FLAG-OFF SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF ADESOJI AREGBESOLA ON ILESA WATER SUPPLY DISTRIBUTION NETWORK PROJECT, ILESA
ON TUESDAY, 20th NOVEMBER, 2018
It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to this epoch-making flag – off event in respect of Ilesa Water Supply Distribution Network Project.
I want to thank Almighty God for making this project a reality in the tenure of this administration. It aims at consolidating the achievement of one of our cardinal programme i.e. Restoration of Healthy Living through the provision of potable water and breaking the jinx surrounding Ilesa Water Supply.
Brief History on Ilesa Water Supply
The old Ilesa Water Supply Scheme, commissioned in 1952 in the old Western Region, supplying 2,700m3/day went into a state of disrepair in the mid – eighties as the Efon – Alaye Intake Structure (now in Ekiti State) was frequently filled with silts; efforts to de-silt became unproductive and raw water abstraction impossible. The 22km Efon – Alaye/Ilesa raw water Asbestos Cement Transmission mains became deplorable and unserviceable because of frequent damage due to old age and road expansion works on Efon – Alaye roads created a worst scenario when several kilometres of the Transmission Mains was damaged during construction. These and others led to abandonment and complete shutdown of the treatment facilities and hence led to Ilesa inability to access public water supply and total dependence on water from doubtful sources.
The new Ilesa Water Supply Scheme was conceived during the administration of Uncle Bola Ige, the Executive Governor of old Oyo State when it became clear that old Ilesa Scheme would not be able to serve Ilesa with potable water because the town was increasing in population yearly. The contract for the new scheme was awarded to Messrs. Johnson Brothers International (Nig.) Ltd at a contract price of $65M. The Eximbank (USA) loan of US70m had been secured for Oyo State Government for the procurement of essential Mechanical and Electrical equipment and services to be rendered by the Technical Partners, Johnson Brothers International (Nig.) Ltd, i.e. Johnson Brothers Corporation of Minnesota, USA. The loan agreement which was signed in 1983 by old Oyo State Government was guaranteed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Out of the external loan, some equipment and materials such as pump-sets, generators, electrical items and large diameter pipes were purchased and stored at Asejire Waterworks, Oyo State.
Messrs. Johnson Brother International mobilised to site in 1983 but not much work could be done when the military took over power in Nigeria on 31st December, 1983.
Prior to the sudden change of Government (around July/August, 1983) a sum of N7.2m and $11.6M was paid to JBI Ltd.; these payments were made in accordance to the contract agreement signed by the then Oyo State Government. The manner in which the said amount was managed by the contractors and their overseas partners, Messrs. Johnson Brothers Int’l Ltd created a lot of problem, so the project could not make much progress and became stalled and all project activities stopped. The USA Technical Partners of JBI Ltd moved out of the sites. The Eximbank Foreign loan for the project was lost. The contract with JBI (Nig.) Ltd was terminated by the old Oyo State in July 1985.
In 1985, Oyo State Military Government commenced negotiations with Nigerian Water Resources and Development Ltd & Messrs. Taylor Woodrow, United Kingdom (UK), the negotiations did not succeed.
In 1987, General Staff Headquarters, Dodan Barracks, Lagos via Letter No. GHQ/CGS/322 of February, 1987 directed Oyo State Government to allow Messrs. Johnson Brothers International Ltd. to continue with the jobs in view of the huge sum of money already committed into the project.
Consequent upon the above, the contract of New Ilesa Water Supply Scheme was re-awarded in conjunction with that of Ejigbo on 29th April, 1987, however, the efforts of the contractor to resuscitate Eximbank loan to execute the project failed because the Federal Government could not guarantee the loan and the Technical Partners JBC of USA withdrew in 1992.
The project was transferred to Osun State on its creation in August, 1991. Osun State Government decided to re-award the project to Messrs. Johnson Brothers International Ltd in 1992 but no new Contract Agreement was signed. JBI (Nig.) Ltd relied on the 1987 Contract Agreement signed with the then Oyo State Government which could not hold water.
All these were the efforts of the previous administrations on the New Ilesa Water Scheme since 1983; and from all the efforts narrated above, the State Government inherited two (2) large generators, some electrical equipment and about 18km of ductile iron pipes, out of which the government of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola laid over 9km from Osu to College of Education, Ilesa in an attempt to get water to Ilesa, but a drop of water has not flowed through these pipes since then. Attempts were made by our Administration to utilise the generators inherited, but all efforts failed as the manufacturer informed us that the model is outdated. The remaining Ductile Iron Pipes are kept at the Centre for Black Art Culture’s compound, Abere with majority of them stacked at a school premises in Igala, on the way to Ilesa.
In the year 2006, the Federal Government of Nigeria awarded a contract for the construction of a dam at Kajola to Messrs. RCC, for the purpose of raw water source for Ilesa Water Supply Scheme. By 2009, the project was abandoned because of the variation needs on the contract. Due to economic devastation that was envisaged and a lot of compensations that would be paid to land owners should their land be submerged by the dam; the scope of works was reduced to construction of a weir on Osun River and an intake structure.
