By Abiodun Komolafe
Most assuredly, human societies and civilizations are adjudged developed, or otherwise, based on the attainment level of the visions of the founding people. It is all about leadership and vision. Societies merely mirror the vision of the founding fathers. Matter of fact, since you cannot give what you don’t have, societies remain the exact replica or equivalence of the vision that gave birth to them. Therefore, for a people to readily resolve to blame the founding fathers’ vision, or the lack thereof, for all the nation’s predicaments, is to deliberately indulge in pointless self-pity, and wallow in irredeemable fatalism.
That said, we need to note that development is a concept rooted in the philosophy of ideas, visions of the intellectual and visionary thinkers. It suggests a leap into the unknown, or an attempt to tread the uncharted path, to wit; extend the frontiers of knowledge, and embrace, or dare the unintended consequences. Humanity, on the other hand, is endowed with the incredible ability to re-invent, overhaul, or create a new beginning. As change is dynamic, so also is human ability to adapt and move on, which suggests that humans are supposed to domesticate their existential environment all the time.
History all over the world is full of stories about the existential relevance of water to humanity. From its critical role in agricultural production and food security, to its importance in manufacturing, health and sanitation, this ‘effective coolant’ is so essential for all “life on, in, and above the earth” that it constitutes up to 90% of some organisms’ mass body weight. So important is water to everyday life that it is recommended that a man should take about 15.5 cups of water (125 ounces) each day while a woman should drink about 11.5 cups (91 ounces) daily. Studies have also shown that a man “can’t survive more than 8 to 21 days without food and water” while people on “their deathbed who are using very little energy may live only a few days or a few weeks without food and water.”
As the saying goes, water really does not have enemy! A cursory look at our immediate environment shows that man can barely exist without water. In the same vein, industrial complexes, which are considered signs of economic and social development, will always remain a castle in the air without regular and adequate supply of potable water. Impliedly, _“without water, there wouldn’t be life on earth.”_ This explains perhaps, more succinctly, the driving force behind the new move in Osun State, which is a different look at the concept of development and the preferred choice of service delivery strategy of water management. The new understanding in Osun is to view ‘development’ in the context of water supply, from the precinct of extant infrastructure, and its sustainability, with a grasp knowledge of the demographics of whom are the beneficiaries, dovetailing into new strategy and policy-priority outlay.
Aware of the important roles of water to everyday life, one is not surprised that the Gboyega Oyetola-led government has prioritized the water resources and energy sector. To avoid the backlashes of the negative effects of the lack of potable water, which may result in water-borne diseases, and may as well cripple other socio-economic activities in the society, the governor wisely decided to invest heavily in water resources development, which is also a key and remarkable means of development. Today in Osun, the incidences of decay and neglect of water infrastructure is no longer possible, and endless repeat of laying of foundations of the same water works or projects has become outdated. In other words, the water infrastructure management model in Osun is now a functional systemic outlay, which is self-sustaining.
From the look of things, the water architecture of the _‘State of the Virtuous’_ has not only been reinvigorated and reengineered to help stimulate growth, especially, in the rural areas, every nook and cranny of Osun has also been touched by the infrastructure of water to enhance the living standards of the residents. From the New Ede Headworks (straddling 11 Local Government Areas, LGAs, of the state), to the Ilesa Water Supply and Sanitation Project (spanning Ilesa township, Idominasi, Kajola, Ijaregbe and Iponda), which has reached 75% completion stage, this administration has proved itself capable of taking Osun to the Promised Land in terms of the infrastructure of water. Also in this mould is the Village Rural Water Development Project, which covers Ipetu-Ijesa, Iperindo, Osu, Ifewara, Igangan and Iwara, among others.
In the Asi-Oyan axis, the Oyetola-led administration has carried out repair works on motor starter and water pump in Eko-Ende; and rewinding of four high lift pumps, repair of the vandalized starter panels; as well as rewinding of one low lift pump in Asi, Oyan and Asaba communities, all in the Odo Otin LGA of the state.
Ila Waterworks (covering Ila Oragun, Oke-Ila in Ila Local Government) has also had its fair share of this laudable government presence, especially, through the replacement of the burnt low lift submersible pump, low lift pump starter panel and high lift motor starter panel.
Lest we forget, the rehabilitation of the 33KV Garage Olode-Ifetedo Feeder Line is ongoing. Discussions with interested investors for the provision of solar energy for the state have also reached an advanced stage. These discussions include, but not limited to, training of Osun youths in the assembly of component parts as well as repair and maintenance of solar energy. Of course, there are other works, which approval has been given but are currently awaiting contract awards.
Without mincing words, Oyetola’s deliberate interventions in this highly technical sector have greatly impacted the socio-political-cum-economic activities of Osun and the provision of job opportunities for its residents. With these key interventions by the current administration, one is not in doubt of a significant enhancement in the food security profile of the state, especially, through an appreciable increase in the yield of farm produce; thus, making good governance feasible and meaningful to the people. Through direct engagement of labour, professionals, technicians, even, artisans have been productively employed for specific jobs prescriptions and money has been injected into the system. Yes, water is used for drinking, transportation, irrigation, cooking, bathing, and other socio-economic activities. This therefore means that hitherto cases of water-borne diseases, especially, in the rural areas of the state, have become consigned to the dustbin of history. It also bears repeating that, where there’s good, uninterrupted supply of water, businesses are not only attracted, they also thrive.
Komolafe is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Oyetola on Media._