Wednesday, January 8, 2020 12:14 pm
By Dauda Lawal
I have just returned from the tour of Ero Dam at Ikun Ekiti. I hereby put this piece together in line with the current efforts of Governor Kayode Fayemi at revamping the abandoned water heritage.
Ero dam/Lake is located at Ikun Ekiti in Moba Local Government Area of Ekiti State. The dam is constructed on Ero River which takes its source from the highland region of Orin-Ekiti in Ido-Osi Local Government. The enlargement of the dam water as it flows is as a result of the contributions of the river tributaries as it is usually small at its source. These tributaries include Afintoto, Ayo, Igo, Igbegbe, Ipu, Irara, Ilogbe and Ofu Rivers.
Geographically, Ero Dam is located on the intersect of latitude 70 351N of the equator and on longitude 50 311E of the Greenwich meridian. The dam site at Ikun-Ekiti is bounded in the North by Kwara State, in the West by Ikosu-Ekiti, in the South by Ijesamodu-Ekiti and in the East by Ilejemeje Local Government Area. Ikun–Ekiti is a border town between Ekiti State and Kwara state and it is located at about 70km from Ado, the Ekiti state capital.
Ero Dam from the faded plaque sighted on one of the major buildings at the site, was commissioned on Friday 15th of March,1985 by General Muhammadu Buhari, and was specially established for two purposes, one to provide potable water for the people of Ekiti State and two, to serve as tourists centre.
From the initial designs, the dam was to supply potable water to eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Ekiti State viz: Oye, Moba, Ido-osi, Ilejemeje, Ikole, Irepodun/Ifelodun, Ijero, and part of Ekiti West LGA.
According to experts, the dam is capable of supplying Ekiti State as a whole potable water.
Unfortunately, and for over 20 years, the dam had been abandoned and allowed to underperform despite having the capacity to supply the bulk of Ekiti communities with portable water.
Before he left office in 2014, Dr. Kayode Fayemi had sought the assistance of the World Bank to help in the rehabilitation of the dam, and consequently a #3.7 billion agreement was signed between the Bank and Ekiti State towards the tail end of his administration in 2014. Unfortunately, the successive administration of Ayodele Fayose abandoned the project and did nothing on the award of the project to a contractor until Fayemi came back to office in October 2018.
The 3rd Urban National Water Sector Reform Project as it’s called, when completed, is expected to help the state address its huge water challenges as well as curb open defecation.
According to Governor Fayemi on the water project in a recent press interview, he said his administration was keen on seeing Ekiti people having access to potable water supply, and that the World Bank and the state were working so hard to ensure the project is delivered before the completion date of June 2020.
Beyond the potential of providing portable water to Ekiti people, Ero dam, based on its size and multiple features, is also a big tourist centre. The Dam according to experts is the biggest and longest in the whole of South West Nigeria and one of the biggest in Nigeria. The dam if maximally put to use can also serve as one of the biggest irrigation projects in Nigeria, thereby providing thousands of job opportunities for our teaming youth population in agriculture.
The dam with its lake, serenity and other potentials is naturally suitable and endowed for tourism purposes. It will not be an exaggeration to say that if properly harnessed, Ero dam could be one of the biggest tourism adventures in Nigeria, attracting quality visitors from within and outside the country. Thus, Ero Dam can be applied as a very good solution to combat youth unemployment in our state deriving its force from tourism. Today, and beyond the provision of portable water, Dr. Kayode Fayemi also has the potential and capacity to woo global investors to develop a five star tourist centre at Ero dam at Ikun Ekiti.
Governor Kayode Fayemi is already riding on this ambitious idea, and for me and other progressive elements, it is believed Ekiti State is in the hand of the right man this time. Without mincing words, and with his present efforts, Dr. Fayemi is equipped with the capacity to turn Ikun Ekiti to an economic hub within the next two years. The multi-million dollar Ikun Dairy project is another big plus for this administration, and by the time Ero dam project is fully completed, then we can all gather together to say a big thank you to this great administrator and astute politician.
For me, I already foresee a new Ekiti State being established by Dr. Kayode Fayemi for the purpose of our people and the future of Ekiti State. He is daily meeting and talking to the right institutions and corporate individuals who can help him build and achieve a new Ekiti State for this generation and generations to come.
-Alhaji Dauda Lawal, [adl], a social analyst wrote from Ado Ekiti.