By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
In a desperate move to win a second term as Governor of Cross River State, the incumbent governor, Senator Ben Ayade has concluded plans to privatize water board to Lileker Nigeria Limited, sources close to the governor have said.
Lileker, our sources alleged is jointly owed by former governor Liyel Imoke and Senator Gerhom Bassey.
The move is to serve as a guarantee for Ayade’s second term ticket in the PDP.
It would be recalled that the deal was sealed recently when Ayade held a meeting at the Ranch Resort with Liyel, Gershom, Igile, Engr.Etowa, and Ralston (MD Lileker).
The agenda of the meeting was for him to seek endorsement for a second term by privatizing water board to Lileker.
This development which was accepted by Liyel and others, saw Dr Igile, managing director of Water Board inviting Lileker to submit PPP proposal to water board for immediate approval.
Already, our sources, added that “Lileker has requested in writting to water board the following items for a smooth takeoff of the exercise”.
These include list of all staff, their level throughout the state, a copy of payroll for all staff, civil servantcasual staff, and contract staff, copy of all pensions/commitment, copy of all litigation, any money left with World Bank, and or World Bank state on loans to date amongst others.
Gov Ayade had told Cross Riverians in a town Hall meeting recently organised by water board that government had no intention to privatize water board.
In a shift turn Cross Riverians are forced with the option of accepting the decisions of a few highly placed persons because of their interest.
Meanwhile, all the lands within the premises of Water Board have been sold to friends, relations, and cronies of the governor.
According to sources close to the headquarters of water board, a piece of land goes for 10 million Naira.
Our sources also expresses worry that underground water pipes passed through most of pieces of land that had been sold and wondered what will become the Water Board if those who bought the land commences development on them.
Meanwhile, there are no water running in the pipes since Ayade took over the mantle of leadership of the state.
The business of boreholes which became an old fashion had returned and owners are making fast money as a bucket goes for 20 to 30 naira.
Residents trek long distances to look for portable drinking water for their day to day usage when there pipes in all major streets in Calabar metropolis.
Some of the residents described the sudden move to privatise water board as a “callous and wicked ” decision and called on well meaning Cross Riverians to stop the move.