The Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project being partly funded by a World Bank loan of $200 million which was secured by the former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi in 2014 is again in the news this week.
The total amount for the project is $220 million.
The bank has been releasing the funds on piecemeal basis until last year that the current Governor Seyi Makinde was alleged of an undue interference in the workings of the contractors handling the projects.
It was said that the State government allegedly failed to conclude the contract award of the successful bidders for the four Lots (3A, 3B, 4A & 4B) under the World Bank international Competitive Bidding Process and this led to criticisms from some groups in February, 2021.
In a letter signed by the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Western and Central Africa Region, Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, dated July 30, 2021, addressed to the state Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, conveying the cancellation of the project and the withdrawal of $52 million (about N26Billion) funding supports, the World Bank frowned over the failure of the state government to meet the basic conditions for the no objection for the three companies that emerged under the World Bank supervised bidding process since May 5, 2021.
A non-governmental organisation, Ibadan ‘Koya, an anti-corruption coalition had early in the year raised the alarm that the state may lose the opportunity provided by the World Bank to construct formidable flood control drainages in Ibadan if the government does not follow due process in the choice of contractor selection.
The Coordinator and secretary of the Coalition, Messrs Oladele Morufu and Joel Adeoye respectively had called, “on well-meaning Nigerians, especially the people of Ibadan and Oyo State, in general, to prevail on Governor Makinde from further delaying the announcement and submission of names of qualified contractors to the World Bank, sponsoring the projects before it is too late.”
However, the state government vehemently denied such development, claiming it has put in place necessary machinery for the smooth taking off of the huge flood control project, a World Bank-assisted Project established and secured funding by the former Governor of Oyo State, late Senator Abiola Ajimobi to respond to the issues of flooding that the state had been experiencing.
It was alleged that “the low capacity of IUFMP on safeguard and project management, government bureaucracy and elongated approval stages in the state coupled with the lack of progress on the implementation of the First Pool of Long Term Investment (PLT11) which was awarded on April 17, 2020, to some companies, resulted in the decision by World Bank not to extend the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Projects beyond June 2022 closing date.”
The World Bank informed the government that they are in agreement with the Federal Government to initiate cancellation of an additional $100 million before the June 2022 project closing date with the attendant effect of the said World Bank diverting the funds to the Northern States of Nigeria in accordance to President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to the World Bank Board to scale up supports and help rebuild the Northern States which have been ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.
But on Tuesday in Ibadan, an official told reporters that the World Bank about two weeks ago released another $25million for the continuation of the projects for flood controls and damaged bridges across Ibadanland, part of which had been wired to an Ogun State Bank account for unknown reason.
Recall that on August 26, 2011, flood ravaged the city with many lives lost and property destroyed while the heavy downpour descended on Ibadan rendering many homeless.
The State Government under Ajimobi sought the support of the World Bank for the repairs of affected bridges and construction of new ones to pave way for proper channelization of water.
However, it was said by a highly placed government official that a top government official had caused about half of the recently released $25million to be diverted to a bank account in the neighboring Ogun State for a purpose yet to be ascertained as at the time of filing this report.
In the midst of this, people of the city especially in the affected areas are daily experiencing pains due to non-completion of the ongoing works started a couple of years ago by the State Government.
The Labo bridge being done from the said loan, was criticized for lacking quality and the width needed to make the road motorists and commuters’ friendly.
The State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde must as a matter of urgency investigate this matter with a view of washing himself clean from this alleged graft and official corruption, which may hinder quality works on these projects with attendant loss of faith in the State’s ability to manage World Bank funds.