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By George Daniya

Water is life. It is an important component for the existence of mankind. In terms of importance, it comes next after air, No wonder, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State is determined to provide water to the people of the state, and has declared emergency in the water sector. You can see his commitment; it is self-evident. Since he came to office May 29, 2015, he has been touring water facilities all over the state. Yes, he may have been inspecting a mix of abandoned projects, trying to understand the reason for their mortality, but in no other sector has he visited more projects than in the water sub-sector. He wants water, water everywhere in Niger State. 

After his inauguration, the governor’s first port of call was the Minna Water Works in Chanchaga. He took his time to receive explanations on problems that hinder full scale water supply in Minna and, indeed, all over the state. One man who is happy at the moment is the General Manager of Niger State Water Board, Engr. Hassan Mohammed Chado. The governor’s  tour of water facilities makes him extremely happy. You can see him grinning from ear to ear; who would not be, when the CEO of the state wants to empower you to deliver on your statutory functions. I am sure, since he has been with the water board for a long time, he must have seen the frustrations of some his bosses who have had to work without tools, bosses who were asked to achieve goals with nothing other than gubernatorial lip service.

 Few weeks ago, Governor Bello embarked on yet another visit of water works in Bida. And you could feel the sadness in Engr Chado’s voice as he tried to explain the history and problems of that facility. How could a dam that was supposed to serve Bida community and environs be so cruelly starved in the past three years. For three solid years, the water works did not function. Some of the iron pipes there were rusting away. 

Earlier, as the governor was heading to the Bida Dam, he met with the Etsu Nupe, Alh. Yahaya Abubakar, along GRA Road. Without doubt, the governor is humble and amiable. He stopped, came out his car, and exchanged pleasantries with the emir, who is the chairman of the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers. In spite of having met the etsu Nupe at GRA Road, the governor still spared time to formally visit the Wadata Palace, Bida, to pay the emir a visit. There he showed his enormous respect,  both for him and the traditional institution. During the courtesy visit, the governor expressed his displeasure over the abandoned dualization of road contract in Bida. The contract for the construction of the 1.8 km Government College Road Bida road project was awarded to Enerco Nigeria Ltd at the cost of N1.7b, but with only N300m left to be paid to the construction firm (out which N150m is for compensation), only 2 km had been constructed. The governor was not happy at the state of affairs, stressing that the company had no justification to abandon the remaining 1.8km. 

After inspecting the erosion site at Landzu River, the governor went straight to Agaie, where he had discussion with HRH Alh. Yusuf Nuhu in his palace.  From there he proceeded to inspect water storage plant and other facilities in the town. Lapai was his next destination. He also paid a courtesy visit to HRH Alh Umar Bago III. 

Everywhere Gov Bello went, he was mobbed by children, who were never tired chanting, “Sai Lolo,” his campaign catchphrase. At Rafin Yashi, in Bosso LGA, one of the children, who ran out to welcome the governor, a girl, said “in ba kaiba, sai rijiya,” meaning, “Without you, we can not live”. The governor asked the girl to come close to him and he asked her of their needs. Her reply: water. She said that they trek long distances to fetch water. He promised her that soon they will be provided with a borehole. 

At Kuta, headquarters of Shiroro Local Government Council, you couldn’t believe the wild jubilation that they erupted when the governor hit town. Children surrounded him, and he struck friendship with them, lifting them into his arms. Here he really got personal with the kids, chatting them up.The governor was in in Kuta to commiserate with the community over the rainstorm that destroyed over 200 houses and injured 15 persons, according to Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) official. After he  had visited the the district head of Kuta, Malam Garba Bangajiya and comforted with the entire community, through him, the governor did his best to inspect  a good number of  houses ravaged by the storm. During the inspection tour, an old man insisted that the governor follow him to see a building destroyed by the violent element. The governor did, but it was not even the man’s humble abode, but a church. The ECWA Church was completely ripped apart. The emotion of the governor was obvious, and he promised to look into the problem and provide the community with succour.

Before leaving Kuta, the governor entered Kuta General Hospital, built in 1973. To be candid, he was sad as Dr. Eze Gerald took him round the hospital. Even the theatre room was in a pathetic state. He promised to make quick intervention for them in the areas of beddings, expansion of some wards, and ordered for immediate repairs of the doctors quarters. 

LAST WORD:

Before we left the general hospital, my colleague, Tanko Adamu, of the Federal Information Center, asked me to follow him to the delivery room. When we arrived there, he told the nurse that he had brought me for delivery. The nurse ran out laughing. It was then that I looked at my belly. Hmmmm! I am beginning to develop a pot belly; it is time I check my diet. TK, as we popularly call him, made me a laughing stock. And my colleagues, in the press crew, got a hefty laugh out of me.

TAURARUWA