At the inception of this administration in 2010, I wrote to the Federal Government on the need to complete the project as our priority. The contract was re-awarded in 2012, completed in 2014 and handed over to the Water Corporation on 11th March, 2016.
In the interim, I took my technical team to the World Bank, Country Office, Abuja to source for funds for the project, but by the time the World Bank gave Nigeria $400M, Osun state had been taken out of the list of beneficiaries, on the premise that there was no Water Policy for the Water Corporation to operate with. I did not rest on my oars and went to the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to source for $100M for the completion of Ilesa project. Fortunately, the IsDB included Osun in their list. The Senate moved to investigate all intending loans and considered whether it is healthy for Nigeria to take loans when the Government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had just liquidated all of Nigeria’s external loans. That assignment took two years during which Osun’s proposed loan was cut to $50M as against $100M.
The Senate Committee was busy looking into the loan issues, the IDB advised us to engage an in-house consultant to carry out the feasibility study and conceptual design of the project, while awaiting the Federal Government approval of the loan.
At the completion of feasibility study and conceptual design, the project package came up as follows.
- Component 1- 60,000m3/day Water Treatment plant at Kajola; (IsDB funding)
- Component 2- 22km Transmission mains and Booster Pump Station; “ “
- Component 3- 3No. 10,000m3 Concrete Circular Tanks in Ilesa; “ “
- Component 4- 530km Water Distribution Network within Ilesa; (State Govt. funding)
- Component 5- Provision for Sanitation Facilities “ “
In 2014, the IDB team came for project appraisal and approved the components for funding. It was the IDB that got the FMF approval to increase the loan from $50M to
$65M in order to be able to finish their own components. The request to make use of the pipes left behind by the former Oyo State was discussed with the Bank in other to save money for the distribution network but the Bank declined and would not want anything to do with the left over pipes. With this, the State Government of Osun and the six (6) Local Government Areas that would be served by the Water Scheme were saddled with the responsibility of looking for a sum of $41.95M to lay the 530km distribution network that will bring the water to the doorsteps of the consumers. The Local Government contribution is $13.3M (about N4B) of which One Billion Naira had been paid while the State Government was still looking for funds to fulfill her own obligation of $28.65M, as I earlier said. For the State contribution, we applied to two International Development Partners, USAID and AfDB for both grants and loans respectively but these were to no avail. This made us to look inward and solicit for support from the Federal Government of Nigeria on the 7th February, 2018 and our request for support of $41.94M was granted by President Muhammed Buhari on 30th April, 2018. Based on the approval of Mr. President, the flag – off ceremony of the Ilesa Water Supply Distribution Project is a reality today.
The Physical Implementation of the IsDB components of the project which was flagged – off on 18th December, 2017 i.e. the Construction of 22km Transmission Mains & the Booster Pumping Stations and 3Nos. Concrete Reservoirs which were awarded to Messrs. Gamji Nig. Ltd, on 7th June, 2017 is still on – going. The work which would exceed 20% completion was slow – paced as a result of protracted rainy season of this year.
For the construction of Water Treatment Plant, we received IsDB No – Objection for the selection of contractor on 31st October, 2018 and the negotiation with the selected contractor is on – going and very soon the contract will be awarded.
The Consultancy Design Review and Supervision was also awarded to Messrs. Mahab Ghodss Consulting Engineering, Iran on 16th May, 2017 while Financial Auditing Contract was awarded to Messrs. BDO Professional Services on 16th November, 2016.
The physical construction for all works will be completed in the year 2020 while the loan will close by the end of 2020.
With successful execution of this project, we aimed to achieve the following objectives, which are:
- Improved access to safe, adequate and sustainable water supply to Ilesa and environs.
- Improved health through provision of potable water supply and thereby reduce adult and infant mortality rates in Ilesa and its environs.
- Improved socio – economic conditions of Ilesa and environs.
- Improved Sanitation and hygiene of Ilesa
With all these, I want to confidently say that our administration had put the project on course and will be completed on time by the incoming administration of Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola.
I want to thank Federal Government of Nigeria, Islamic Development Bank (our financier) for their unalloyed supports so far, as well as appreciate the support of Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Federal Ministry of Finance, the Executing Agency (Osun State Water Corporation), the contractor and consultants on the project for the job well done, God will continue to strengthen you all.
I want to thank our Royal Father, Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran, the Owa – Obokun of Ijesaland who is represented by Arojo of Irojo for his understanding, patience and attention, the community leaders, politicians and other people here in attendance.
Above it all, I want to show my appreciation to the good people of the State of Osun for their supports for our administration and I am imploring you all to cooperate with incoming administration for successful execution of this project and others across the State so that they will not become moribund as many projects we met at the inception of this Administration so that the dividend of democracy could be enjoyed by all and sundries.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
Osun To Ti n Dara, Konibaje!