Light Up Kwara: The Beauty Fading So Soon? By Bolaji Aladie

The law of nature  is that every beautiful thing shall one day loses its splendour and becomes shadow of its former self but in the case of Operation Light Up Kwara (LUK) which is a ₦6.7B streetlight electrification project embarked upon by the Kwara State government through Public Private Partnership deal with Riccofortezza Steven Energy Limited and Rubited Power Limited, the manifestation of this natural law is coming so sooner than expected.
When the project was initiated about 10 months ago, the set of areas/streets which firstly benefited from the brightness powered by solar energy were full of praises to the State government for the overdue initiatives, even the critics  and doubters of the project were flawed because darkness can never in anyway match illumination.
So fast that the beauty of the LUK project is fading. How? The project whose payment would last 10 good years and still in second phase despite the fact that it is scheduled to be completed this year is yet to cover more than two-third of the State capital Ilorin not to talk of the other areas of the state viz Kwara North and Kwara South. It may sound unpleasing to the State government but the level of completed works for the project has not justified it to be worthy of its name ‘Light Up Kwara’, even not yet ‘Light Up Ilorin’ but light up some selected key areas.

One of many streetlight poles not working anymore along Adeta – Ita Nma Road


I opined it is light up some selected key areas based on my overview of the works done so far. Quite agreed that the project execution is in phases and already in its second, but more convincing explanations would be needed to let Ita Nma residents know why the street light poles for more than six months stopped at Oke Ebo with only concrete box that will hold the streetlight pole constructed so far immediately after Gbalasa compound down to Ita Nma junction. Similarly, explanations would be needed why Bibire Ajape street to Henry George Hotel has been lit while some part of Agbo-Oba down to Adeta Roundabout is yet to be connected, so also are similar areas which constraint of time won’t permit to mention here. But the emphasis remains, if some strategic locations even in Ilorin metropolis are yet to benefit from the illumination of LUK, without being a Thomas, what is certainty the whole Kwara would be lit by the end of this year as scheduled?

one of the concrete boxes constructed more than six months ago to hold the pole


Another salient point worthy of note  which is the focus of this piece is that even at the areas which have been lit, it was discovered that many of these streetlights installed in less than a year are no more working. Some didn’t even do from the day of their installation and the firm handling the project has not take any drastic steps in correcting this sham across where such occurred. People have been complaining to the government about this but till date, the government is yet to take quick response to address it. Rather, it is directing the complainants to contact the numbers inscribed on those poles. I remember that  SSA media to the state government Dr. Muhyideen Femi Akorede gave such a response to someone on a Whatsapp platform.
Last night, from Adeta Roundabout to Ita Nma Junction, I personally counted nothing less than 18 poles which are no more working, there is one also immediately after the entrance of Barakat community Secondary School whose illumination  cannot even match a tiger battery powered torchlight.

This half lighted pole is located immediately after Barakat Com. Sec Sch

Aside this mentioned street, we have many other similar areas that are experiencing such and if quick corrective measures is not put in place through government ministry concerned in partnership with firms handling the project, the durable probability of LUK is very narrow, and if such should happen, no citizen will forgive Maigida led administration for wasting ₦6.7B on project which cannot stand test of time.

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