FG begins Nigeria’s first 10MW solar power plant at UI

• Pledges to power 40 federal universities

M INISTER of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, last Thursday performed the ground-breaking ceremony of a 10 megawatt solar power plant project at the University of Ibadan.

The project, first of its kind in the country, is a partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the German government.

Mallam Adamu Adamu, who also doubles as the representative of President Muhammadu Buhari at the event, was himself represented by the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah.

The Minister of Health, who was the immediate past vice chancellor of the institution, Professor Isaac Adewole, was also present at the occasion.

Professor Anwukah described the occasion as “a historic occasion in the life of the university and our nation,” saying the Federal Government has concluded plans to launch an Energizing Education Programme Initiative (EEPI) in all federal universities in the country.

Anwukah said, “The Federal Government, under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, recently launched the Energizing Education Programme Initiative (EEPI), a collaborative effort of the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, to ensure self-sufficiency in power supply to all the 40 federal universities in the country.

“It is envisaged that this should be achieved through the utilisation of off-grid Independent Power Plants (IPPs), which falls under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative. The EEPI is aimed at providing reliable power supply which, in turn, will promote economic growth and sustainable development in our universities.”

The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Bernard Schlagheck, described the project as the first step in the part of implementation of a pact with the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Schlagheck said: “This project testifies to the vitality and feasibility of the Nigerian government’s energy partnership. The German/Nigerian Bilateral Commission last Monday in Abuja once again confirmed the role of energy cooperation for the whole of our bilateral relation.

“To me, it does not come as a surprise that, of all places, University of Ibadan proceeds to be the first place. University of Ibadan is not only one of the most renowned universities in Nigeria; some tend to believe that it is even the most important.”

The vice chancellor, Professor Idowu Olayinka, said the solar power project would go a long way in helping to reduce the financial burden of the institution, considering the level of electricity consumption in the university environment.

The representative of Nigeria-Germany Energy Partnership, Dr Jeremy Gaines, in an interview gave the assurance that the solar panel would last for 25 years, with special panel fittings each generating 260 watts.

The governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, commended the management of the university for their focus and doggedness in solving problems confronting the institution.

Ajimobi, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Ismail Ali, said “What we’re witnessing today is the commitment, dedication and astuteness of the management. This ceremony consolidates the trip of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Germany.”

He urged state-owned institutions of higher learning to “think out of the box” to manage their institutions.

Also, the host royal father, the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunnji, who was represented by Ajia Balogun of Ibadan, Chief Gboyega Mukaila Olawoyin, commended the German government and the management of the University of Ibadan for the partnership.