PHOTONEWS: 'No ELectricity, No Election' — Ilaje Youth Protest 10 Years Of Blackout

Scores of youth from Ilaje, the riverine, southern part of Ondo state, trooped to the streets on Sunday in protest of lack of electricity supply in their area for the past 10 years.  

The youth, under the umbrella of the Ilaje Advancement Forum (IAF), also lamented "the general absence of development" in the riverine, oil-producing communities.

The aggrieved youths who were armed with colorful placards with inscriptions to indicate their grievance shutdown streets as well as businesses and economic activities in the area during the protest.

Some the inscriptions on the placards read, "no electricity no election", "what offense has Ilaje Committed", "FG has failed in service delivery", "NDDC is fraud", "Ondo govt has failed us."

The youths lamented that communities in the Ilaje area of Ondo state have been in darkness for the past 10 years without government intervention.

According to them, the blackout has led to the high rate of crime and insecurity; a situation which they said has further deepened underdevelopment of the area.

The youths threatened that they will not allow politicians to campaign in the area if the situation remains the same.

Tokunbo Ehinmowo, who led the protesters lamented that the neglect of the riverine communities has forced many in the communities to embrace various acts of criminality to survive. 

Ehinmowo also added that the power outage in the Ilaje communities is inflicting untold hardship on the people.

She specifically decried the dearth of industries, infrastructural decay and environmental degradation in the communities.

"There has not been electricity in all our communities and it has caused us untold hardship.

"The artisans can no longer work, businesses are collapsing and life has become so unbearable for us."

One of the protestors, Oluwajuwon Ogunbiyi, stressed that the purpose of the protest was to renegotiate a social contract between the government and people of Ilaje Local Government Area.

Mr. Ogunbiyi also faulted the recent Amnesty Program of the Ondo State government, which he described as fraudulent.

He lampooned the Ondo State Oil Producing Development Commission (OSOPADEC) and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for abandoning the projects they have embarked upon in the area.

However, Mr. Gbenga Edema, Chairman, OSOPADEC said efforts were being made by the government to ensure restoration of electricity across Ilaje communities.

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