Engr. Prince Hon. IBITOYE, Kilomodemo Adeniran, is the Special Adviser to the Governor of Osun State on Water Resources and Energy and also the Managing Partner, IBIBABAROYAL, a division of Royal Synergy Associates Limited. He schooled in Ondo State University (now Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti) where he bagged 2nd Class (Upper Division) Mechanical Engineering and later obtained his Master in Public Administration at Ladoke Akintola University, LAUTECH, Ogbomosho, Oyo State, 2010.
In the circle of engineering families in Nigeria, KLM as he is fondly called needs no introduction. He’s a member of several professional bodies and has held several positions in NSE and served in different Committees. He is a current VP and was re-elected as VP (Southwest) in line with the amended MEMART. KLM is service personified and runs it with a slogan “SERVICE TO HUMANITY…….THE BEST WORK OF LIFE”. He is also the CEO of a NGO known as KLM-D1 Initiative.
Engineers’ Forum had a session with Engr. Ibitoye who took us through the art of governance, service and vision for NSE. Let’s get into the recess of his mind as we enjoy the encounter.
Congratulations on your recent NSE electoral victory as VP (Southwest). How do you feel about the election and the victory?
Of course, I feel good about the victory because a victory for KLM is a victory to humanity. As the Vice President representing the South West, it is a welcome development and by God’s grace, I shall not disappoint my people.
Unarguably, one can say service brings fame. You are known within the family and have devoted your years in service to the engineering profession. What is service to you?
Hard work, persistence and focus are major or key factors that I must say brought me thus far and of course, you cannot undermine the essence and presence of the sovereign Lord in my affairs.
“Service to Humanity is the best work of life” this is my motto. Service is all about impacting lives and by the grace of God, my service speaks for itself.
If everyone in the profession makes a conscious effort to deliberately put service at the fore and do the needful, I think we will have a better nation.
You are the Special Adviser to the Governor of Osun State on Water Resources and Energy; a high ranking cabinet member in the State. Can you share the achievements of His Excellency Governor Adegboyega Oyetola under the portfolio that you function?
There has been a tremendous achievement in the Water and Energy portfolio where I function. Some of them are:
I Signing of Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) protocol by Mr Governor which has resulted into the collaboration of the Federal and State Government to deliver Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Facilities on 50/50 basis between the two parties in 6 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the State. As at the end of the year 2020, more than 92 water facilities including rehabilitation of dysfunctional motorised boreholes, new solar power boreholes and new hand pump boreholes were put in place in 3 focal Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state;
II Attainment, certification and validation of Ifedayo LGA as Open Defecation Free (ODF) by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. With this development, Ifedayo LGA became the 15th LGA in Nigeria and the first in the entire South West Zone to reach Open Defecation Free (ODF) target;
III Rehabilitation of some boreholes and construction of new ones in some LGAs in partnership with the Africa Development Bank;
IV Ongoing drive to make sure that Ayedade and Odo-Otin LGAs become Open Defecation Free (ODF) soonest;
V Also, some Motorized and Hand Pump boreholes and Sanitation Facilities were constructed under EU/UNICEF WSSSRP II (Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Program) across communities in 3 focal LGAs of Ayedade, Ifedayo and Odo-Otin in order to increase access of the populace to portable water and safe means of excreta disposal;
VI In partnership with UNICEF, the State Government has completed the rehabilitation of 169 hand pump/solar power boreholes under phase one in the 3 EU/UNICEF focal LGAs and other LGAs that have been affected by COVID-19;
VII Implementation of the State Water Law with the establishment of Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (STOWASA) as well as the Water Regulatory Commission.
VIII Also the Ilesa Water Project is in an advanced state of completion and it is quite clear that our people there will soon smile. Moreover, the State Government is partnering with Messrs. Efficacy Construction Ltd, to deploy Modular Water Plants across the State to the tune of 250 Million litres of water per day.
The achievements are impressive. As a Special Adviser, is the governor bound to take your advice and how well will you say the governor is optimizing your function?
The Governor is the one elected to Office by the populace based on his Development Agenda and so, he is not bound to take my advice if he feels it is not in line with his pact with the people. Notwithstanding my earlier comment, it is generally known that our Governor, Mr Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola, is a thoughtful, resourceful and focused person who had made sure that all Cabinet Members and other appointees are round pegs in round holes. Hence, you will see that myself being a Mechanical Engineer, currently the Vice President of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and a Fellow, has been assigned to this Ministry which utilizes Engineers in almost 90% of the assignments here. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Governor makes use of our capacity and experience in tackling issues in the Water and Energy Sector hence the quantum of his achievements in these past 2 years.
