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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Panegyrics, As Anambra Govt Lights Up Ojukwu Varsity and Environs with Over 1000 Solar Streetlights


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

In a radiant testament to its unwavering commitment to sustainable progress and living up to its slogan as the Light of the Nation, the Anambra State Government has illuminated the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) with the installation of over 1000 solar streetlights in the university community and its environs.

This is not only in line with the vision of the State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, to make the state a clean, livable, and prosperous homeland; but also signifies a remarkable departure from conventional energy practices, while also reducing the cost of governance and and improving operational efficiency.

The transformation, overseen by the state’s Ministry of Power and Water Resource also testifies of the state’s commitment to environmental stewardship, as it extinguishes the need for carbon-emitting generators that previously powered the lights.

Speaking during the inspection of the solar streetlights at the Igbariam Campus of the University on Friday, the State’s Commissioner for Power and Water Resources, Engr. Julius Chukwuemeka, who gave an overview of the initiative, said the latest phase of the installation in the university community, was the third phase, and featured the installation of five hundred and eighty-five lamps in different parts of the University and beyond.

According to him, the initiative is a manifestation of the visionary leadership of Governor Soludo, who found the need to convert the diesel-powered streetlights in the state to solar-powered streetlights, given the numerous disadvantages associated with the former and the benefits of the latter.

The Commissioner recalled how Anambra State government spent over N900m just within two months to power streetlights during the days of diesel-powered streetlights in the State, and noted that the amount would have soared higher by now, if not for the switchover to solar streetlights by the present administration, given the current price of petroleum products in the country. These, he said, would have tripled the cost of governance.

“Aside from reducing the cost of governance, environmental concerns, eco-friendliness, human health, and efficiency of operation also take centre stage in the Governor’s visionary decision to embark on the switchover,” he said.

He explained that the three-in-one streetlight being installed by the government charges fast and discharges slowly, switches itself on and off at the appropriate time, and stores power for uninterrupted illumination during the cloudy and rainy days, among its numerous benefits.

Commissioner Chukwuemeka extolled the Governor for “saving the state a lot” through the initiative, even as he commended the leadership of the University for their cooperation throughout the period of the installation of the solar streetlights in the university community.

Earlier speaking, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Greg Nwakoby, who recounted the inefficiencies, exorbitant operational costs and other similar shortfalls associated with the diesel-powered streetlights that were previously in the school, appreciated the Soludo-led Administration for coming to their aid, as it has always done.

While noting that the installation of the solar-powered streetlights has solved over 60% of insecurities in the school environment, the VC also highlighted other various benefits of the solar streetlights in the University to include cost saving, enhanced security on campus, as well as provision of a welcoming and well-illuminated atmosphere for late-night study sessions and extracurricular activities. These, he said, would contribute significantly to a cleaner, safer, and more conducive learning experience at the University.

He recalled how Commissioner Chukwuemeka pledged the installation of the solar streetlights in the University by the State government the last time he visited the school, a promise, he said, had come to fruition just after a short while.

The Vice Chancellor also thanked the Commissioner, who is an alumnus of the University, for always identifying with the school, describing him as an outstanding and hardworking Commissioner, given the various feats so far recorded by his Ministry under his watch. He further encouraged him to sustain the good works, as the University is highly proud of him as a noble product, even as he also harped on the need for private individuals to come and build hostels in the school, to bring many of the students living off campus into the campus and save them the humongous expenses they incur daily on transportation to and fro the school for lectures.

“Everything must not be left for government. We have abundant lands here. Let people come and build hostels and bring our students down the campus. The country is very hard, and prices of things soar higher on daily basis. The closer our students are to the school and their lecture halls, the lesser the expenses they incur.”

Speaking on behalf of the students, the President of the Student Union Government (SUG) of the University, Comrade Okoye Matthew Okpala, hailed Governor Soludo for all he has done so far for the school, most especially the recent solar streetlights installation, describing him as an action Governor.

While also appreciating Commissioner Chukwuemeka for his good works, the SUG President, who said the students would no longer be afraid of going to night classes, also emphasized that the state government’s support to the University has given it competitive edge over its counterparts, while also giving them a sense of pride as students of the University.

“Soludo is indeed a solution Governor. He has done marvelously well, and we are solidly behind him. In fact, his second tenure is already guaranteed, because one good turn deserves another. He has our total support,” he said.

Some principal officers of the University, including the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Mathias Ozoemena Ananti; the University Public Relations Officer, Dr. Harrison Madubueze; student leaders of various faculty associations in the university, among others, were also present during the inspection.

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