World Bank, international partners set to radicalize development in Ekiti
By Aisha Abass
World Bank projects in Ekiti may hit more than N20billion, putting Ekiti State on the top chart of economic revival, Irohinoodua learnt on Wednesday.
Our reporter was informed that scores of World Bank projects are set to create new impetus that may lift Ekiti from her agrarian status into national reckoning. Irohinoodua was informed that the World Bank projects being implemented at the moment in Ekiti include more than 300 km roads, bridges, water provision and other environmental sustainability projects.
Our correspondent was informed on Tuesday that the numerous World Bank projects in Ekiti sate which began with greater vigour in 2018 might assist the once poor state to transform itself and become a hub of several economic activities.
“Ekiti is benefiting from several World Bank projects like roads construction, provision of water, small scale enterprises and many other subsidiary enterprises that are bound to change the face of the state. It appears there is a special grace on Ekiti State” a World Bank official who sought anonymity told Irohinoodua correspondent in Ado Ekiti.
He said inspite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has retained her status as the haven of World Bank and other international development partners. “From next year when COVID-19 will have relaxed, we hope to renew the vigour. The Northern part of the State will see a lot of transformation as the rural communities will be linked with the national grid in order to accommodate several small scale industries expected to tap from the World Bank chain of activities in the state”, he said.
A top aide of the State Governor, Mr Segun Dipe who has a record of working some international agencies before joining the State Government said the outpouring of honour on Ekiti reflects the character of the Governor.
Dipe told Irohinoodua “Ekiti is already changing in many remarkable ways. Dr. Fayemi is a man who has vision and focus. The World Bank is interested in Ekiti because there is a global standard here. Even when you talk of Small Scale loans, there is support in that area. And I think, if you look at where Ekiti is coming from, Ekiti started without little from the Federal Government, I can say that we are being taken serious among the states in the country as at today. That is due to the good work so far. One thing I want you to know is that we must commend everyone that has governed the country till date, because it is not easy to govern a state that has no resources. But, we will now single out Gov. Dr. John Kayode Fayemi who has that focus and vision and who always come up with plans of what he intends to do and he will follow those plans and make sure that Ekiti is the standard the world can talk of. I think so far so good, the World Bank interest in the state is commendable and we cannot take that away from Gov. Fayemi.”
One of the contractors in Ekiti who does not wish to be named told Irohinoodua that the current leadership in Ekiti has impressed many development partners through what he called “a culture of transparency and diligence.” He said the Governor has shown respect for due process and has demonstrated insistence on transparency and openness in his dealings with the international development partners.
Part of the World Bank’s objective is the provision of water services in many rural communities which observers said will reduce waterborne diseases and raise standards of living in the state . It comes under the National Urban Water Sector Reform Project for Nigeria with two broad aims to increase access to improved water supply service in selected states of Nigeria and improve the financial viability of existing water utilities in those states, and to increase the investment planning capacity of participating states.
Ekiti is also listed under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) The State recently called for the Expression of Interest (Consultancy Service – Firm Selection) for Conduct of Livelihood Needs Assessment in Six Gully/Erosion Site in Ekiti State,
“The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed management Project (NEWMAP) of Ekiti State is designed to support the objective of achieving greater environmental and economy security. The Project is aimed at addressing severe gully erosion problem in the short term, reducing vulnerability to soil erosion and climate variability in the medium term, and promoting long – term climate resilience and low Carbon Development” a world bank document sourced by Irohinoodua indicated.
The document stated that the Federal Government of Nigeria, Through the Federal Ministry of Finance has applied for financing from the International Development Association (IDA)- The World Bank and French Development Agency (AFD) and lent the financing of Ekiti State towards the cost of rehabilitation of prioritize Rural Road and River crossings, construction/rehabilitation support for the administration support for establishment of Agro Logistics.
The state government said it intends to apply part of the state counterpart funds towards payment and under the contract for the construction of 25.5Km prioritize rural pilot Roads in State through the Ekiti State Rural Access and Agriculture Marketing Project (EK/RAAMP).
Engr. Fahard Ahmed, in Ado said Ekiti was picked for strategic consideration. He spoke when the team visited the State capital not too long ago. Ahmed said Ekiti currently enjoys cordial relationship with the World Bank and the State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, look good tapping from the World Bank goodwill. He praised Ekiti RAAMP office and its staff for their skill and dedication..
Under some of the projects, 37 communities already received N194.3m to address abandoned projects in their area. Many of the projects were initiated during Fayemi’s first term. The projects were later abandoned by his successor, Mr Ayodele Fayose. The Governor, Fayemi had listed 82 projects but only 37 came under the World Bank radar.
“I am happy to inform you that attention is being placed on the new requests you have submitted during my last meeting with town unions/community development associations’ chairmen and secretaries. As part of the resolution arrived at the meeting, very soon, the programme will accommodate more communities” an excited Fayemi had said. He said he would make life more meaningful for Ekiti state and ensure sustainable development.