Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum (OCYF) has again tackled the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) over the latter’s responses to its 8-point demand on better services in Ogbomoso.
In a telephone interview by ogbomosoinsightonline.com on Friday, the president of OCYF, Rev’d. Peter Olaleye, totally frowned at the stance of IBEDC averring it reeks of pomposity.
It is recalled that OCYF has been having a running battle with IBEDC over what has been described as the electricity company’s excesses in the city leading to convocation of a town hall meeting by the group, to which the officials of the electricity firm were summoned, aside other stakeholders during which an 8-point demand was issued as a basis for having continuous uninterrupted services in the city. But responding, IBEDC threw overboard the demands hinging its position on various reasons.
Rev’d Olaleye, fumes, “Demanding that they suspend distribution of bills for three months is to make them atone for their many iniquities against us having cheated us for years, asking for three months’ waiver isn’t something out of place. They have robbed us for years without them blinking eyes and we have overwhelming evidences of these infractions, their excuse that they are not a charitable organization is bunkum and it wouldn’t have stood if not for the intervention of our fathers whom we have to defer to as a mark of honour.
“The likes of General Oladayo Popoola (retd), Baba Justice Afolabi Adeniran (retd), Dr. Saka Balogun and Baba Aale of Okelerin (Oba Samuel Babatunde Amao) all intervened. In fact, we were considering instituting court action against them with the overwhelming evidences in our possession.”
IBEDC similarly rejected the proposal to peg bill for direct customers at N1, 000 per month, Olaleye reacted, “Yes, based on our research and findings, we know that even that amount is extravagant, alternative is to make meters available to customers. Saying they are not responsible for fixing tariff shows they are myopic. If you can’t provide meters people will have no option than to pay whatever amount they can afford. You are not providing what will make transactions transparent so you can continue to rip off the people, that must stop.
“Thirdly, we demanded that henceforth they will be responsible for maintenance of power grids including poles, transformers, cables and wires, they reluctantly accepted but their response was non-committal. They are saying they welcome communities to undertake repairs as voluntary service. It is a way of pushing the responsibility to consumers yet again. That won’t work because what it implies is that they will not respond to undertake the repairs when called upon, it means they will delay and thus frustrate the people and force the communities to effect the repairs. Funny enough, you will still demand money for transport and incentives to effect repairs yet you will say that non-IBEDC engineers cannot undertake repairs in the facilities. So, if communities contribute money to effect repairs you are going to refund the money. That is what we are going to do, if you can’t accept, shut the transformer but know you can’t distribute bills in such an area.”
On the fourth demand that borders on stable electricity supply of at least 20 hours a day, that you are saying is not possible, it is telling us you want to continue your reign of defrauding us. From our investigations, we know it is possible you are just trying to use some technical jargons to knock out the proposal, we insist you dubiously shed light to make illicit money by rolling over what you ought to use in a month to another month and make financial gains from the excess units. So, we reject all your excuses.”
“Fifthly, IBEDC refuses to tender public apology over their atrocities, it is preposterous. This is a sign of arrogance and a way of telling us they have committed no atrocities against the people implying they will continue in their old way. This is a company that cannot do without us, we are their customers, we are their source of income, they defraud us, we discovered and they are not ready to tender apology, they must or else we will be forced to take a very drastic step.
“Number six, free prepaid meters must be made available. Yes, they are to work on it because no filling station will be calling on its customers to provide meter with which they will dispense premium motor spirit (petrol) or ask them to repair faults in their service centre, it is the responsibility of service providers to make available materials they need for effective service and repair such when they become faulty, IBEDC’s own is criminal exploitation, we have been taken for a fool for long and they are saying they will continue that way, it cannot work, if it works elsewhere, it will not in Ogbomoso, we have known the truth and it has set us free. So, they must converse with the Federal Government of whoever is in charge of prepaid meters to make these available and immediately provide for the 620 customers who had paid for the meters, we are the ones who have been imploring the people not to take laws into their hands and we don’t know how far we can go.
“Number seven, we insist their workers must stop harassment of customers, harassment of electricity consumers go beyond what they reduced it to – disconnection of electricity. It is their workers that vandalize transformers; they cart away people’s wires, bought by the people. Our munmun don do.
“Finally, they cannot escape constant meeting with us, we initiated it and that is the only way to make them toe the line of sanity and reason. We signed a conflict suspension agreement at the palace of Baba Aale Okelerin, it is only suspension, not resolution, positive change from them is the only panacea to smooth relationship. This is 21st century, they cannot expect to continue to ride us and we will keep quiet. The struggle just started.”