The coming of the Fourth Republic in 1999 came with its own bundles of problems that had to be addressed, and the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo initiated a Power Sector Reform that ended the old monolithic Nigeria Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and the introduction of 11 regional Distribution Companies (Discos). Despite all the hiccups experienced along the way, by November 2013, exactly eight years ago, when all the old NEPA Region Offices were taken over by the new management of the Discos, the old Yola Regional Office was also being taken over by new core investor, Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Limited.
However, within months of acquiring Yola Disco, IEDM “were forced to declare a force majeure on the ground that it was impossible to operate and access the assets of the electricity distribution firm in the North-east due to the Boko Haram insurgency”. This was in 21015.
So while the remaining 10 Distribution Companies were facing their own challenges, but still making some progress, Yola Disco was returned to the Federal Government as a “Department of the Ministry”. For the next six years, no investor was interested in picking up the gauntlet – until Quest happened.
It is at this point that the bravery of the management of Mainstream Energy Services Limited is to be taken note of and applauded. The security situation in the North Eastern part of the country has not in any way considerably improved meaning assessing the assets and even trying to provide electricity to customers will be a herculean task for any would be investor. In fact the activities of the terrorist group has left the economy of the North East in tatters and a serious concern for a would be investor. In truth the Management of Mainstream (MESL) themselves are not new to the electricity industry, as they are presently the concessionaires of both Kanji and Shiroro Electric Power Dams.
So, it must be said that their willingness to float Quest Electricity Nigeria Limited to invest in the Yola Disco for N19 billion, with further Performance Improvement Programme Investment of N28 billion is definitely an uncommon business bravery in the face of security and economic hopelessness of the region.
With the process itself haven taken almost a year to conclude with the Bureau of Public Enterprise and the Labour Union, it is hope that the Quest Electricity coming on board as new core investors of Yola Disco would bring succour for Nigerians in the North East, and the bravery of QENL to make such investment in the face of hopelessness, would ultimately pay off. The official taking over ceremony took place on November 8, eight year after the 10 other Distribution Companies had been in charge of their electricity firms, the management of Quest Electricity can only be wished the best as it takes up a very challenging assignment.
Adegbemle is a public opinion commentator/ analyst, researcher, and the convener of PowerUpNigeria, pioneer Electric Power Consumer Right Advocacy Group in Nigeria and can be reached via Twitter:@ PowerUpNg, Email: powerupnigeria@ gmail.com