Osun APC, PDP in blame game as abandoned multi-billion naira Ilesa water project rots away

0
505

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

The hope of the people of Ilesa having access to potable water might be dashed if the present administration in Osun State fails to mobilise contractors back to the site of the Ilesa Water Project and ensure its completion in due time.

Already, the window of credit provided for financing the remaining component of the project by the Islamic Development Bank would soon elapse and if the project is not attended to urgently, it may further experience setback.

Recall that Governor Adeleke had in November 2022 suspended the consultant for the water project, Tawa Williams, over alleged mismanagement of funds meant for the project.

Adeleke said the funds earmarked for the construction of the water project was from a total loan of $106 million obtained from the Islamic Development Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria, with $65 million and $41.94 million respectively.

He had revealed that a total of $27.073 million was expended from the IDB loan of $65 million, leaving a balance of the sum of $37.926 million. However, from the federal government loan of $41.94 million, which the consultant had converted to N12 billion, the sum of N10 billion had been purportedly spent on the project, leaving a balance of N2 billion.

Governor Adeleke therefore suspended the consultant on the account of mismanagement noting that despite the huge sum spent so far, the Ilesa water project was not yet functional and the people of Ilesa were yet to access any.

About a year after the contractor was suspended, the project has been abandoned.

Meanwhile, the two major political parties in the state have been engaged in blame games over the state of the project.

While the major opposition party, All Progressives Congress accused Adeleke of using political pettiness to sabotage the project, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party replied that it was the APC under former governor Gboyega Oyetola that ruined the chances of the project flying on time.

The chairman of APC, Tajudeen Lawal, in a statement on Tuesday, said, “The Osun APC is using this medium to appeal to all Nigerians of means and clouts to come to our aid by saving the state from the current logjam inflicted on us by the confused and tactless Governor Adeleke and his coterie of political jesters.

“One, we need the Islamic Development Bank, the financing bank, to extend the financing agreement on Ilesa Water Project beyond December 2023. Two, the project contractor should be placated to settle out-of-court as being requested by the state government so that the state does not lose money and suffer unduly over the indiscretion and lack of seriousness of some political mal-administrators.”

For the chairman of the governing PDP, Sunday Bisi, “The mismanagement of funds and allegations of corruption during the previous administration demanded a reassessment of the project’s trajectory, which Governor Adeleke duly acknowledged.

“Since Lawal has decided to mislead the public through false accusations on Governor Adeleke, there is a need to remind the public of the atrocities of the APC on the water project. Lawal and his fellow grievers should be informed that it was Oyetola who terminated the water project contract with the contractor thereby resulting in the Contractor’s court action. This added to the several messes of the Oyetola government that Governor Adeleke has been left to clear. The Governor has initiated an out-of-court settlement with the contractor which is currently ongoing.”