It is fascinating and remarkable that each time Osun State tried to deliver water to its residents, there were barriers. Having easy access to clean, drinkable water does not seem to be in the cards for people of Osun. To collect water for personal consumption, they must toil and work because they do not have compassionate leaders.
The state of living spring has a history of starting efforts to offer water for residents in large quantities. The people who came up with the ideas either lose the will to carry them through or find a way around it.
Every attempt to get other towns to benefit from state-owned water schemes, with the exception of the historic town of Ede where some regions inadvertently have access to public water in the state, failed.
The 1.7 billion mini-water plans for three villages spread across the state’s senatorial districts did not turn out properly. Residents in Ife-Odan, Ipetu-Ijesa, and Ila-Orangun, who were delighted with the progress, have continued to wonder why they still lack access to water.
Despite the fact that the just ten years old project is little to write home about, residents of these towns continue to hold out hope that water will soon flow from these pipelines.
Girls who walk for miles after school every day to obtain water for their homes haven’t given up faith despite the project’s failure. There is yet hope for elderly men who depend on the water system to provide enough water for their farms. Women who go great distances to wash their soiled clothing in rivers still have hope for the project’s success.
These individuals who aspire to effective water plans are, regrettably, unaware of the fact that the politics that initiated these initiatives have rendered them entirely lifeless.
The first water plans weren’t intended to be successful. It was more political posturing motivated by personal gain and glory from the initiating stage to the bidding stage to the implementation stage. There was no widespread understanding among the funders. They all agreed to gratify a man’s desires and aspirations.
Despite being clever, exciting, and positive, the notion did not hold up over time. The senators and the nine members of the green chamber (2011–2015) agreed to facilitate the execution of joint projects in the state through the National Assembly’s Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP), also known as constituency projects, it was revealed when the situation escalated in 2018 as a result of a journalist’s investigation.
Further investigation revealed that after the then-Gov. Rauf Aregbesola ordered them to all complete a water project, each representative changed their original plan for their respective regions. They decided to spend N1,666,666,668 on three mini-water schemes that would be built in each of the three senatorial districts.
When contacted, the companies responsible for building the three mini-water schemes asserted that they had finished the work and turned it over to the Osun Water Corporation.
In response to this assertion, the water corporation revealed that the mini-water system in Ipetu-Ijesa had been finished while the two others, in Ife-Odan and Ila-Orangun, had been subparly constructed. The three small-scale water projects that were started in 2012 the year 2022. They haven’t produced any water in ten years.
Residents of three towns have not only destroyed their dreams, but also given up faith that they would ever have access to clean water. They decided to keep walking to the stream to collect water for home use. They were unaware that one of the legislators who approved the use of constituency funds also advocated for the project.
The water project was overseen by this politician, who is also aware that not a single drop of water had yet to be produced.
The nine federal parliamentarians who contributed their allowances for this endeavor, including the three senators, are all in good health. They are aware of the companies awarded the projects.
The project’s initiator is also healthy, living, and well. They are also aware that these small water projects have not yet produced any water. These settlements, Ife-Odan, Ipetu-Ijesa, and Ila-Orangun, only have the frameworks for these small water systems. They haven’t yet produced any water.
The N48.7 billion water project for Ilesa and its surroundings was inaugurated in 2017 by Rauf Aregbesola. Those who knew about the tragic circumstance that befell the three mini-water plans had their reservations about whether it would be finished.
When this project began, some people raised concern over the burying of pipes underground and questioned if the project would be successful. The water project has yet to produce a drop of water five years after its debut.
There hasn’t been much progress in the past two years aside from the completion of pipe design in some regions. Prior to Governor Ademola Adeleke ordering an investigation into the N48 billion Ilesa water project, the public had come to the conclusion that it would join the list of state projects that had failed.
The State’s Assets Recovery Committee, led by Dr. Basiru Salami, recommended that Governor Adeleke suspend Mrs. Tawa Williams, a former special assistant to Rauf Aregbesola who also serves as the project’s consultant, due to her poor pace of work and alleged financial mismanagement.
Another cat was let out of the bag when Mrs. Tawa Williams was suspended. The consultant said that Nasiru Olateju, the chairman of the House Committee on Water, had asked for a $5 million bribe. She continued by saying that the house had threatened to leak negative information about the project to the media and use it as a kind of blackmail.
Unfortunately, Ilesa’s $106 million water project is being damaged by the same politics that destroyed the three mini-water systems. The three little water projects are already dead. The mini-water systems have been utterly ignored by both facilitators and contractors.
The $106 million water project in Ilesa is starting the same futile trip. The Ilesa water project could become a shell of what it once was if problems with mismanagement of funds, bribery, and other concerns are not resolved.
Politics has prevented the success of three small-scale water projects for the Osun people. The $106 million Ilesa water project is clearly heading toward failure.
Critical individuals who contributed to its moribund status, as well as those who oversaw the three mini-water systems that led to their demise, would be free to roam if this were to occur. How many water projects that will lessen the misery of our people do we wish to kill because of politics?
The investigation into the $106 million Ilesa water project has been ordered by Governor Adeleke. The consultant, Mrs. Tawa Williams, has been put on leave. Residents of Ilesa and the surrounding area have persisted in wondering what the governor’s next move on the project will be. Will the project be restarted?
Will Adeleke be able to prevent the $106m Ilesa water project from failing like the mini-water schemes?