By Samson Ezea
When some persons out of their usual political mischief started peddling and planting false story about water scarcity in Enugu metropolis recently as if it was caused by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration, I wrote an article titled Enugu Govt and The Social Media Mischief Over Water Scarcity.
In the article, I put the record straight by stating that perennial water scarcity in Enugu is as old as the city itself. This is because of the topographic and geological challenges of city that made it difficult getting water from the ground and the mismanagement that has characterised the running of the State Water Board before now. I went further to outline systematic, visible and concerted efforts of Ugwuanyi’s administration in addressing the challenge adequately in Enugu and Nsukka in due course.
Some people instead of disputing my article with verifiable and contrary facts, went personal to attack my person on social media platforms for writing the article. I was niether daunted nor felt perturbed by their emotions, because I knew that I said nothing, but the truth. So far Governor Ugwuanyi government’s various interventions in addressing the perennial water challenge in the Enugu, include the commencement of comprehensive rehabilitation of the 9th Mile Crash Programme with Solar Powered boreholes to ensure adequate supply of potable water from Oji River, Ajali and Iva water schemes to Enugu metropolis which the contract was awarded to FordMarx Nigeria Limited at the N600million, commencement of the bid opening and evaluation meeting for new Okwojo Ngwo boreholes augmentations to Enugu metropolis and constitution of the Board of the State Water Corporation headed by the first Managing Director of the Corporation and a renowned consultant in Water Industry, Engr. Innocent Diyoke.
Others are appointment of new Managing Director for the State Water Corporation in the person of Engr. Martin Okwor through a transparent and rigorous process, committing of funds to the actualisation of FG Adada Dam Water project in Nsukka to guarantee its speedy completion and others. The climax of the various interventions by the government was the recent announcement and advertisement by the Enugu State Water Corporation for the recruitment of 104 workers to align with modern changes in service delivery. Speaking on the recruitment exercise, the Managing Director of the Corporation, Engr. Martin Okwor, said that many workers of the Corporation lack modern skills to drive the current utility concern for optimal result and service delivery.
Engr. Okwor, who disclosed that the Corporation is under-staffed following the retirement and death of several workers, revealed that their replacements have not been carried out over the years. He added that “the massive expansion and modernisation scheme of the present administration, under the able leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, with the International Development Partners such as the AFD PROGRAM , currently in place, will require that we engage experienced staff to under-study the project as it is been carried out for ease of operation as well as future maintenance”. Stressing that “learning on the job is the best training”, the Managing Director pointed out that “the new employees will do exactly that to drive the new Water Corporation to emerge from this administration”.
Engr. Okwor who noted that “old practice and habits are hard to give up”, maintained that “most of the current employees are not adapting to the modern changes inherent in the Corporation”. He therefore reassured the people of Enugu State that the Ugwuanyi administration is working round the clock to address the issue of water in the state. Analysing critically Ugwuanyi administration’s painstaking efforts in addressing the water problem alongside Engr. Okwor’s revelations about the situation at the Corporation and the move to recruit 104 staff, one thing that is not in doubt is the pitiable state of the Corporation, before now due to maladministration, neglect, corruption and poor funding. It is clear that the Corporation has been moribund and in comatose with few workers cashing on the situation to feed fat at the detriment of the Enugu people.
The move by the Corporation to recruit 104 workers at once simply means that the Corporation had been lacking both financial and human resources for too long. This is a pathetic and worrisome situation, which those who were peddling water scarcity in Enugu on social media and apportioning blame to Ugwuanyi’s government are pretentiously ignorant of for reasons known to them.
Having known the numerous challenges bedeviling the Enugu State Water Corporation before now and Ugwuanyi’s concerted efforts in providing last solution to it, it is expected of them to boldly and conscientiously peddle the efforts on social media platforms as well if they are not hypocrites and hired social media rats, that usually embellish lies to suit their agenda.
While the recruitment by the Corporation will create jobs for would-be- beneficiaries and their relations, one keeps wondering where and how Ugwuanyi’s administration will be getting money to pay these workers. This is considering the state of the country’s economy which has made it extremely difficult for most state governments to meet up with their financial obligations, not to talk of employing more workers. Just like every other challenges his administration inherited, Ugwuanyi’s government is desirous and at the same time working assiduously towards solving the problem of water scarcity in Enugu and Nsukka for the good of the people.
It is obvious that due to the enormity of the challenges in Enugu State Water Corporation and getting potable water in Enugu, Ugwuanyi government’s interventions will take some times to come to fruition. It will surely address the problem effectively. What is required of the people is patience, support and understanding. With the various interventions and plans by Ugwuanyi’s government, the problem will be adequately solved.
Besides, Ugwuanyi and government officials experience the same challenge being residents of Enugu metropolis. They need water like every other Enugu resident. They don’t drink, bath, wash or cook with oil. They do it with water and need water always. Water is an essential need of a man at all time.
Ezea, writes from Independence Layout, Enugu