By Chris Chimezie
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has reiterated his administration’s commitment to providing potable water to homes in the State.
He made this known during a courtesy visit by the Management team of Benin Owena River Basin Development Authority in his office in Akure.
He explained that most areas like Akure and Owo have not had water in their taps for decades, hence the resolve of his administration to frontally address the situation.
“It’s a big challenge to us all. I believe we should meet and have a committee comprising of the State Government and Owena to see how this problem can be resolved.
“Everybody in the state probably lives on boreholes which have not been tested. It’s just dug and people start drinking it without knowing it’s effect on health”, he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Benin-Owena River\ Basin Development Authority, Engineer Saliu Ahmed had congratulated the governor on his incontestable landslide victory in the election that brought him to power, describing it as one that attests to the unanimity of all on his mandate
“I daresay that having followed your trajectory as a legal luminary of note, we are convinced that your foray into political governance indeed will bring unprecedented development to Ondo State, the Sunshine State”, he said.
He stated that a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, BORBDA’s operational area covers the whole of Ondo State, Ekiti State, Edo State and Delta North Senatorial District of Delta State, a total land Area of 44,202 square kilometres with a population of 10.3 million, 60 percent of whom are youths.
Ahmed added that its mandate includes the development and management of surface and underground water resources through the construction of dams, irrigation and drainage systems, provision of potable water, construction and maintenance of infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.
He mentioned projects sited within Ondo State, some of which are ongoing to include Lowolomo Water Scheme at Igbotako in Okitipupa Local Government, Alagbaka Water Scheme in Akure and Idanre Regional Water Scheme.
According to him, in the area of flood and erosion control works, the Authority had executed some projects in Oka Akoko, Irele, Okitipupa and in Araromi-Obu.
“In furtherance to our developmental strides, the Authority has opened farmlands allocated for participatory farmers across the state.
“The medium term strategy of the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority is to continually increase the arable land with irrigation facilities for an all year cropping, thus creating jobs for more people who will directly be involved in farming”, he said.
The Managing Director who pointed out that the priority of the Federal Government is to diversify from oil, stated that government had emphasised in clear terms, the need to go back to Agriculture, adding that the River Basin Authorities are the core Agency saddled with the responsibility to make it a reality.
He noted that the Authority has the mandate to establish integrated farm models in each of the Senatorial Districts of its catchment area.
“In Ondo State, Ido-Ani, in Ose Local Government is the Area selected for the Northern Senatorial District; Iju, in Akure North Local Government is selected for the Central Senatorial District, while Igbotako in Okitipupa Local Government is for the Southern Senatorial District.
“This farm model has the potential of absorbing as many youths as are willing and able, who would be organised into co-operatives involved in cropping, aquaculture, animal husbandry, agricultural processing and marketing”, he said.
He lamented the abandonment of the Owena Multi-purpose Dam which had been left to waste away for many years.
“We are concerned that a project with such huge investments had been left to waste away over the years. Arakunrin will leave footprints in the sands of time by your leadership to put this vast raw water impoundment and appurtenant infrastructure of the Multipurpose Dam to the beneficial use of the population in Akure, Ondo, Ile-Oluji, Idanre, Iju, Ita-Ogbolu and other towns.
“This Dam has potentials for Hydro power, fishing, tourism and irrigation. To justify the enormous resources put into the provision of the Dam and water treatment facilities by the Federal Government, it is necessary to put in every effort and resources on both transmission and distribution to bring the water to your good people in these towns and communities”, he stated.