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Nigeria needs fresh ideas, urgent restructuring to survive, says Obaseki

12 Nov 2023

L-R: Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Engr. Joseph Terlumun Utsev; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq.; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha, and Edo State Commissioner for Water Resources, Asi Suraja Jibril, during a courtesy visit by the Minister, at the Government House, in Benin City.

…Minister seeks collaboration for effective service delivery

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said Nigeria is at a crossroads, reiterating the need for innovative solutions, fresh ideas, and renewed energies to redefine the narrative and steer the nation on the path of sustained growth and development.

The governor said this when he received the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Engr. Joseph Terlumun Utsev, who was on a courtesy visit at the Government House, in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

Obaseki said, “We are at a crossroads in Nigeria and we continue as if things are working well. Forty years ago, when the agenda was set, when the strategy was designed to feed the Country, using our water bodies, with the River Basin Development Authority, it was a different demographics, environment and society.

“Forty years later, you will agree with me that things have changed dramatically and we need a radical rethink on how we approach issues, particularly as regards water sufficiency for our development. We must collaborate in whatever we do with the Federal Government.”

He continued: “40 to 50 years ago, we had a lot more resources and we could build the dam and other assets. So, today there is a need to optimise and collaborate and also redefine roles. The Federal Government has a lot of capacities in terms of policy design and also in terms of capacity. The Federal Government should be teaching us, States and local governments, what to do and not doing it themselves as they should give us the knowledge, expertise and directions.

“Federal Government should not tell us what we should do in Edo State in terms of sourcing for water instead of training us and directing us on how to get our water bodies ourselves and integrate the same into our plans ourselves.

“The federal and States’ collaboration is very important and we need a rethink. We seek avenues for better collaboration. Government should align and work together for better growth and development as this is the problem we are facing in the nation. 

“The government should connect to make things work better. We want to have a situation where you will design dams for us, in the design of these dams, you have to take note of your own internal design of our water strategy, looking at the concentration of our population.”

Obaseki further noted, “We will work with you to design our sustainable water projects and programmes. We are having challenges because we did quite a number of works with the Federal Government several years ago where we decided to look at water from two perspectives which are rural and urban usage.

“This includes our rural water supply through a robust governance arrangement for the sustenance of those projects and we are doing a review of those projects. We are facing challenges but if we have someone like you with the experience, we would have overcome some of these challenges.”

He added, “We need support in the area of urban water supply as we have areas in the State where we have a large deficiency of water supply and our focus is to get them water. Water is an economic and social good and there is a need to pay for it. We are testing this with the Ugboha Water Scheme.”

Earlier, the Minister commended the governor for his government’s commitment to the welfare of the citizens of Edo State through various projects that have been undertaken over the past seven years.

The Minister said that the purpose of his visit to the State is to undertake on-the-spot assessment of projects and programmes that the Ministry is undertaking through the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority, adding, “I am seeking strong collaboration and partnership between my Ministry and Edo State in areas of irrigation, water supply and dams.”

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