Governor Bala’s campaign promise to provide potable water in Bauchi gets reminder from WaterAid

In the build up to 2019 elections, the current Bauchi state governor, then candidate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, Bala Mohammed, spared no word in his quest to providing the good citizens of the state with potable, accessible and available water for both industrial and domestic usage. 

It is against this background that governor Bala while contesting for the governorship position signed a document prepared by WaterAid Nigeria, promising to provide the people of the state with good and available drinking water, if he eventually emerged victorious.

According to WaterAid Nigeria, in Bauchi State, 35 candidates signed the document promising to ensure that water, sanitation and hygiene is made available to the people if they are elected into public office, 14 won the election, top among them is the present Governor, Bala Mohammed.

The campaign by WaterAid Nigeria for the provision of potable water to Nigerians came at a time when the people of Bauchi state were battling with acute shortage of the essential commodity. 

WaterAid which said its media campaign reached over 5 million people across the states, through traditional and social media added that it helped position Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as a key campaign issue during the 2019 general elections.

The Non Governmental Organization disclosed that politicians in several states made public commitments to tackle the WASH crisis in Nigeria.

It maintained that, beyond WASH, the campaign contributed to efforts by well-meaning Nigerians to make a shift towards issue based campaign in Nigeria’s general elections as witnessed in 2019.

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Experts say clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children.

Recently, at a launch of “Keep your Promises Campaign” in Bauchi State, Acting Director of Programmes, WaterAid Nigeria‎ Mr. Ukeme Essien, commended the effort of the government and all stakeholders in addressing the challenges of water, sanitation and hygiene in Bauchi State.

Essien said, “according to the 2018 WASH NORM-NBS, in Bauchi State, 76.8 percent have access to water, 77.8 percent have improved sanitation and 15.6 percent have good hygiene.”

In spite of that, Essien maintained that it still leaves a gap of 45.4 percent of people that do not have access to water and sanitation while 5.5 million lack good hygiene.

“This also affects schools and health care centres. In 2018, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA) reported 9,725 cholera cases as a result of lack of basic access to WASH.” The Acting Director of WaterAid Nigeria, Mr Ukeme Essien had said during the event. 

 According to him, the rate, if not properly taken care of would impede on the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 targets on water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030.

Mr. Essien said WaterAid Nigeria and its partners, have as part of  efforts, implemented a citizens’ engagement project called the ‘vote4WASH’ campaign that focused on leveraging the 2019 general elections to educate and empower citizens to effectively demand for the actualisation of their rights to water and sanitation from duty bearers.

“The campaign was a success with 35 signed pledge cards from electoral aspirants, including, and am very pleased to say, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State. It is however, important to build on these commitments till they are actualised.” The WaterAid official noted.

According to him, sustainable development was impossible without responsive governance and institutions that can hold public office holders accountable to deliver on their roles and responsibilities. 

He said that the ‘Keep Your Promises’ campaign, which is the second phase of our electoral advocacy, was aimed at empowering citizens in Bauchi State and the media to use various accountability platforms to engage elected officials to keep their promise and commitments to providing improved WASH services throughout Bauchi State.

He called on all elected public officials to work towards changing the narrative on water and sanitation services in Nigeria by ensuring increased investment in the WASH sector in order to cater for the needs of the people.

“We also call on the media and Civil Society Organizations to support this process by continuing to advocate for improved WASH access and promote citizens’ engagement to deliver on sustainable WASH services”, he added.  

According to WaterAid, “as people, while it’s important to hold our government accountable and demand for right to improved water, sanitation and hygiene, it is equally important to ensure obligations like tariff payments are made and facilities provided are treated with diligence.”

To work the talk, Governor Bala Mohammed in the month of July this year, awarded a multi billion naira water project to bring to an end, water scarcity in the state and improved sanitation and hygiene as championed by WaterAid. 

Speaking at a flag off ceremony of water project ‎in the state, the Governor said that US $378,000 has been released to the Bauchi State Urban Water and Sewerage Corporation as part of efforts to find lasting solution to the shortage of water supply in the state.

“My administration has taken measures to find lasting solution to the challenges facing water supply as efforts are ongoing to ensure improvement in the sector before 100 days of my government,” the Governor had assured. 

Governor Bala who said that the project include; rehabilitation of a dam (GubiDam), water treatment plants, reservoirs, laying of pipelines and installation of meters, amongst others, added that it is designed to provide reasonable, access to water services to all, and is expected to be completed by 2021.

He added that the dam was constructed in 1980 to provide one million gallons of water, but was later upgraded in1994 to provide 10 million gallons because of the increase in population.

“The dam needed to be upgraded to provide 75 million gallons of water, following the influx of people from neighbouring states which had over-stretched the existing facilities,” said

Governor Bala. 

Speaking during the occasion, Governor Bala Mohammed said ‎it was in line with his campaign promises that he recently signed a multi billion naira water supply project, a contract for the improvement of water supply in Bauchi State.

The speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Abubakar Sulaiman who represented the Governor added that with that move, Governor Bala has practically demonstrated that he was committed towards fulfilment of the promises he took for the people of Bauchi state and the WaterAid.


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