#NigeriaDecides2019: Youngest Candidate for Kano State House of Assembly Pledges to Prioritize Water Programmes, Projects and Policies

Ani Nwachukwu Agwu February 16, 2019 3

High-Level courtesy Call to Comrade Adnan Mukhtar Tudunwada in his campaign office in Kano State, Nigeria

Over the last few years, especially since the launch of Universal Basic Education Act (UBEA 2004), a number of old and dilapidated schools have been rehabilitated and new ones constructed. However, 50% of schools in Nigeria do not have any water facility and 52% lack access to toilet facilities (WHO/UNICEF 2018). Without doubts, poor learning environment is one of the factors driving out of school syndrome.

For the girl child, inability to access basic services like water and sanitation has deterred some to maintain school attendance. For those young girls enrolled, they turn to open defecation in nearby bushes when nature calls. When open defecation is the norm, school children, especially girls, incur risk and vulnerability to physical and sexual attacks on their way to isolated bushes and pathways. At other times, girls spend quality time looking for and fetching water for household consumption thereby loosing productive time that would have been spent in schools learning.

Despite political commitments to reverse these discrepancies and combat Nigeria’s overwhelming out-of-school syndrome, investments in education is still low compared to other Sub-Saharan countries. In Kano State, government is struggling to contain her over 3 million children who are currently not enrolled in any form of formal education.

Children under the age of 15 account for about 45% of the total population in Nigeria. For national development, it is important to ensure that these groups of children are provided with quality education.

It is against this background that Comrade Adnan Mukhtar Tudunwada accepted the challenge to represent his constituents, Nasarawa Constituency, in Kano State House of Assembly. Being the youngest person running for a political position in the State, Comrade Tudunwada has vowed to concern himself with quality representation upon electoral victory.

Comrade Adnan Mukhtar Tudunwada publicly commits to prioritize WASH in Nasarawa Constituency, Kano State

Accordingly, on February 08, 2019; during a High-Level Courtesy Call by Connected Development on the need to prioritize access to water, sanitation and hygiene in line with Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 6 in particular; Comrade Tudunwada restated his commitment to quality representation and signed a pledge card that will have him prioritize or support water programmes, projects and policies in the parliament through his motions, votes and bills. The pledge card is a tool for accountability and civic engagement when Tudunwada finds his way to Kano State House of Assembly.

In the last quarter of 2018, WaterAid Nigeria in partnership with Connected Development launched a national campaign – #Vote4WASH, calling on the political class to increase budgetary allocation and releases to rural and urban water schemes. This is in realization that poor access to potable water and poor sanitation keep people in poverty. No country in the world has ever achieved modernity without good water, sanitation and hygiene. #Vote4WASH enjoins citizens to vote for candidates who publicly pledge to prioritize water programmes, projects and interventions in their states or constituencies.

Poverty Elimination: Five Presidential Candidates Commit to Revitalize Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector

Ani Nwachukwu Agwu February 16, 2019 1

Babatunde Ademola (Nigeria Community Movement Party), Mr. Emmanuel Ishie Etim (Change Nigeria Party) signing to revitalize WASH sector in Abuja

About 25% of Nigerians defecate openly, placing Nigeria No. 2 in the global rating on open defecation. According to Federal Ministry of Water Resources in Nigeria, access to improved sanitation has decreased from 38% in 1990 to 29% in 2015. In the rural areas, 46% of all water schemes are non-functional and the statistics is similar in the urban areas. 

More disturbing is the fact that annually, about 60,000 Nigerian children, under the age of five, die of WASH-related diseases. This connotes a full-blown crisis situation and implies that water supply has deteriorated and degenerated in successive governments or administrations.

Launched in November 2018, #Vote4WASH is a national campaign rooted in Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals which calls for transformative budgetary provisions, funding and investment in WASH-related projects in schools and communities.  #Vote4WASH wants water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to dominate 2019 election campaigns and political conversations especially at sub-national levels of government.

Ahmed Buhari of Sustainable National Party signs and adopts  #Vote$WASH in Abuja

However, since Nigerian government had declared a “State of Emergency on Nigeria’s Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector,’’ it is therefore a national concern for all stakeholders. With the National Action Plan for Revitalization of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene; all stakeholders are called to action.

On this basis, our team reached out to five presidential candidates under the historic #ReadyToRun platform. The movement had organized a town hall meeting at Channels TV, Abuja on February 10, 2019, for engagement and in-depth interaction with electorates. After due diligence and engagement, we secured overwhelming support from the five candidates as they signed up to the accountability tool (Pledge Cards) – publicly declaring to support and prioritize water programmes, projects and interventions if elected into office.

The five presidential candidates include: Mr. Chike Ukagbu (Advanced Allied Party), Mr. Babatunde Ademola (Nigeria Community Movement Party), Mr. Emmanuel Ishie Etim (Change Nigeria Party) Mrs Eunice Atuejide of (National Interest Party) and Ahmed Buhari of (Sustainable National Party).

