Haba! The Water Project Is Not Beyond Where I Left It 7 Years Ago, Namadi Sambo Tells Osinbajo, el-Rufai

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and his predecessor, Namadina Sambo, on Saturday disagreed over the role played by present and past Kaduna governors in a water project in Zaria, commissioned by Mr. Osinbajo.

Represented at the event by the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Oyegun, the acting president had claimed the project had lingered for 16 years but was speedily completed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai in two years.

But the News Agency of Nigeria reported that the 150 million liters per day multi-billion water project was initiated by Mr. Sambo in 2008 when he was governor of the north western state.

Mr. Osinbajo’s representative described Mr. El-Rufa’i as one of the most visionary governors the party has produced.

“I am glad on behalf of the party, it took an APC governor just two years to complete a project that has been in slumber for over 16 solid years,” he was quoted by NAN as saying.

“I want to specially thank our host, the governor of Kaduna State, this is one of the showcase examples of what an APC government is all about,” he said.

He described the invitation of Mr. Sambo to witness the inauguration as a demonstration of good will of the state government.

But Mr. Sambo struck back in his speech, telling the audience that while Mr. El-Rufai’s effort was commendable, the project had not gone beyond where he left it seven years ago.

The former vice president however said the event would bring an end to water scarcity in Zaria which had been on for over 40 years.

He urged the benefiting communities to make judicious use of the project and to protect it against vandalism.

The first part of the project inaugurated by Mr. Osinbajo would supply water to Zaria and Sabongari Local Government Areas.

NAN reports that, when fully completed, the Zaria water supply project would also be extended to Giwa, Kudan, Makarfi, Soba and Kubau local government areas.

To facilitate the project, the Federal Government constructed the Galma dam which has 186.1 million cubic metres of water to provide raw water to Zaria water treatment plant.

The state government also secured funding from the African Development Bank and the other financial institutions.

Gov. El-Rufa’i described the inauguration of the project as a fulfilment of one his major promises during electioneering campaign.

“This water treatment plant is an important component of the Zaria water supply expansion project that Kaduna State Government is executing with the support of Federal Government, AFDB, IDB,” he said.

The governor explained that the state government funded the construction of the new water plant, transmission mains and service reservoirs, and also rehabilitated and extended the distribution network.

According to him, the project will improve public health and standard of living, enhance investment and commercial activities, as well as create jobs, improve livelihood and reduce poverty.

The ADB approved a credit facility of $101 million in 2012 for the rehabilitation and extension of distribution network of the project. (NAN)