Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State says Azura Power Plant in Benin City has the capacity to produce almost 50 percent of what Nigeria currently boasts of when it generates at its peak of 4,000 megawatts, maintaining that Edo is now a hub of power generation in Nigeria.
Speaking during an inspection visit to the Azura Power Plant at Ahor in Benin City on Tuesday, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said, “let me appreciate your vision, your courage and your determination to navigate through all the technical political and social, economic, logistics issues that you have to go through to get to this level. It requires a level of confidence in our country, in our people, and confidence about our future to step out to initiate a gigantic project such as this. And even while you are at the state of construction, all of us here, we workers, we are already beneficiaries of that vision.
“Like we have always said, and there is nobody to say it better than you that what Nigeria needs, Edo possesses: suitable land and nature, good people that are friendly to investors. Our people are educated enough to know that this project, the Azura Power Project, has become an indigene of this community and Edo State, and like every indigene, it attracts all the support that it needs, whereas in some parts of the country, you have people who want to make quick money by blackmailing contractors.”
Oshiomhole said, “I am happy with what I have seen. Your choice of Julius Berger to handle the civil engineering work gives absolute confidence. I have just listened to some of the technical details. It is very clear that we are in very good hands. Whatever we can still do, you can take it for granted, because for us in Edo, the primary purpose of government is creating the necessary enabling environment that gives the real private sector investors the confidence they need to locate in this State and to bring fresh dollars which you call foreign direct investment into our country.
“I, therefore, have a stake, and this project being about power, it goes into the heart of the Nigeria’s problem. I have chatted with a couple of investors. Over the weekend, I had a conversation with Chinese investors who want to set up various manufacturing plants across the State. They have only one concern: power. And they tell me, for example, they want to locate more steel plants, but steel plants by their nature consume a lot of power. They want to set up more ceramic factories; they require a lot of power. They want to start processing granite and marbles, taking advantage of our solid minerals; again it requires a lot of power which cannot be produced by generators.”
The Governor continued, “So, what you are doing here is to empower Nigeria, and when this facility is completed by the number you have rolled out, from this location alone, we will be generating almost 50% of what Nigeria currently boasts of when it generates at its peak of 4,000 megawatts. You are already looking into the future and the possibility of expansion. Given the fact that our population is growing, our demand for power will continue to increase. And if Edo becomes a hub of power generation, then the benefit to our State, to our Country is unquantifiable. So, I hope and pray that everything works out fine.”
Speaking during a guided tour of the project site with Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the Managing Director, Azura Power Plant, Dr. David Oladipo says the Azura Power Project has presently employed 400 staff, out of which 150 are from the host community.
According to the Managing Director, “We have local contractors who meet the highest standard set by Julius Berger. They bring in materials and they have to be upgraded and tested. One of the commitments we have is to ensure we have real impact from the local community in terms of employment and in terms of business opportunities. So, we are very pleased about that, and we are very appreciative of the local community. They have been fantastic so far.
He said, “We never wanted to build one phase. We want to build two phases. You will see that plant up there. That is Azura phase one plus Azura phase two. That will be almost 1,500 MW. there will be nowhere in the country in a site like this with so much power on it. Edo State will be the number one site in terms of generation of power in the country. And phase three will be right into a combined circle. All of this will happen and must happen sir.”