The management of Azura Power West Africa Limited has presented 96,860 shares certificate to Edo State government for its partnership in the Azura power project.
Speaking during a visit to Governor Adams Oshiomhole at the Government House, on Wednesday, Managing Director of Azura Power West Africa Limited, Dr. David Ladipo, commended Oshiomhole for his relentless commitment and courage towards the actualization of the Azura project.
He said, “We have a stake here in Edo State that has all the ingredients that make for good investment in infrastructure and in energy. The governor took me very seriously and said, ‘I will give you my full support. So, come and you will have the support of my cabinet and all the people that work in my state.’ It indeed took several years to raise the capital, and to go through the whole process.
“We had some hiccups along the way, but we closed all the financing, not just the equity but also the debt at the end of last year, and the contractor was on site at the beginning of January. We have been on site now for two months. I am going on site again tomorrow morning. Last week, there were 355 workers on site, and it is going to grow to 600 workers very soon.
“We ran into problems last year, but they were very serious problems. I went to His Excellency again and said, ‘I need your help’. And he gave me his unflinching help, not just help, but the courage that he displays always. It was genuine courage that was required to break through that obstacle that we had.”
Dr Ladipo said, “Today, we are bringing in foreign exchange which is needed for the contractor, and it is a lot of it. We are bringing it into Nigeria at a time when people are saying the conditions are difficult for investment. We are bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign direct investment into Nigeria, into Edo State. In these difficult conditions, investors still want to come into Nigeria; there is still so much promise. So, I take great pride in what His Excellency and his commissioners have been able to do, which as I see it, is to exercise patience and faith and to understand that what is required when you are building a solid infrastructure house is that you build on very solid foundation.
“So, I really want to thank His Excellency. I came here also to present to His Excellency the shares certificate for Edo State. Edo State has been an enabler of the project. It has helped us to acquire the land; it has helped us with all the local community issues. It has provided us a number of waivers that are extremely important for the project. So, just as a symbolic gesture, it is more that symbolic because it is also real. So, I want to come today to hand over those shares certificate and to say thank you, Your Excellency.”
In his remarks, Governor Oshiomhole extolled the doggedness of Dr Ladipo and his team towards the realization of the Azura Power Project.
He said, “Let me on behalf of this government congratulate you for what I call a dream come true after a tedious effort. I think the credit is yours really because you dreamed big and acted even bigger with enormous spaces. At a point, I had my own frustration that I was tempted to raise big issues but I spent hours in the waiting room persuading people to do what is even in their own best interest at the federal level.
“So, I think you are an example of what is possible even in spite of some of the disincentives in our environment, that every obstacle can be seen for what it is as a challenge that can be overcome, not a reason to resign our fate and engage in endless lamentation. I am very happy that in the end, this Azura power project is now a reality courtesy more of your doggedness and determination.”
According to the governor, “We are very proud of Azura because it has the fighting spirit of Edo people. And I am glad that you said it is no longer a proposal, it is a reality and the construction is already on.”
Continuing, he said, “I won’t be there when the dividends will begin to accrue, but it fits into our own vision that our effort today is to lay a foundation for a viable state, a state that will depend less and less on oil revenue, and one that will depend more and more on the real economy, on people who really produce goods and services. This is a major victory for Nigeria, I believe, and coming from a Nigerian with such credible capacity to see beyond today and to overcome all, and to navigate the very delicate socio-economic and even political contours of Nigeria to arrive at where we are. David, you deserve an award.
“For Edo tax payers and even the non-tax payers for now, and those who are under 18, this is an investment in their future, and they have a stake. So, Azura Power is Edo project and Edo people must protect it and guard it jealously as our own baby in the area of power generation.”