A memeber representing the South-West on the board of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Michael Oluwagbemi, has said that governors have no excuse not to provide electricity for their states.
According to him, electricity, which is on the Concurrent List in the 1999 Constitution, gives state governments a power to provide electricity as much as the Federal Government.
This was just as he said that the South-West in 2022 benefitted immensely from REA initiatives with almost 100 megawatts of grid impact projects, and 160 kilometres of streetlights installed.
Oluwagbemi, who spoke in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday, while giving account of his stewardship as representative of the South-West on the board of the REA, said: “I must continue to say this and I know that many of our state governors won’t like to hear that power is on the Concurrent List in the Constitution and not on the Exclusive List. Constitutionally speaking, state governments have a requirement to provide electricity as much as the Federal Government.
“I am not the one that wrote the Constitution, but it is there. In Nigeria today, the airports are on the Exclusive List, but I have never heard of any state government trying to build an airport and it is denied the right to do so. There is no excuse for state governors not to get involved and produce power from the mini grid.
“We should ask governors why they are not providing power and putting states in darkness. You can blame BEDC and the likes, but at the end of the day, the responsibility for regulating the distribution companies lies with the state governments.
“If you go to that section of the Constitution, the Federal Government only has responsibility for generation and transmission, while states have responsibilities for generation, transmission and distribution. So, the Discos that operate in your states can be regulated out of existence by properly constituted regulatory bodies by the House of Assembly.
“For example, states in the South-West have no reason not to set up power development companies to take up the roles of these private developers. They can just set up power development companies and come to REA and get free money. REA is giving $500 per connection. They will get it as long as they are registered as Limited Liability Company. It is a strategy that our governors should pursue.”