Rural Water Scheme: World Bank unhappy with Ogun State Govt
By Saliu Yusuf
The World Bank appears unhappy with the Ogun State Government over the shoddy implementation of a potable water and sanitation scheme that should have berthed no fewer than 50 boreholes in the rural parts of the state in the last two years.
The project was implemented during the immediate past administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who had inaugurated a Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) to oversee the scheme. Each of the borehole, part of a pilot scheme spearheaded by the Federal Government, was awarded to contractors at a cost of N25 million.
But a review team from the World Bank, which visited Ogun State last month lamented the poor implementation of the project for which funds have been paid to contractors, as there was no functional one in all the places visited. A highly placed World Bank source told Uhuru Times that, “Only Kano and Ogun states were picked for the pilot scheme.
“We were very impressed with what we saw in Kano State. But that of Ogun State was a very bad experience for us, as those responsible for the project’s implementation could not take us to any functioning borehole among the 50 that should have been done. I’ll not be surprised if Ogun State is excluded from the next phase, because the pilot scheme appeared to have failed in that state, which is very sad. We have a session for states that’ll involved in the next scheme next week in Abuja, but we are not inviting Ogun State.”
Chief Press Secretary to the Ogun State Governor, Mr. Kunle Somorin, explained to Uhuru Times that only the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, could shed light on the issue, since he could get details from the handover notes of the previous administration. But efforts to speak with the SSG proved abortive, as he did not respond to calls and text messages sent to his mobile phone.
An activist, who is also a lawyer, Mr. Taofik Lawal, disagreed with the position the source said that the World Bank would take. In his words, “Was the World Bank not monitoring the project? If the implementation failed, there should be sanctions against those who caused the failure, and such sanctions should not be applied to the poor residents of our rural areas in Ogun State, who badly need this laudable intervention in their lives. If the water project is stopped, it is the poor people here that will suffer, not those who messed up the project.
“Secondly, why can’t the World Bank expose those responsible for the failure of this project? We need to know the outcome of their review, which might result in Ogun State being removed from the scheme. Those responsible should be exposed, we need to know them.”