The early Friday morning anxiety in Abeokuta as to the where about of the city’s monarch, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, was only doused when citizens, who trooped in to help contain a palace fire, found that the paramount ruler of the city was saved and that no one in the palace was killed in the fire.
An electric spark at about 2 A.M. triggered a fire outbreak in the 157-year old palace, one of the major monuments of traditional Yoruba art and architecture, consuming the reception and conference hall of he palace.
The effort to save the palace, in the estimation of the monarch, was thanks to the brave intervention of security officials attached to him and prompt response of the men of the State Fire Services as well as the Police who reacted swiftly to put out the fire.
A condolence party from the state government comprising the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa; the Commissioner for Information and Strategy Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu; and the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Abeokuta South Local Government, Mr. Duro Olawoyin dropped a solidarity message from the administration.
The fire incident prevented Oba Gbadebo from attending a state function, where the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun dazzled the residents of the state as he doled out 500 transformers to 500 communities, as a gesture to address the problem of electricity power supply in the affected communities, adding that additional 1,500 transformers would still be acquired by his administration for distribution to other communities in due course
The allocation to the benefitting communities took place at Arcade Ground, located at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, where Amosun also pledged that government would ensure installation to the various communities.
It was a moment of joy for the communities, some of whom include; Olokuta in Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Magada Estate, Ibafo, Fajol Estate, Obantoko, Ope-Idunu Atan-Ota, Latogun community, and Odogbolu.
The governor in his speech noted that the event is aimed at achieving multiple objectives. ‘First, to provide an avenue to bring electricity where there was none and to help boost available electricity in other places’.
“And, in its derived form, we intend to use today’s event to promote investment and industrial development in different parts of our State. We believe this will provide and promote the ambience needed for the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in connection with our administration’s empowerment programme’ he added.
Mr. Amosun explained that government was not interested in any rivalry with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), rather, the investment in power transformers is geared towards complementing the efforts of the Federal Government and its agency, the PHCN, in providing sufficient power supply for the benefit of our people.
‘As a serious Government, the onus is on us to provide infrastructural facilities in order to make life bearable for our citizens and promote socio- economic activities in the state, through provision of constant power supply. Towards this end, we will continue to partner with and seek for the assistance of this Federal Institution in the areas of power generation and distribution’ the governor said.