The electricity battle in Ogbomoso is far from being resolved as the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), Ogbomoso Business District has rejected six of the demands made by the Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum (OCYF), which has been championing the cause to make the electricity company toe the path of sanity in its services in Ogbomoso.
This is just as the body made its own demands before it could guarantee light being restored to the community, which has been thrown into darkness since Sunday, June 20 even as it stated that its technical team has been tracing faults “responsible” for the total blackout.
But to ensure speedy resolution to the impasse traditional rulers, including Soun of Ogbomoso Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III and Aale of Okelerin, Oba Samuel Babatunde Amao, groups particularly Ogbomoso Parapo and Ogbomoso Community Foundation and individuals have been meeting with both the IBEDC management and leadership of OCYF towards having an amicable solution.
In a statement titled, “IBEDC position as per each of the Youth Forum proposals at the end of the town hall’s meeting held on 21/06/2021,” and obtained by ogbomosoinsightonline.com, IBEDC rejected six of the eight demands made on it by OCYF.
The first demand which is the suspension of bills distribution for three months, the organization posited it was neither acceptable nor feasible. “Electricity in Nigeria is not free and IBEDC is not a charitable organization but a profit-making company that purchases electricity at a cost for sales to consumers or customers through distribution at a selling price per units on monthly basis. Therefore, the idea of bills distribution to be suspended for 3 months is not acceptable and visible (sic) to IBEDC.”
On pegging of monthly electricity bills to N1, 000 per each of the direct residences, it stated that it was not acceptable, explaining, “IBEDC was not responsible for setting of tariffs,” but NERC (Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission), subject to approval by the National Assembly.
It gave other reasons why it was throwing that condition out also, declaring, “Hence, the average billing of direct customers has been reduced to N3, 500 in Ogbomoso instead on N10, 000 and above in other cities including Ibadan, Ilorin and Oyo,” adding, “The statistical comparison of customers with PPM average vending of N3, 200 and direct billing customers of N3, 500 shows a reasonable billing.”
However, it attempted to maneuver on the demand for it to be responsible for maintenance of transformers, poles and cables, saying in one breath it absolutely agreed and that reports of faults should be made to its offices to effect repairs but in another asserting it welcomed community support in effecting repairs, “IBEDC does not call or force any community to contribute any fund to carry out repairs and if any community resolves within their association to effect repairs, it will be considered as voluntary contribution or donation without refund.”
On the demand for 24-hour supply of electricity on a daily basis, it said this was absolutely impossible because of inadequate supply and facilities on ground, averring that the old system of rationing would persist in which 5 to 6 hours of supply is guaranteed the area whose turn it is to be supplied.
IBEDC similarly objected to the demand of tendering public apology saying all it could do was to solicit continued support and patronage from “our esteemed customers.”
On free prepaid meter it said that was the prerogative of the Federal Government while those who had previously paid would be provided their meters in due course.
It then disclosed that IBEDC had been restructured to be customers’ friendly assuring that harassment by staff is being discouraged even as it is revealed that some 48 staff members were sacked last month after investigations on the grounds of misconducts against customers.
The 8th demand it said it supported wholeheartedly, which is engaging stakeholders on a regular basis.
The organization now made its demand, while clarifying that it never signed any communiqué in respect of the demands, “The management of IBEDC is demanding a counter statement by (the) Youth Union expunging the following demand items 1, 2, and 4, which are not visible (sic) to implement, already circulated to the public through internet and their website and guaranteeing the safety of our staff before starting our normal operations in Ogbomoso and its environs.”
In a meeting with Aale of Okelerin, Oba Amao today, the IBEDC Ogbomoso Business Manager Mr. Udeme Nelson said his technical staff have been tracing the faults even though overwhelmed with fears of attacks but assured that electricity would be restored to the city as soon as the faults are detected and fixed.
Also noting that they opened some of their offices for skeletal services today, he said they had no skeletons but to offer good services to their customers.
Aale while speaking made references to some of the excesses of the organization such as “your boys would disconnect customers and go away with their wires, wires they did not buy. You must talk to your staff so that they can start to do the right thing.”
The monarch now demanded that electricity be restored to the city today assuring IBEDC staff of safety.