Saturday 24 November 2018

THE HISTORY OF ILESA WATER PROJECT: Photos from the Official Flag-off Ceremony


This is a very important occasion. It is the flagging-off of the final face of water supply to my town, to our town and Ijesaland generally. Mr. Minister, this is a very important event in the life of the people of this land. Portable water was available here for well over forty years. There are mothers here, there are fathers here who never experienced portable water supply. When I was in secondary school, we had an epileptic supply of water twice in a week before it ceased all together. What you have come to give us is so important that generations yet unborn will keep talking about it. The first scheme to bring water to Ilesa was commissioned in the year 1952 in the old Western region and it was to supply 2700 cubic meters per day. That scheme mid 1980 as Efonalaye intake now in Ekiti State was frequently filled with silt and efforts to resilt were.unproductive as the raw water has final.became impossible. The 22 kilometers Efonalaye-Ilesa raw water asbestos cement transmission means became deplorable and unserviceable  because of frequent damage due to old age and road expansion done on Efonalaye-Ilesa road created a worst scenario when several kilometers of the transmission means were damaged during construction. Not to now talk of the health risk the main pipeline. These and other factors.led to the abandonment and complete short down the facility and hence the absence of water supply in Ilesa and total dependence on water from doubtful sources.

A new Ilesa Water Supply Scheme was conceived by Uncle Bola Ige, the then governor of old Oyo state, 1979 to 1983, may the good Lord rest him. When it became so clear the old Ilesa scheme would not be able to serve.the town with portable water because the town was increasing in population every year. The contract for the new scheme initiated by Bola.Ige was awarded to Messrs. Johnson Brothers International Nigeria Limited at a sum of 65million dollars at that time. The bank from USA granted a loan of 70 million dollars which was sourced for the procurement of essential mechanical and electrical equipments. The loan agreement which was signed in 1983 by the old Oyo state government, was guaranteed by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1983. Out of the external loan sourced, some equipments and materials such as pump sets, generators, medical items and large diameter pipes were purchased and stored at Asejjre Water Works in Oyo state. Master Johnson Brothers International mobilized to site in 1983 but not much work could be done, when the military took over power in Nigeria on 31st December, 1983. The project consequently could not make much project and became stalled. The USA technological partner, the JBI ltd. moved out of site the foreign loan for the project was lost, the contract with JBI was eventually terminated by the old Oyo state government in July, 1985 by the military.

In 1985, Oyo state military government commenced negotiation with the Nigeria water resources and development Company limited and Master Taylor Wood of the United kingdom but that negotiation failed. In February 1987, the General Staff Headquarters, Dodan Barracks, Lagos, invited the Oyo state government to allow Master Johnson Brothers International Limited to continue with the project in view of the huge some of money already committed to it. Consequently the contract was re-awarded with that of Ejigbo on 29th April, 1987. However, the efforts of the contractor to resuscitate the foreign loan to execute the project failed because the Federal Government could not guarantee the loan and technical partner from the USA withdrew in 1992. The project was transferred to Osun State on its creation on August 1991.

Osun State Government decided to re-award the project to Master Johnson Brothers International Limited in 1992 but no new contract agreement was signed. JBI ltd relied on 1987 agreement with the old Oyo state government which could no longer.hold because government was operating in Osun. All these were the efforts of previous administration on Ilesa Water Scheme since 1983. And from all efforts narrated above, the state government inherited two large generators, some electrical equipments and 18 kilometers of iron pipes out of which the government of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola laid over 9 kilometres from Osu the Osun College of Education in Ilesa in an attempt to get water to Ilesa and a drop of water has not passed through these pipes since then. Attempt were made by our administration to utilize the generators inherited but all efforts failed as the manufacturer informed us the model is outdated.and could no longer be supplied with spare parts. The remaining iron pipes are kept at Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding in Abere, Osogbo and majority them at a school premises on the way to Ilesa.

In 2006, the Federal Government awarded a contract for the construction of a dam at Kajola for the purpose of raw water source for Ilesa Water Supply Scheme and by 2009 the project was abandoned because of the variation needs of the contract. Due to economic devastation that was envisaged and a lot of compensation that would be paid to land owners should their land be submerged by the dam. The scope of work was reduced to the construction of.a ware, just a barrier on the Osun river which will serve as a raw water intake for the scheme. However, not much work was done until we came in November 2010.

At the inception of our administration, I wrote a letter to the Federal Government on the need to complete the project as a priority one. Therefore the contract for the raw intake in Kajola was re-awarded in 2012 and completed in 2014. It was handed over to our state water corporation on the 11th March, 2016. I did not rest on my oars, I therefore went to Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia to source forb100 million.Dollar for the completion of Ilesa Water Project. Fortunately, the Islamic Development Bank, included Osun in its list.

The proposed loan was cut to 50 million Dollars. While the Senate Committee was busy looking into the loan issue, the Islamic bank advised us to engage an in-house consultant to carry out the visibility study and conceptual design of the project while awaiting the approval of the loan. At the completion of this study and conceptual design the project package came as follow:
Component 1; 60000 cubic meters of 60 million litres per day of water treatment plant at Kajola that the Islamic Development Bank will fund.

2. A booster station at Ilesa that the Islamic Development Bank will fund.

3. Three numbers of 10000 cubic meters per day fir 10million litres per day concrete circular reservoir tanks to be installed in three different locations in Ilesa to be construed and funded by the Islamic Development Bank.

4. Water distribution network within Ilesa territory and environs to be funded by the state government.

5. Provision of Sanitation facilities .

In 2014, the Islamic Development Bank team came for project appraisal and approved the components for funding. It was the IDB that got the Federal Ministry of Finance's approval to increase the loan from 50 million to 65 million dollars so as to be finish their own part of it. The request to make use of the pipes left behind by the former Oyo state government was discussed with the bank so as to save money for distribution network because we knew we could not raise our own part of it but the bank declined. The state government of Osun and the 6 Local Government that will be served by the water scheme were saddled with the responsibility of looking for a sum of 41.95 million dollars to lay 530 kilometers of distribution network that will bring the water to the door steps of consumers in and around Ilesa. For the state contribution we applied to two International Government Banks and partners USAID and African Development Bank for both grants and loans but they wouldn't give us. This made us to look inward and solicit support from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

In February of 2017, we wrote the President that we want the government to consider us graciously for the support of a grant of 41.94 million dollars to do the distribution network. To the glory of the Almighty God, President Muhammadou Buhari on 30th April, 2018 approved that the money should be granted to us. As you have heard from the honourable minister, the money is not just mere approval, it has been approved and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources who together with us will ensure judicious use of that money to build the distribution network for Ilesa Water Scheme.

All photo credit; Oladimeji Lasore

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