By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The World Bank in partnership with the federal and state governments have expended a total of $9 million to fight poverty and drive rural development in Ekti State in the last nine years.
The General Manager of Ekiti State Community and Social Development Agency (EKCSDA), Mr. Stephen Bamisaye, who disclosed this, said the huge amount was facilitated into all the 133 Ekiti communities to provide facilities that would be beneficial to the masses at the grassroots level.
Bamisaye spoke on Tuesday in Ado Ekiti at a one-day workshop on partnership building and for the management and sustenance of communities micro projects in the state.
The General Manager stated that the giant strides made by the state in community development has attracted global attention due to the way EKCSDA has prudently managed the resources facilitated by the World Bank and federal government to the state.
He said the state has received delegations from countries like Sudan and Egypt as well as states like Kebbi, Kwara, Kogi, Cross River, Anambra and Oyo, coming to learn how to fight poverty using bottom-top approach like Ekiti.
“The federal government sourced for a sum of $5 million from the World Bank as grants to communities to carry electrification, civic centre, construct bridges and other communal facilities.
“But because of the way we managed the money, the federal government decided to facilitate another $4 million additional financing loan from the World Bank for Ekiti to commence another phase.
“These projects began in 2009 in Ekiti. This workshop is targeted at making the community leaders and associations take ownership of these projects that have been abandoned, they must not be allowed to decay.
“We want to train them how to maintain these facilities because over 200 projects have been completed under this programme, where communities only pay 10 per cent counterpart funding with 90 per cent coming from the federal government and World Bank,” he said.
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, urged the towns not only to take ownership of those projects, but should key into the developmental strides of his government targeted at banishing poverty in the state.
Fayemi, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, expressed regret on how the projects executed through this partnership were abandoned by the past government.
“The World Bank has spent a lot on these projects. We must protect them and make them sustainable. So, EKCSDA must organise the community associations into groups for them to be responsive to the task of making these facilities functional.
“The four pillars of our government, which bordered on knowledge economy, human and infrastructural development, rural and agricultural development and health were designed to make poverty history in our dear state,” Fayemi said.
The Lead Consultant handling the project, Prof. Olaniyi Okunlola, described poverty as a monster threatening the Nigeria’s foundation, saying all the tiers of government should align to combat the scourge.
Okunlola revealed that international development associations of the World Bank will support the implementation of the community and social development project at the grassroots for better sustainability.