During the year 2020 World Water Day, the state government emphasized the importance of water to the human race and reiterated its commitment to providing portable water supply across the nooks and crannies of the state.
Part of this commitment was to sign an MoU with partners. What is the level of progress in terms of provision of potable water in the state?
As I have said earlier the governor’s desire is to deliver potable water to all citizens of Osun State and there have been some activities established and some ongoing as highlighted before.
Remember, the state has signed an MOU with Efficacy Construction Ltd in partnership with CIBTECH of China to deploy Modular Water Plants across the State to the tune of 250 Million litres of water per day. We have established a technical team comprising the ministry and the investors and work is ongoing in creating employment for our youths during and after the completion of the project.
Osun State has been described as the heart of power transmission in the country because of the weight of power facilities domiciled there. Osun has six transmission lines while plan for two more installations was on ground as at last year to make it eight. Osun also has five sub-stations, which makes the state to be outstanding. What is the situation of electric power supply in the state?
Osun State is home to the National Electricity Control Center and is therefore lucky to have an average of 17 hours of uninterrupted power supply daily in most parts of the State. However, there are pockets of problems in some areas in the State and our Governor is up and doing in solving these problems.
I will cite just 2 examples: Mr Governor recently facilitated the process of restoration of power supply to some parts of Ife South LGA which has been off grid for more than 8 years. I’m quite sure that, in the coming year, Garage Olode and its environs will have their electricity restored. In addition, Mr Governor has been making frantic efforts to make sure that the proposed 132/33KV Transformer substation at Ede be completed as soon as possible. He had written to the Transmission Company of Nigeria on it in addition to personal contacts. This is because the completion of the project will boost power supply to Ejigbo LGA and its environs as well as the Free Trade Zone. thus helping the Social and Economic life of our people.
There are some 14 REA projects awarded since 2015 to be executed in the state which have either been abandoned or delivery is very slow and some communities that are supposed to benefit from it are complaining. Premium Times did a report on that some times in March last year. Does your office interface with REA to ensure such projects are delivered on time and within specifications? What is the status of those projects as at today?
One of the problems we inherited and which we are trying to solve is the lack of synergy between the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the State at the stage of project conception.
However, we are trying to solve the problem. The most recent example is the Federal Ministry of Water Resources seeking our views on some Water Supply projects being proposed for execution. So, overtime, the problem will be solved. We will link up with the Rural Electrification Agency on the projects mentioned.
What is the state vision in the off-grid Renewable Energy?
Ultimately the vision of Governor Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola administration is to make sure that off-grid renewable energy is available in areas that are very far from the existing National Electricity grid supply. This is with a view to ensuring that projects are executed with minimal cost and are sustainable. It is also to promote better climatic conditions by reducing C02 emission in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 of Affordable and Clean Energy. In this way, we are currently discussing with various Investors to develop the Renewable Off-Grid Small Hydro Power Plant at Owala Dam and Okini. Besides, Mr Governor has agreed to work with the Federal Government in the development of a Small Hydro Power Plant at Erin Ijesha Waterfall. Please note that a Small Hydro Power Plant is also currently being constructed at Ikeji Ile. In the Solar Energy field, the State government has also made a significant stride with the proposed development of Solar Power Plant in diverse areas of the State at different levels. In actual fact, a 13MW plant will soon be installed at the outskirts of State Capital by Messrs Fergnet Ltd. in conjunction with the State government. Also an Investor is in an advanced stage of installing a Solar Power Plant in remote areas in Osi-Sooko and environs. I wish to assure you that in the coming year this administration will make significant progress in the Energy Sector.
Let’s get back to NSE. You play both mainstream and professional politics and your recent victory as VP (Southwest ) was seen by many as the beginning of a journey to the top. Do you agree with this common belief?
Well, if you say so and I think the people are the mouthpiece of the gods, (….Laughs). We shall see how things unfold as we tarry along by the grace of God. Surely I am ready to serve as I have always done any day, any time
Finally, there is a growing number of engineering professionals in mainstream politics today. We have at least 4 as governors and many in both NASS and State Houses of Assembly. What advice do you have for those who are yet to pick up the baton?
Having Engineers at the helm of affairs of this nation is the best and the bedrock of development of any country. Take a look at other nations, you will understand what I am saying, Singapore, China etc.
However, to change the narrative, engineers must and should participate in politics and give professional advice to technical and developmental challenges for sustainability, putting service at the fore. You cannot effect much change without getting involved.
I say to all Engineers, be interested in politics and good governance to achieve the desired change we all want.