By Chukwudi Enekwechi
As the saying goes “water is life” and all over the world governments at different levels give attention to the provision of adequate water for the citizens. This explains the essential need for adequate water provision in the country and the world at large. Apart from the water used domestically in our homes, water is also useful for agrarian and irrigation purposes. It follows therefore that whatever successes being recorded in the agricultural sector under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration have a corollary with the regular generation and supply of water from the Ministry of Water Resources in the various parts of the country, under the able leadership of Engineer Suleiman Adamu Hussaina.
Never in the history of Nigeria has the water sector being rejuvenated as we presently witness in this current dispensation. Let me quickly acknowledge that the successes being recorded in the water sector can be largely attributed to the single-minded commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari toward fixing the country’s economy using different enablers, water inclusive. It is an incontrovertible fact that the provision of adequate water helps the country’s aquatic life, as well as food production.
While the Buhari administration has been eulogised for its achievements in the transport, aviation and agricultural sectors, the next area that deserves not just a mention but celebration is the water sector where the minister, Engineer Suleiman Adamu Hussaina, has been working relentlessly with his team to revive the once moribund water sector. He has been able to achieve the feat through the construction of dams across the country and embarking on reviving other critical areas of his ministry.
Specifically, the Ministry of Water Resources has constructed 12 dams under the present administration. This is unprecedented considering that in the past all we knew about the government’s plans to construct new dams or complete old ones ended as mere rhetoric. Some of the new dams are as follows: Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam, Taraba State, Ogwashi Ukwu Multipurpose Dam, Delta State, Adada Dam Enugu State, Sulma Earth Dam, Katsina State, Gimi Earth Dam, Kaduna State, Amla-Otukpo, Dam Benue State, Amauzari Earth Dam, Imo State, Ibiono-Ibom Earth Dam Akwa Ibom State, Gadau/Lafia Zigau Dam, Bauchi; Alajue Small Earth Dam, Osun State. Kampe Omi Dam, Kogi State (Rehabilitation) and Kargo Dam Kaduna (Rehabilitation). From available information the Ministry of Water Resources has other goodies in the kitty for the country with another eight Dam projects, eight hydropower projects, 16 irrigation projects and 11 water supply projects, all scheduled for completion by 2023.
It is on record that President Muhammadu Buhari administration inherited so many abandoned and uncompleted water projects across the country, but today the table has turned for the good of all Nigerians, as the Ministry of Water Resources has embarked on an aggressive completion of the projects while executing the new ones simultaneously. This feat can only be achieved by an administration that is focussed on delivering in all the sectors of our national economy. Definitely, posterity will judge the Buhari administration fairly in the water, railways, aviation, agriculture and roads rehabilitation sectors.
Perhaps the reason why the gigantic achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the water sector are not easily glaring to the public’s eye is because they are not seen on a daily basis as we see the airports, roads and railways, but the reality is that under this administration, Nigeria has attained its objectives in the water sector and still counting.
Suffice it to say that in furtherance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s focus on the infrastructural development of the country, completion of dams, water supply and irrigation projects were from the commencement of the administration made a priority, and the Ministry of Water Resources under Engineer Suleiman Adamu Hussaina has lived up to its billing.
Since water and sanitation form part of the bedrock of the United Nation’s (UN) policy on sustainable development, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has made availability and access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services more urgent and fundamental now than ever before. Definitely, the availability of water helps in the management and containment of the virus and other infectious diseases. Gladly, the proactive measures put in place by the Buhari administration in the water sector has enabled Nigeria to not only meet its sustainable development goals, but also made the country adequately prepared to absorb the shocks associated with the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020.
While under the Buhari administration, substantial progress has been made in the water sector at the national level, there are still gaps to be filled at the sub-national levels (state and local governments) and this entails that they must play their roles without let or hindrance. With the basic water infrastructure already provided by the federal government, the sub-nationals owe it as a duty to the citizens to cascade the development to the hinterlands through a symbiotic relationship with the federal and local governments.
In summary, Nigerians have a reason to celebrate President Muhammadu Buhari’s achievements in the water sector as they are numerous and have contributed immensely to the country’s food sufficiency and overall agricultural revolution.
It is even more gratifying that the dams, irrigation and water projects already executed or still being executed under the Ministry of Water Resources are evenly spread across the six geo-political zones of the country. Definitely, this style of leadership will give all and sundry a sense of belonging. Indeed, the Minister, Engineer Suleiman Adamu Hussaina is famous for his fair-mindedness in carrying out national assignments.
Enekwechi, JP, is an Abuja-based journalist