The Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra State, Dr. Tony Nwoye has finally reached an agreement with the international musician Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam popularly known as AKON, the CEO of AKON LIGHTING AFRICA to introduce free Solar Power stations in 57 communities in Anambra State from May, 2018 few weeks after being sworn-in as the Governor of Anambra State. AKON lighting Africa is an initiative launched in 2013 to bring clean, renewable and affordable energy solutions primarily to rural areas in Africa and to provide solar power in 10 African countries. The project now operates in 15 countries. The countries that have benefited from this project are Benin, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Namibia, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
It will be recalled that on the 1st of July, 2015, in Abidjan, the Akon Lighting Africa Initiative, in a conference attended by Mr. John Kufuor, former President of Ghana, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osibajo, Vice-President of Nigeria, Mr. Lionel Zinsou, Prime Minister of Bénin, and Mr. Tony Elumelu, pledged to donate USD 200,000 for projects in West Africa aimed at providing electricity to rural areas
With the help of the Vice-President Prof Yemi Osibanjo after a request for assistance sent to AKON LIGHTING AFRICA, Dr. Tony Nwoye was able to secure a partnership for FREE SOLAR ENERGY for selected communities in Anambra State, a project that will kick-start in May 2018 as a Pilot Program
This Pilot Program will consist of 20 solar street lights, life straw water filtering systems for a local school, a solar system for a community center, local health center, churches and market areas. The community center will be equipped with a satellite TV, Internet connectivity and charging stations for mobile phones for the selected communities. This project is expected to create over 2500 direct and indirect jobs for young people in Anambra State at the cost of zero funding from the state
According to the representatives of AKON LIGHTING AFRICA, the company has created 7,864 jobs so far, but Akon wants to do more. He launched the Solektra Solar Academy in Mali a few years ago, which trains at least 200 young Africans a year to install and maintain solar equipment. The project has also installed 90 solar street lamps, 1 multimedia room – including 20 educational tablets, 1 laptop, and printer – 12 BYD and 5 Life Straw water filters in Benin Republic alone.
In defense of this free Solar Project, Dr. Tony Nwoye maintained that the ICT is not a luxury anymore but a necessity. He argued that Anambrarians should access the same opportunities as anyone else in Europe and the United States. He reasoned that this project will be a win-win partnership. While governments try to transform their commitments through relevant public policies, private operators should have the opportunities to support or enhance energy projects. He reiterated his commitment to policy, programs and partnerships as soon as he is sworn-in as the Governor of Anambra State
In support of this project, Akon explained that “The solar power we are providing can be used to connect all sorts of devices – telephones to communicate, fridges to keep food, so why not to power computers too. We presented the outline of a new project we hope to launch within the next few months to supply learning devices and to set up smart schools”
Dr. Tony Nwoye believes in continuity and due process, he also charged AKON LIGHTING AFRICA to ensure the sustainability of this project once it is installed. Instead of dropping technology on unsuspecting villages, Dr. Tony Nwoye suggested that this project must also teach Anambrarians how solar power works and how to install arrays through an educational training program to be called the Anambra Solar Academy.