The World Bank has cancelled its funding support to the ‘Second Pool of Long Term Investment for Flood Control’ project in Oyo State over the failure of Governor Seyi Makinde-led government to conclude the contract award of the successful bidders for the four lots under the bank’s international competitive bidding process.

SaharaReporters had in February 2021 reported that the state risked losing the project over its proposed award to companies allegedly linked to Makinde and other top government officials.

Seyi Makinde

The state government, through the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) headed by one Dayo Ayorinde, had lobbied the World Bank to undermine its procurement strategy and award the project to companies linked to the governor and his cronies over N12 billion above the lowest bidders in the four lots (3A, 3B, 4A, 4B).

“About four different petitions were written to World Bank with respect to the manipulation of the process by the state government headed by the commissioner for finance, Akinola Ojo. So some representatives of the bank decided to meet the governor but were shocked when he told them to leave the project and go to another state if they are not ready to give the contact to companies he nominated,” a source had told SaharaReporters.

However, in a letter conveying the cancellation of the project and the withdrawal of $52 million (N26billion) funding, the bank frowned over the state government’s failure to “meet the basic condition for the no objection for the three companies that emerged under the World Bank supervised bidding process since May 05, 2021 and the poor response time of the government to IUFMP activities which largely has affected the agency ability to perform effectively.”

The letter was signed by World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Western and Central Africa Region, Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, and addressed to Governor Makinde.

Speaking to SaharaReporters, a source familiar with the project berated the Makinde-led government for failing to announce and submit names of qualified contractors to the bank, thereby leading to its cancellation.

“The bidding process has taken unprecedented 8 months from bid opening to the temporary award of the contracts due basically to the insistence of Governor Makinde to award the project to his preferred though unqualified companies,” he said.

“The government through the office of the former Commissioner for Finance, Akinola Ojo (Who is the supervising Ministry of the Project) has since been lackadaisical in responding to all the conditions precedent to final approval by the World bank since May 2021 when the conditional approval was given.

“The low capacity of IUFMP on safe guard 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 in April 17, 2020 to companies linked to the governor cronies, has resulted in the decision by World Bank not to extend the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Projects beyond June 2022 closing date.

“The World Bank has also informed the governor that they are in agreement with the Nigerian government of President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate cancellation of additional $100 million before 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 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 at the detriment of the Southern states of the country.

“Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) is a World Bank-assisted Project established and secured the funding by the former Executive Governor of Oyo state, His Excellency, Senator Ishaq Abiola Ajimobi to respond to the issues of flooding that the state had been experiencing.

“Unfortunately the present government who did not know how much efforts required to access World bank fund is on the verge of losing the funding through their non-diligence prosecution of the projects. The incident of flooding has been a recurring event in Ibadan, the third largest metropolitan area in Nigeria, the most recent flooding event took place on the 26th August, 2011 resulted in a death toll of more than 220 people and serious damages to assets, properties and infrastructures, making many homeless and destitute.

“The incident was reminiscent of the Ogunpa flood disaster that occurred in the city in 1980, but on a larger scale and with more devastation this time around. Over one hundred (400+) lives were reportedly lost with property damage estimated in billions of naira.

“With all these, one would have expected The Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of IUFMP and Oyo state government under Engr. Seyi Makinde to work assiduously towards a full implementation of the Project’s programme of works, so as to ensure achievement of the anticipated outcomes of community flood resilience in Ibadan and environs.

“But sadly instead Governor Seyi Makinde has allowed personal aggrandizement and greed to over shadow the bigger picture of curbing flood disaster in Oyo State.”

 

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