Mr. Chike Ukagbu (Advanced Allied Party) commits to #Vote4WASH in Abuja

Water is life and lack of it means death. Access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are crucial for good outcomes in health, nutrition, education and livelihood standards. When water and sanitation facilities are available and accessible to citizens, they act as primary barriers against disease transmission. Personal hygiene, particularly hand washing with soap and running water, has been identified as the most cost-effective disease control mechanism.

Nevertheless, Nigeria parades embarrassing statistics as highlighted above in relation to WASH. The implication of signing up to #Vote4WASH Pledge Cards is acceptance to be held accountable in terms of support and investment towards universal access to safe water and improved sanitation in our communities (urban and rural) in line with the SDGs, National Open Defecation Free Roadmap (ODF), Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) and a State of Emergency in Nigeria’s WASH Sector.

In addition, signatories to the Pledge Cards mean support and investment to ensure that all public institutions especially schools, health centres, markets and parks have inclusive WASH facilities and/or services. And because poor sanitation keeps people in poverty, WASH would form components of poverty alleviation schemes and social welfare programmes.

We are reaching out to electoral stakeholders – political parties and their candidates for Gubernatorial, National Assembly and House of Assembly positions; community-based organisations; civil societies; and electorates, to recognize; influence and demand for remarkable budgetary attention and funding for WASH in the grassroots.

Mrs Eunice Atuejide (National Interest Party) pledges for #Vote4WASH in Abuja

Citizens are enjoined to vote for candidates who have to upgrade and prioritize WASH sector. With evidences, we ascertain that increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) aids economic development, poverty reduction, education, good health and general well-being.

[Project Overview] Taking #Vote4Wash to the Grassroots [CODE+WaterAid]

Ani Nwachukwu Agwu January 25, 2019 1

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene; health and education; reduce inequality; and spur economic growth, among other transformations. In the 17 set of goals, people are central and foundational. There are people around the world who are still in need of the most basic necessities of life – everything from clean water to food, and healthy lives and well-being.

More than any other goal, Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation, is one of the most interconnected goals. Undoubtedly, increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) aids economic development, poverty reduction, education (particularly for girls), health and many more. As we speak, it is estimated that 60 million Nigerians live without clean water, 120 million lack access to decent toilet facilities and 46 million practice open defecation.

More disturbing is the fact that annually, about 60,000 Nigerian children, under the age of five, die of WASH-related diseases. This implies that with 12 years left to the attainment of Vision 2030, Nigeria will find it difficult to achieve #SDGs Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all, if nothing is done urgently.

Rising to the challenge, WaterAid in partnership with Connected Development (CODE) are prepared to challenge the status quo especially at the grassroots in Nigeria. Launched in November 2018, #VoteWASH seeks to mainstream WASH in 2019 electioneering campaigns and political conversations at sub-national levels of government where grassroots populations reside.

Through #Vote4WASH, we are reaching out to electoral stakeholders – political parties and their candidates for Gubernatorial, Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly positions; community-based organisations; civil societies; and electorates, to recognize; influence and demand for remarkable budgetary attention and funding for WASH in the grassroots. This is can be achieved by conscientizing electorates to cast their votes only on candidates/political parties who sign up unto Pledge Cards and publicly commit to prioritize programmes, projects and interventions that are pro-WASH (SDGs Goal 6).

On implementation, the sequence of activities include:

  1. Pre campaign press conference: Here we would strive to secure buy-in of the media on robust reportage on campaign activities through the life span of the campaign.
  2. Mapping of communities affected by severe WASH crisis and preliminary visits: Across the geopolitical zones, selected communities with severe water-related crisis would be mapped and visited for human angle stories and perfection of community penetration processes.
  3. Community Outreach: At this stage, we would conduct in-depth interviews with families who are victims of WASH crisis and sensitize/empower community stakeholders on #Vote4WASH. The communities would be armed with accountability tools with which to engage elected officials and track campaign promises post-election wise.
  4. High-Level Courtesy Calls: We would map key House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senatorial and Gubernatorial candidates of leading political parties in Edo, Lagos and Kano states and through strategic engagement, we would have them sign  pledge cards – committing to transformative budgetary appropriations and funding for WASH in rural communities upon assumption of offices.
  5. Media Engagements – Social Media, offline and online: We would deploy routine and targeted radio programmes, newspaper publications and other applicable media, to drive engagement and conversations among stakeholders in the selected states.
  6. Report writing: Among other elements of the campaign, a comprehensive report would be authored on implementation and published for public consumption and it would assume the status of a tool for accountability.

Achieving the SDGs is non-negotiable.  Goal 6: Ensuring access to WASH for all is a universal, integrated, and human rights based agenda for the prosperity for people and future of our planet. In your community, support #Vote4WASH to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and deprivations occasioned by WASH-related crisis.

Challenges in The Nigerian Water Sector – If the Problem is not Lack of Comprehensive Regimes, then what is it?

