Opinion: Salami Ozigi Deedat and Lack of Water in Ebira Land

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Governor Yahaya Bello once said and I quote: “…Hold Salami Ozigi Deedat responsible for lack of water in Ebira Land…”

Right from our childhood days in Ebira land, we used to hear our mothers say they pray we their children should not experience the stress they passed through to get water for cooking, washing, bathing, drinking and other domestic use. We do ask our mothers what the cause of this problem of water is Ebira land and they will tell us that, it is because an Ebira man has not been opportune to govern the state. Today, our blood brother is now the Governor of the state and we are still having the problem of water scarcity in Ebira land, as is obtainable across the state.

His Excellency Governor Yahaya Bello made a very great mistake in making Salami Ozigi Deedat the Commissioner for water resources in the new direction government.

During one of his visits to His Royal Highness, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim in his first year in office, Governor Yahaya Bello said; “If at the end of my four years in office as the governor of Kogi state and Ebira people are still suffering of water, then Salami Ozigi Deedat should be held responsible for it”.

With Governor Bello’s statement, we thought he truly knew that Salami Ozigi Deedat is the solution to the problem of water in Ebira land that is why he appointed him as the Commissioner for water resources.

It is very unfortunate that Salami Deedat lack the knowledge of his responsibilities as a Commissioner for water resources.

I want to tell Deedat today about all the responsibilities he fails to keep to because, maybe, he was not taught what is his responsibilities are as the commissioner for water resources.

As Water Resources Commissioner, the following are what is expected of you, according to Water Resources Act:

To formulate water resource policies and monitor the implementation of such policies in the state.

To source, analyse, store and disseminate information on the water resource data in the state.

To establish, monitor and oversee water parastatals of the ministry – the Kogi State Water Board and the Rural Water and Sanitation Agency.

To initiate and implement water supply projects in all areas of the state.

To liaise with the federal government and international donor agencies on water supply and development for the benefit of the state.

To set standards, regulate, supervise and control the use of all water resources in the state.

Implementing and provision of water legislation/ by-laws.

Collection and evaluation of hydrological and sociological data.

Control of water pollution and hygiene. Treatment of waste water.

Those are what is expected from you as commissioner for water resources but what Deedat could do is to sink N150,000 bore hole in some areas. Truth is that sinking of bore holes is not the best option to solve water problem in Ebira land or Kogi state at large. Even those bore hole he dug, none is producing water again.

Nigeria is so rich in water resources that many of its 36 states are named after rivers. In addition to surface water found in nearly every part of the country, there is also plenty stored in the ground. The country has 215 cubic kilometres a year of available surface water.

Kogi state is also bless with water. In Ebira land we have Osara Dam, Ekuku Dam, Water works. Osara Dam in Kogi State, north central Nigeria, it is said to be the largest source of water in the state with the Ekuku Dam as the second largest, but what are the government efforts to see that the necessary things are done to ensure that Ebira land has water supply? Can’t we invest in those dams?

Salami Ozigi Deedat could not do something reasonable, all he could do was to dig a bore hole inside Okene water works. What a shame, digging a bore hole inside water works and connect the water to federal road for people to see GYB Water as if the bore hole can even produce enough water. As I am talking to you now, those bore hole are not supplying water for public use. When he was passing the pipe to cross federal road he dug the federal road and passed his pipe but up till this moment he has not repaired the road. 

The problem we are having in this government now is that there is no effective project monitoring team set by the government to monitor all the projects in each ministry. If not, Salami Deedat should have been called upon to come and give an account for all the money to revive those dams. Or, is it that Governor Yahaya Bello is satisfied with Deedat’s service when his was the Commissioner for water resources? I don’t understand. And again, His Excellency went ahead to appoint a man who could not manage water to come and manage the office of Commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affair.

What is so special about Salami Ozigi Deedat by making him to handle such a sensitive office as local government and chieftaincy affairs? The man who lost his polling unit to SDP in the last governorship election in Kogi state? If he had good impact in his community why will his people refuse to vote Deedat’s wish.

I want to plead with Ohinoyi and Governor Bello to please save Anebira and Kogi state at large from this problem of water scarcity, most especially in Ebira land. I want to also appeal to the new Commissioner for water resources, Hon. Abdulmumin Danga to please put smiles on the faces of Anebira by ensuring adequate and regular water supply.

Whenever we wake up by 5am in the morning to pray, we do see our poor mothers already in the queue at the front of the house of some God fearing people who made borehole water available for community use. Some of these women are only struggling to get one bucket of water to cook. The kids are not taking their proper bath again before going to school as a result of water scarcity. Some homes can not eat properly as a result of this and as we all know, water is life.

Even the reservoir situated at Esomi check point at Onyukoko Ward in Okene that used to serve the people in the community is now inadequate as a result of lack of maintenance.

If we don’t take urgent step to curb the problem of water scarcity in Ebira land now that our son is the Governor, when are we going to do it again?

At this point, I believe I am talking to a wise men. May God guide our leaders right to serve us well.

– Abdulmumeen Ahmed

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