Geometric Power Plant Signals a Bright Future for Abia State | #NwokeukwuMascot


…As The Geometric Power Plant Comes On Stream by Abraham Amah | #NwokeukwuMascot 

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The  official commissioning of the Geometric independent power project located in Osisioma, a suburb of Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State and in deed the South East by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu represents a great milestone in Nigeria’s journey to sustainable and uninterrupted power supply through the National Independent Power Projects, NIPPS scheme.

Conceived as a private initiative by Nigeria’s former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, Geometric Power is a full-fledged electricity utility company in the value chain of the power business including generation, distribution and marketing. The economic potential of the thermal plant with a 188 MW of electricity is huge as it would provide steady power to the Enyimba Economic City, another huge private business concern located within three local government areas of Abia State; Ukwa East, Ukwa West and Ugwunagbo. In addition, the Abia dry seaport, another economic flagship located in Isiala Ngwa South local government area would be a big beneficiary of power supply from the plant.

In all, the power plant would in the present phase, supply electricity to the area designated as Aba mega city comprising nine local government areas of Abia State, with the possibilities of expansion to take on more areas in the future as well as export power to bordering States as the case may be. The nine local government areas are Aba North, Aba South, Ugwunagbo, Osisioma, Obingwa, Isiala Ngwa North, Isiala Ngwa South, Ukwa East and Ukwa West. The interplay of the various economic initiatives as envisioned by the former leaders of the state and  embedded in the Aba mega city would certainly leapfrog the economic opportunities in Abia State.

The story of Geometric Power Limited and the local politics and intrigues that dogged it for over ten years, to the point of a frustrating collapse is not within the purview of this discourse, after all, whatever happened is now in the past as all the grey and contentious issues have been resolved, making it possible for the project to finally come on stream to provide the primary infrastructural base required to effectively jumpstart and scale the industrial potential of Aba and the ingenuity and resilience of its people.

The entrepreneurial courage and foresight of the visioner of Geometric Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, for believing in his capacity to undertake such a massive investment of $800m at the individual level inspires optimism. His ability to stay through the tough period is inspirational and above all placing economic rationality over sentiments by choosing Aba in Abia State as the project location deserves commendation. The choice of Aba, the potential therein and the best efforts and honest commitments of the Abia State government through the consistent intervention of its governors who foresaw the possibilities of a fully industrialised Aba through the Geometric power supply is a conflation of ideas and resources meant to place Aba and Abia in the industrial map of Africa.

In celebrating this huge feat which is denoted as the single highest investment in the South East, we must not forget in a hurry, but eminently recognise the personal sacrifices, best efforts and honest intentions of individuals, especially the previous governors of Abia State who contributed immensely to the success of the project we are celebrating today. The initial intervention of the governor of Abia State, Chief T. A. Orji in providing a conducive environment for the take-off of construction work in the plant site by ensuring that compensation and other matters related to native lands and obligations were conducted in the most peaceful atmosphere gave the project a good start.

In 2013, Governor T. A. Orji rehabilitated the 1.4km Geometric access road in Osisioma to provide easy access to the site and fast track the completion of the project to boost the economic activities in the Aba area and grow the State’s economy. In the same year, the Abia State government of Chief T. A. Orji granted tax waivers to Geometrics totalling N50m as a show of support for the company and the government's unreserved commitment to the completion of the project. In 2015, Governor T. A. Orji also brought President Goodluck Jonathan to visit and inspect the Geometric Power plant that was under construction but encumbered with several bureaucratic bottlenecks that had prevented its take-off. President Jonathan on that visit pledged to dismantle every bureaucratic roadblock on the way of Geometric and by so doing help to realise the hidden treasures in Aba which had for years been locked up by the lack of steady power infrastructure. Pursuant to the State government’s commitment to the completion of the project, Governor Orji continued to give bureaucratic State-level and moral support until he left office.

Realising the huge economic benefits derivable from the power project and its multiplier effect in the Aba area for residents, industrialists, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises and minor businesses, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu took off from where his predecessor stopped and continued to support the project in several ways. Besides ensuring that the access road to the project site remained motorable at all times, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu led delegations several times to Egypt and South Africa to negotiate an Afrexim bank loan and in February 2021 facilitated the financial closure with the bank which provided a $50m facility to Geometrics. According to Dr. Ikpeazu, “I led delegations to Cairo several times and to South Africa where we achieved financial closure. Even the President of Afrexim bank commended us openly.”

Not done, Dr. Ikpeazu continued to work with Geometrics and other stakeholders including the office of the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE to straighten a major contentious issue around the business concern and on February 16, 2022, the company took over the Aba Ring-Fenced area from the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC and became a full-fledged standalone electricity utility company.

In recognition of the support received from Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in the process of building the power plant, the promoter, Prof. Barth Nnaji poured encomiums on him on February 22, 2022 during an inspection tour of the facility and recounted how Dr. Ikpeazu helped to revive the project and travelled with him several times to meet institutional investors. Specifically, Prof. Nnaji said, “this project wouldn’t have seen the light of the day without the support of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu”, and re-affirmed that the Abia State government has a 5% equity stake in the project.

Having broken all entry barriers, survived all the intrigues and power play, seen the tenure of two governors of the host State; Senator T. A. Orji and Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and being commissioned during the tenure of the third governor, Dr. Alex Otti, Geometric Power project is a child of perseverance, the product of the resilience of the promoters and the immutable power of doggedness of everyone that has contributed in any measure to the success of what we are celebrating.

As we enter into the service delivery phase of the project, it is incumbent on all stakeholders to continue to provide the requisite support that would scale the business to the next level and provide the needed steady supply of power to individuals and businesses in the Aba area. The present State government must as a matter of policy provide all necessary support, especially with a view to helping Geometric to expand its infrastructure, technology and other facilities required to provide the entire Abia State with uninterrupted power supply in the nearest future.

Geometric Power should understand that the expectations of the people of Abia are high and rightly so, because they believe that an individual who conceived such a huge venture and nurtured it through turbulent times would also have the capacity to deliver top notch and efficient services to the delight and satisfaction of the people and numerous customers. The future of electricity in Abia State is in the hands of the company by providing seamless power, the support of the government through favourable business policies and the people through complainace with  regulations and meeting obligations regularly.

Abraham Amah is the Vice Chairman of Abia PDP and the Acting State Publicity Secretary.


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