Chambers Umezulike June 2, 2017 4

Photo Credit: Water Aid

Water is life and sufficient water supply is central to life and civilization. Water is part of the five basic human needs and plays a key role in the other four. Nigeria is abundantly blessed with water resources. However, as at 2015, only 69% of Nigerians have access to improved water supply with 57% of them being of rural population. During the oil boom days of the 1970s and early 1980s, the country invested hugely in water resources development, primarily in the construction of multipurpose dams which were meant to control flood, provision of water for domestic and industrial uses, the environment, hydro-power generation, control of riparian rights releases and for fishing, inland waterways, livestock and irrigated agriculture amongst others.

The responsibility of water supply in Nigeria is shared between three tiers of government – federal, state and local. While the federal government is in charge of water resources management and state governments have the primary responsibility for urban water supply through state water agencies; local governments together with communities are responsible for rural water supply. To improve manpower supply for the water resources sector, the National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna was established in 1979, running certificate, remedial and National Diploma and Higher National Diploma and professional post graduate courses in water resources. Preceding this was the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMoWR) in 1976 with the mandate of developing and implementing programs, policies and projects that will lubricate sustainable access to safe and adequate water to meet the cultural, economic development, environmental and social needs of all Nigerians. The FMoWR has 12 River Basin Development Authorities under the Ministry, responsible for developing and planning irrigation work, water resources, and the collection of hydrological, hydro-geological data.

The National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy was approved in 2000, encouraging private-sector participation and provides for institutional and policy reforms at the state level. However, little has happened in both respects. As at 2007, only four of the 36 states and the FCT (Cross River, Kaduna, Lagos and Ogun States) have introduced public-private partnerships in the form of service contracts. While the federal government has a decentralization policy in this regard, little decentralization has happened. In addition, the policy also lays emphasis on rural water and sanitation through community participation. It targeted to increase water coverage from 43% to 80% by 2010 and 100% by 2015. This was not met. In addition, the capacity of local governments to plan and carry out investments, or to operate and maintain systems with respect to rural water management has remained low despite efforts at capacity development. As a result, the FMoWR and the river basin development authorities have been directly carrying off water facilities provision such as boreholes in rural communities.

In 2003, a Presidential Water Initiative: Water for People, Water for Life, was launched by then President Olusegun Obasanjo. The initiative had ambitious targets to increase water access (including a 100 percent target in state capitals), 75% access in other urban areas, and 66% access in rural areas. However, little has been done to implement the initiative and targets have not been met. The National Water and Sanitation Policy was also launched in 2004 with emphasis on water management and conservation. Nigeria was also not able to reach the Millennium Development Goal for water and sanitation. In June 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari approved a Water Resources Roadmap (2016 – 2030) with the goal of reaching 100% water supply to Nigerian citizens by 2030. The roadmap encompasses several priorities including: the establishment of a policy and regulatory framework for the sector; development and implementation of a National Water Supply and Sanitation Programme to attain the Sustainable Development Goals 6; identifying alternative sources for funding the delivery of water supply and sanitation through improved collaboration with development partners, states and local government authorities, communities and the private sector [Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (PEWASH)] etc. It’s hoped that this does not go down history as one of the country’s numerous policies in the sector that was not thoroughly implemented.

There have been enormous contributions of several external partners with respect to water supply in Nigeria, rural water provision especially, and the Nigerian government welcomes such contributions. These partners include the African Development Bank (ADB), the EU, JICA, UNICEF, USAID, WaterAid, Action Against Hunger and the World Bank. The ADB and the World Bank provide loans to the federal government; the EU, JICA and USAID provide grants to the government; the UNICEF and WaterAid receive donations from the public and grants from governments to implement their projects in cooperation with, but not through the government. Even many domestic NGOs all have programs on the provision of rural water supply to counter the water crisis in many of such communities.This is through direct project implementation and advocacy. This is where Connected Development comes in, using its Follow The Money program to track governmental expenditure on rural water provision in rural communities to facilitate service delivery and provision of clean water. The program also advocates for governmental intervention to address the aquatic needs of most of these communities.

At this time, what is key is the provision of financial resources from all concerned parties to finance the Water Supply Section of the PEWASH Phase I (2016 – 2020) of the FMoWR’s which is at the estimate of NGN 108 billion. There are also key challenges with respect to the management of water facilities around the country. In many rural communities, water boreholes are abandoned and cannot be maintained over the lack of a preceding regime for the funding and maintenance of such water facilities. This has continued for sometime and has to be checked. Thus, it is imperative that the government encourages user participation in the management of water facilities especially at the rural level with realistic water tariff structures. In addition, there is a need for proper coordination between the different levels of government and the public. Ultimately, a recurring challenge is the unavailability of adequate and reliable data upon which planning, analysis, and water management can be based. Data on characteristic patterns in hydrological and meteorological changes over time need to be monitored with utmost sense of duty. This is exceedingly important for efficient planning and service delivery.  

Chambers Umezulike is a Programme Manager at Connected Development and a Development Expert. He spends most of his time writing and choreographing researches on good and economic governance. He tweets via @Prof_Umezulike.