Chief Press Secretary to Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Taiwo Adisa, has declared that there is no truth in the claims that the World Bank-backed Ibadan Urban Flooding Management Project (IUFM) was cancelled as a result of undue influence from the governor.
He maintained that the governor neither influenced the contractors nor tried to influence the contract, stating that Makinde should actually be commended for always insisting on value for Oyo State’s money.
The governor’s media aide stated that the clear reason given by the World Bank for the cancellation of the project had to do with the timeline and the response of the state to the project.
He wondered why some mischief makers are deliberately trying to twist the World Bank’s letter dated July 30, 2021, and signed by its Country Director for Nigeria, Western and Central African Region, Shubham Chaudhuri, stating that the World Bank’s letter even recognized Makinde’s unwavering support for the IUFMP project.
Adisa, who stated these while featuring on Fresh 105.9 FM’s Situation Room, declared that there was nowhere the World Bank accused Makinde of trying to unduly influence the contracts in the Second Pool of Long-Term Investments (PLT12) under the IUFMP.
“No, they are talking about the timeline, and the response by the state to the World Bank, has actually addressed that fully. So, there is no ulterior motive in the management of this project,” Adisa said.
He noted that the bank had, during a mid-term review, expressed satisfaction with the governor’s value-for-money initiative, which was introduced to ensure that the IUFMP continues to deliver excellent service to the people of the state.
He blamed those trying to paint the governor in bad colour over the cancellation of the second pool of the $200m World Bank loan accessed by the immediate past government for the management of flooding in the state as being mischievous.
Adisa maintained that as part of the Makinde administration’s commitment to addressing urban flooding, the governor had asked for the expansion of the work plan to include the desilting of major rivers, including the Agodi Lake, which is a major source of flood in Ibadan.
He said: “Governor Makinde did not influence the contracts; he did not influence the choosing of the contractors. There were issues in the past as to who got what in those projects. There are even issues as to what was delivered with the two-thirds of the $200m loan already spent or committed by the past administration and what was delivered.
“If at all, the name of the governor should actually be on the right side of this story, because all he called for when he came on board was what I can refer to as a value-for-money initiative.
“Now, we are just awarding contracts for 45 streams. Where were those 45 streams with the two/third of the money spent? Who are the people getting what?
“For the World Bank, there was a time some of their officials came in for a mid-term review at the Secretariat and they were really satisfied with the initiative, which the governor is bringing in to ensure that the project will continue to deliver for the people of Oyo State.
“Now, in those areas that the name of the governor has been mentioned, there are no facts in any of those reports. First, if you want to write a report, you need to rely on a document to write it. But in most of the reports I have seen, they were not directly quoting from the letters of the World Bank because the World Bank did not, in any way, say that Governor Makinde influenced a particular project or brought a particular contractor. It did not say so.
“So, if the letter, which is your source to communicate to the people is saying something and you are saying another thing, you should know that there is divergence of opinions and certain influences are responsible for the lies being insinuated into that report.”
The CPS equally cleared the air on the cancellation, stating that of the $200m loan, the previous government had spent $50m and committed about $100m to several projects, leaving only $50m to be accessed by the Makinde administration.
He maintained that if at all, the cancellation would affect the $50m according to the World Bank’s letter.
“People should not hide under one finger to be throwing stones at the white house thinking that other people will not know. People know some of these issues but we are not going to talk about the details of some of the things under the table that pushed some of the narratives that you see. Some interests are actually the problem.
“What we want is the value from this project or the money that the World Bank wants to loan us. If the value for money is in question, we could take our decision and say we don’t want the remaining part of the money again and we source for it locally or within our IGR.
“All the projects that the governor is doing now are not funded by loans. The APFA is not even a loan. So, if there are things we can take up within our own means, why not? So, people should not paint it out there as if Oyo State is losing money to the tune of N26b. No, they should let us talk about the facts of the matter,” Adisa said.