By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Ariara Market Independent Power Plant (IPP) in the commercial city of Aba, Abia State, with a pledge that his administration will continue to execute people-oriented projects around the country irrespective of party differences.
According to his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari said ‘‘Today with policies and programmes such as this IPP we have demonstrated that if the common good is our mutual objective, it can be achieved irrespective party differences and constitutional limitations.
‘‘Electricity has no political colour,’’ the President said in his speech at the inauguration of the plant.
He expressed delight that 37,000 shops belonging to traders and small business owners in Ariara market will, one after the other, be connected to the dedicated electricity supply.
Buhari noted that the feat will strengthen the Made-in-Nigeria policy for which Abia and in particular, Aba, and Ariaria market are already well known.
‘‘I am pleased to be here today at the milestone connection of 4,000 shops that now have dedicated power.
‘‘Being a market that supplies shoes, bags, clothing, trunks and many household accessories to Nigeria, many African countries like Chad, Cameroun, Gambia and Central Africa Republic, reliable power supply is critical for ease of doing business to ensure sustainability and improvement.
‘‘I am told that before this intervention, traders in the market only got 4 hours a day of electricity and paid exorbitantly for it, which consequently affected the viability of many businesses.
‘‘This is the sad legacy we inherited but which we are replacing with an all-day power supply that is cleaner and better for our environment.
‘‘Those who turned their backs on these problems still have the courage to campaign about unemployment and poverty,’’ he said.
The President told delighted traders and businessmen who trooped out en-masse to welcome him to Aba that the APC-led administration is creating jobs for Nigerians through investments in power projects like the IPP in Ariaria.
‘‘What is happening in Ariaria today by way of clean, independent and reliable power to markets and small businesses is happening in Kano, Lagos, Ondo and Ibadan.
‘‘Similar initiatives have started in nine Federal universities with a plan to cover 37 universities, through Government funding,’’ he said.
Saluting the traders for their fortitude over the years when no previous government attended to their concerns, the President declared: ‘‘Methodically, slowly, but very efficiently, we are cleaning up the mess. We are moving our economy away from rent and arbitrage and heading resolutely to building an economy that rewards investments, enterprise and hard work.’’
The President assured business owners in Ariara that under his watch they will continue to experience better days and prosperity as African markets await more of Made-in-Aba products.
The President was on his 17th and 18th campaigns stops to Abia and Imo States for the February 16, 2019 presidential elections.
According to INEC timetable, the deadline for campaigns is February 14.
Earlier on his arrival in Aba, the President had paid homage to Enyi 1 of Aba, Eze Isaac Ikonne before attending the APC presidential campaign rally at the Enyimba Stadium, Aba.