Opinion: The Unending Problem Of Water Scarcity In Enugu State – By SUNDAY EZE
There is no gain saying the fact that the global import of water cannot be over emphasied. The high premium God even placed on water was captured on the account of creation in Genesis 1:6-10. It was God’s second manifestation of his power and glory after light came into being. In fact, there was water already before the Almighty’s pronouncements gave life and effect to substances. “And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he seas: and God saw that it was good”. Furthermore, the United Nations Water (UN-Water) is also an interagency mechanism that coordinates the efforts of United Nations entities and international organisations working on water and sanitation issues. Water takes position number six in the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The UN General Assembly designates 22 March as World Water Day. Suffice it to restate the popular aphorism that water is life.
However, this essential friend in every home, offices and markets is in short supply in Enugu State. The worse case scenarios are witnessed during dry seasons. Every dry season, mostly poor residents of coal-city metro must find themselves in this annual phenomenal tragedy. For those in rural areas; water scarcity has become a way of life. They must be seen wandering from one point of water source to the other in search of the scare commodity. Recently, the perennial water scarcity in Enugu barred its fangs. The scarcity was terribly asphyxiating. From Obiagu to Abakpa Nike; Uwani to Garki; Emene to New Haven; Nsukka to Agwu, the tales are the same. No water! Ndi Enugu were seen desperately clustered at every available source of water supply for hours and days waiting for this friend. Those who are mobile but reside in the city centre go as far as Ninth Mile Corner to access water. Others trek for miles in search of same. People could not take bath for days. It affected schools, markets and government businesses. Domestic chores were stalled while drinking water was rationed in homes. Bottled and sachets water for those who can afford were used in preparing daily meals. Shylock water dispensing tanker owners took and have taken advantage of the ugly situation to sell at cut-throat rates while government business continued as usual. A 500 liter tank sell at Five Thousand Naira and it barely last for one week. This invariably means that for one month, families opportuned to own tanks have to cough out Twenty Thousand Naira or more monthly on water apart from other pressing needs. Provision of basic amenities to better the lives of the people are promises and responsibilities of government. However, these promises are mostly fulfilled in breach afterwards. Bearing this in mind, people have resorted to self-help and community actions by digging wells and boreholes which lacks water during dry seasons. Reprieve comes the way of the people during rainy seasons but during dry season, the old wound resurfaces. The scarcity was only given prominence by online media platforms but deliberately underreported and completely ignored by the mainstream media. The unending problem of water scarcity in Enugu State is one issue of grave concern. But the challenge seems to have defiled the mettle of those in government.
In fact, for too long , one has had cause to endure the patterned sycophancy going on in the governance of Enugu State. From the administration of former governors Chimaroke Nnamani to the government of taciturn Sullivan Chime and now Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the game of deceit is the same. Blatant lies and sycophancy reigns supreme. A courtorie of appointees and subservient public have bent backwards for the whims and caprices of the ruling class simply for a plate of porridge. To God be the glory; Enugu is working; Enugu is in the hand of God had and has been the mantra. The effect of these slogan only find their presence in media spaces. One is at loss how the state could be in the hands of God while the government cannot provide mere portable pipe borne water. Obviously God is not even aware that the state was placed in his hands. God is not a man neither is he a politician that he should be used to validate falsehood. A state that cannot provide clean, portable and accessible water for its people should refrain from involving God in its failures. God cannot put his people in the hands of an incompetent or clueless people who for years cannot provide something as simple as water supply.
It is normal for agencies of government and paid content developers to jump to the defence of government. But let me assist them. One reason they will probably adduce was that the quantum of coal deposite in Enugu was a natural barrier to providing water to citizens. The state of Israel is a desert land with a difficult topography and antagonistic neighbours too but with excellent leadership and determination, a desert nation was turned into an agricultural hub. The small nation became global food supplier; expert in agro-technology. Providing the state with constant water supply is not rocket science. Determination and purpose were the things lacking. One continues to hear about the rehabilitation of Oji-River and Ajali water works without commiserate result. What is the position of the World Bank Assisted Water Project started by former governor Sullivan Chime?
As the permutation for the 2023 governorship election in the state begins to garner momentum with politicians arguing and angling which zone should produce the governor, Ndi Enugu should place water as a political card for electing any candidate. People make parties and not the other way round. There is no difference between All Progressive Cobgress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It is quite understandable that party affiliation has failed in delivering dividends of democracy in Enugu since 1999. We only have selfish politicians whose interest lie in their quest for political hegemony. That was why two former governors of Enugu once upon a time abandoned the platform upon which they stood on in governing the state for reasons best known to them. Come 2023, issue based politics in addition to men and women of character and good intentions should be voted for. The next governor of Enugu State should be that man who has a well defined blueprint for tacking the problem of water supply in the state. As it is popularly said, water is life! Ndi Enugu, make una shine your eyes!