Editorial

Editorial: Oyo’s State’s Proposed N3 Billion Water Project and Matters Arising

When the Oyo State House of Assembly announces what appears to be a grand corruption the same week that the ruling party announces a major expenditure in the same sector, then questions need to be asked and answered. Oyo Affairs has therefore decided to take a look at the situation of water supply in Oyo State and the state government’s proposed expenditure of N3 billion in the sector.

Oyo State has faced a perennial water problem. According to reports by the World Bank after the Ibadan flood of 2011 that destroyed the Eleyele dam, “the latest accessible figures on the water distribution network states that Ibadan in 2004 was served by about 500 km of pipes covering about 36% of the city area.” The report continues “In 2008 the network supplied less than a quarter of the city population (22.6%) with potable water, while only about a third (32.5%) had access to sanitation facilities. The need to develop the water supply infrastructure becomes obvious when one notices that in 2004 only 7.5% of the demand of about 700 000 m3/day could be met at peak production by the existing water works.”

So, it came as a relief to many when in 2014, former Governor of Oyo State, late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, commissioned what he described as an end to the “un-imaginable neglect by past administrations and the managerial deficiencies of erstwhile operators.” The N262 million ultra-modern water treatment plant completed in six months, did not however prove to be the silver bullet. Oyo Affairs investigation shows that the piping system which should have been fixed before the Asejire project was not done.

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So, when the project was commissioned, it was as good as nothing, because the distribution channels to the communities had been destroyed or become decadent over the years. Interestingly, the former governor acknowledged the decayed state of the water systems. When he was commissioning the project in 2014, he spoke of 17 years of neglect. But he was unable to carry out the total overhaul required to turn around the water system in Oyo State.

By his projections, the following projects needed completion: construction of Ayete Water Supply Scheme, to supply water to Tapa, Idere and Ayete communities; dedicated power line to Saki Water Supply Scheme, rehabilitation of dedicated power line to Ogbomoso Water Supply Scheme, extension of pipelines to new areas throughout the state, upgrading of water treatment facilities at Koso and Atori Waterworks in Iseyin, comprehensive replacement and repair of all electro-mechanical components at all Water Supply Schemes and Booster Stations in the state, upgrading and rehabilitation of Oyo Water Supply Scheme, rehabilitation and upgrading of Igboho Water Supply Scheme, expansion works on Igbeti and Ogbomoso Water Supply Scheme, revalidation of construction of Ilero Water Supply Scheme, laying of New Rising Mains from Eruwa to Igboora (Phase I & II).

Although the authorities claimed that those contracts were awarded, completed or in the process of completion the reality is that some of them were either not awarded or were re-awarded. At the twilight of the last administration, Senator Ajimobi again called for expression of interest in purchases and project in the water sector that listed some of the aforementioned projects. Records show these contracts were awarded in 2019, just before he left office.

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However, the State House of Assembly is calling those contracts to question. Investigations by the Ad-hoc Committee on Water Resources, presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Abdullah Abdulrasak show that although the immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, embarked on about 20 water projects at a cumulative cost of over N10 billion, none has been completed till date. Although a good number of the contractors had received at least 30% payment between March and April 2019, they have not executed up to 10% of the projects and some of them have abandoned the sites.

In his Roadmap to Accelerated Development in Oyo State 2019-2023, Governor Seyi Makinde had promised “Revitalisation of the 12 water schemes in the four zones of Ibadan (3), Oyo (2), Ogbomoso (3) and Saki (4). A programme of ensuring and sustaining the necessary inputs and maintenance to ensure stable and regular supply of water will be executed.” As well as the provision of other schemes. After one year in office, there has been no significant improvement in water supply. For now, only areas such as College Crescent, Anfaani, Molete and a part of Challenge get public water supply.

However, just over a week ago, in what has been tagged “a bold step by the Oyo State Government,” the Chairman, Oyo State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Engr. Najeem Omirinde stated that the Oyo State Government is proposing a N3 billion investment plan for water supply. N500 million of this fund will be invested in the repair of 330 faulty public boreholes in the 33 Local Government Areas of Oyo State. To this end, Chairmen of all Local Government Areas and their Local Community Development Areas (LCDAs) are to conduct audits of the boreholes in their communities and submit the ten most strategically demanding of repairs.

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Earlier, the RUWASSA boss had indicated that the Seyi Makinde administration was ready to fulfill their campaign promises on water supply to the people of Oyo State by approving what he described as the first major purchase of the Oyo State Government since 1995. The authorities procured a standard water drilling rig which has the capability of drilling 100 meters within 3 hours. Details of how the remaining N2.5 billion will be spent are still sketchy.

In a related development, latest reports show that the Oyo State Government is collaborating with the Latter-Day Saint Charities to provide 100 boreholes in various rural communities in the state by paying the required counterpart funding. The charity had in 2019, provided 25 boreholes in rural communities in collaboration with Oyo RUWASSA after the Oyo State Government paid the required counterpart funding.

If all the plans of the plans work out, then Oyo State, under Governor Seyi Makinde, may be well on its way to achieving with N3 billion what the Late Senator Abiola Ajimobi’s administration could not do with N10 billion. But indeed, only time will tell.

IFRAME SYNC

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OyoAffairs

Oyo Affairs is an independent news media with the main focus on Oyo state news, politics, current events, trending happenings within and around Oyo state, Nigeria

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