community to accept an irregular supply structure of one day on, one day off. The offer was not pleasant to the residents as the one day on was not guaranteed.
Taking the bull by its horns, both communities resolved to stay in blackout till they could afford a power transformer with bigger capacity. The decision was a tough one as the communities remained in blackout till July 2020. Following the popular notion that nothing free comes from the Power Holding Company, both communities resolved to raise the cash to buy a bigger transformer. The harsh economic situation invoked by the national lockdown hampered the donation from members of the CDAs, as they couldn’t raise one third of the cost of a new transformer. The electric power situation for the community appeared uncertain as many could not ascertain if they would regain power supply for the rest of 2020.
Amidst the reluctant response by the community people to comply with their dues, the new Chairman of Liberty Community Development Association, Mr. Moses Adeyemi Hunja, resorted to consulting the Power Holding Company officials for possible way out of the situation. The officials explained that they will provide a free power transformer for the communities but it has to go through the bureaucratic channel. While hoping to get a free transformer from the government officials, the Chairman still went ahead with the arrangement the community dwellers had about the donation for the transformer. “We did not want to put all our eggs in one basket, so we went ahead with plan B, which is donations by the residents to buy another transformer, should the PHCN officials failed to provide a free transformer,” Mr Hunja explained.
The communities had several altercations over the mode of raising the fund and almost dissolved their joint usage of one transformer. But a glimmer of hope appeared at the end of the tunnel as Mr. Hunja discovered that his predecessors had applied for a new transformer a couple of years back and that the process was still ongoing. Past chairmen of Liberty CDA, Mr. Onyemachi Mpamah and Mr. Akeem Balogun, years back, had applied to the Power Holding Company when the 300 kva transformer was overloaded and started breaking down. Mr. Moses Hunja followed up on the previous applications by writing regular reminders to the Ikeja head office. The Ikeja Managing Director acknowledged the letters and invited the Chairman for appraisal of the situation. In the month of June 2020, the Managing Director of IKEDC informed the Liberty Chairman that the new power transformer of 500KVA had arrived and community representatives went to see it at the Egbin Power Station. It was subsequently moved to the site of the former transformer at Laketu. The communities were caught up in euphoria of joy as they had lost hope of having light for the rest of 2020. Getting a transformer for free from Power Holding Company was a big surprise for the people.
The people couldn’t wait to install their new transformer, but were soon faced with another challenge. Some of the power cables linking the transformer to the power grid were bad and new ones with the appropriate capacity were required. The community dwellers appointed representatives to meet with politicians for support in procuring the power cables which was priced for three hundred and seventy five thousand naira.
The community emissaries approached parliamentarian, SOB Agunbiade who is representing Ikorodu Constituency I at the Lagos State House of Assembly and the second party met Honourable Jimi Benson who representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives, Abuja. In reaction to the plight of the community people, Honourable SOB Agunbiade, the Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, donated two hundred thousand naira, while Honourable Jimi Benson donated one hundred thousand naira for the purchase of the transformer cables.
In second week of July 2020, both Liberty and Ifelodun communities had electricity power supply, after living in blackout for over five months. The fact that they got a free power transformer from the public power holding company and the prompt response to support the communities by the local politicians still remain a big surprise to the people.
These actions by the officials of the Power Holding Company and the local politicians have reconfigured the mindset of many locales who had given up on our society. Now many of them believe that public utilities can be procured without bribery and that there are still politicians who genuinely care about