President Tinubu Commissions $800M Geometric Power Plant Aba, Extols Abia Gov Otti For Good Governance

President Tinubu Commissions $800M Geometric Power Plant Aba, Extols Abia Gov Otti For Good Governance

February 27, 2023 NewsOrient
News, Business And Economy, Technology

President Bola Tinubu has commissioned the historic Geometric Integrated Power Project, the first autonomous power plant in Nigeria, which promises uninterrupted power supply to Aba and its environs in Abia State.

President Tinubu, represented by his deputy, Vice President Kashim Shettima, described the Geometric Power as a game changing project and appreciated the Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, for his leadership acumen, and what he is doing in Abia State, noting that leadership was very crucial in development.

“Today in Aba, we saw testimony to good leadership. I saw the outpouring of emotions and love and support for Dr. Alex Otti.

“I was privileged to commission the hospital (Queen’s) Road, the Jubilee Road and Umuoba Road, on behalf of President Ahmed Tinubu.

“Your Excellency, posterity will be very kind to you. Keep the flag flying. Keep up the good works,” an obviously touched Vice President Shettima prayed.

The Geometric Integrated Power Project is a 141 Megawatts, expandable to 188 Megawatts, power generation, transmission and distribution facility, built to supply uninterrupted electricity to businesses and households across nine local government areas in Abia State within the Aba ring-fenced area.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony on Monday, at the facility in Osisioma, Aba, President Tinubu said the project bore testimony to the power of dreams as well as the fact that where there was a will, there would always be a way.

He said that the Presidency was proud of Professor Barth Nnaji, Chairman of the Geometric Power project, for the fact that he was able to bring the plant to life despite the numerous challenges he encountered for about 20 years the project was in the works.

In his speech, titled, “The Power to Dream”, the Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, said the power project holds great potential for the economic and social rejuvenation of Aba as a preferred destination for enterprise.

Governor Otti recalled how in 2010 Prof. Nnaji approached him and informed him of the funding challenges he was experiencing with the project. Going down memory lane, the Governor recalled:

“Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to share my story with Geometric. In 2010, Prof. Barth Nnaji came to see me in First Bank, Lagos, where I served as an Executive Director. He needed the support of the bank to complete the project, the funding of which had been unfortunately stopped two years before, by the bank that originally started the project. This bank happened to be Diamond Bank. After securing approval for an $85m facility from First Bank of Nigeria, Geometric Power could not draw on the facility as it had become public knowledge that I was resuming as the Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank shortly.

“As I resumed in Diamond on March 1, 2011, I put together a team that saw to the restructuring of the challenged facility and resumed funding of the project to completion. By the time I left Diamond towards the end of 2014, the three General Electric turbines and the 27km gas pipeline were in place. A combination of factors including ownership tussle over the Aba ring fence, sale of the oil block where the feed gas was going to come from to a new investor, and additional funding challenges, conspired to delay project delivery for close to 10 years.

“On assumption of office May 29, 2023, my team and I quickly folded our sleeves and started working with Geometric to resolve the gas supply problem by directly interfacing with top management of NNPC and today we have gas flowing to the turbines. Just as recorded in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to them that love God”. I’m therefore pleased that 14 years down the line, God arranged everything such that the final resolution of all the issues and the firing of the turbines would happen when He had handed over the mantle of stewardship to me. May His name be glorified!”

Governor Otti declared that Aba is pivotal to the economic trajectory of Nigeria and the West Africa region and called on both Geometric and its customers to fulfill the obligations they have for each other in order for the business to achieve its objective of providing reliable power supply to the people of Aba.

“As a leader in the private sector many years ago, and now as the Governor of the State, I consider the Geometric Integrated Power Project to be very special and dear to my heart because of the immense potential it holds for the economic and social rejuvenation of Aba as a preferred destination for enterprise growth, family life and leisure.

“This city is very pivotal to the economic trajectory of Nigeria and the West Africa region, and I knew for a fact that if we got the fundamentals right, Aba would not just be a city that makes millionaires of dreamers, it would become, a land of solutions to the many socio-economic problems that assail us – including worrisome level of youth unemployment and pervasive poverty,” the Governor affirmed.

While advising the community leaders to guard against any form of vandalisation of critical supply or distribution infrastructure, he admonished the management of Geometric Power to avoid any form of customer extortion, under whatever guise. He assured the company of continued government support.

In his speech, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu saluted the commitment of Prof. Nnaji and said that he was happy that Geometric was coming on stream at a time he was the Minister and expressed hope that the long time power problem in Nigeria would be resolved in his time.

The Minister, who stated that the Federal Government would watch the progress of Geometric as it conducts its business, appealed to Nigerians to maintain the power facilities and report vandals of electricity facilities.

Earlier in his address, the Chief Executive Officer Geometrics Power, Prof. Nnaji, described Geometric Power as a child of necessity, initiated 20 years ago, to ensure a reliable electricity in Aba and its environs. He said the project is the fulfillment of his desire to contribute to the provision of power in the country.

Nnaji recalled his tortuous journey towards achieving the project which lasted about 20 years, and said approximately USD$800 million was invested in realising the dream. He informed that 141 Megawatts has been built.

He thanked several individuals and institutions that made the project a success, from former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Tinubu and the President of Afreximbank, Prof Benedict Oramah, who was physically present at the commissioning.

He saluted the intervention of Governor Otti, whose support, he said, started from when he was at First Bank to now that he is the Governor of Abia State. He also appreciated previous administrations in Abia.

A press statement signed by Kazie Uko the Chief Press Secretary of Abia State Governor, said the event attracted many diginitaries including wife of the Governor, Mrs. Priscilla Otti, Deputy Governor, Ikechukwu Emetu; members of the National Assembly and State Assembly; Members of the State Executive Council, traditional rulers, members of the Aba business community among others.

Photo Caption 2: Vice President Shettima is keenly observed by Governor Otti (left), Mrs. Agatha Nnaji and Abia First Lady, Mrs. Priscilla Otti, as he switches on the plant.

Photo Caption 3: A section of the Geometric Power plant.

Photo Caption 4:
Responding to the humming of the plant after it was switched on.

~ NewsOrient