“The honour you bestowed on my wife today is a very important feedback to us and we are grateful” – Obiano
Remarks by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency Chief Willie Obiano at the Crowning of WASH Ambassador, Presentation of Open Defecation Free (ODF) Roadmap and Global Hand Washing Celebration at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre Awka.
On behalf of the good people of Anambra State, I welcome the European Union and UNICEF Team to Awka, our beautiful capital. Today is a very special day indeed; but it has been made more special to me by the honour that you plan to bestow on my beloved wife, Ebelechukwu! As you probably know, when you are in leadership, your actions touch lives. When your actions touch lives, you need feedback from the people to know if you are doing what they want. The honour you plan to bestow on my wife today is a very important feedback to us and we are grateful for that. Anyi na asi unu dalunu!
Ladies and gentlemen, my administration was two years and seven months old yesterday. What this tells me is that we have come a long way already. But what it also tells me is that we still have a lot more work to do and we cannot do it all alone. That is why we count ourselves lucky that we enjoy the support of UNICEF and the European Union and other development partners who have made our work easier in Anambra State and whose support we still need to leave our beloved state better than we met it.
Ladies and gentlemen, Water Supply and Sanitation occupies a pride of place in the programmes of my administration. This is not just a mere acknowledgement of the saying that cleanness is next to godliness but it is also in keeping with our peoples age-old culture of cleanness. Yes, Ndigbo have a culture of cleanness. Eji idi ocha malu Ndigbo!
Ladies and gentlemen, it is in recognition of this that my administration has made considerable investments into the Water and Sanitation Sector in both the rural areas, small towns and in the urban communities. The Ministry of Public Utilities, Water Resources & Community Development has also prepared a strategic guideline that will ensure that the Ministrys activities are in tandem with our vision for Anambra State. At the federal level, the Ministry of Power and Domestic Water Development has developed Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Policy while the Water Bill has been passed into law. The WASH Law encourages community ownership of water schemes. In section 4.28 (page 84) of our WASH Policy, the private sector involvement in the delivery of water services is one of the elements of the reform process. Also page 85 of the document proposes different Private Sector Participation models in the sector. All these are aimed at addressing the low water and sanitation coverage in Anambra State. I urge Ndi Anambra who are always ready to play their brothers keeper to come close and explore the possibilities of a meaningful partnership that would ensure that no community is left out of the campaign for safe water and sanitation in the state.
On our own, we have developed a strategy for empowering communities to own and sustain government supported WASH facilities. We encourage every community in Anambra State to establish Water and Sanitation Committee (WASHCOM) and Water Consumer Association (WCA). Communities can manage their water schemes directly or contract them out to private individuals, who would in turn, make returns to the communities. Some communities have already started implementing this model. I have no doubt that other communities can make wealth from their water schemes as is currently being done in Umu Anuka and other communities in the state.
Ladies and gentlemen, Anambra is famous for fostering development partnerships and attracting donor support. We are the first of the six states on the European Union and UNICEF supported Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme (WSSSRP) to pay counterpart fund worth more than N700m ( Seven Hundred Million naira). So, I want to assure you of my determination to ensure that all communities in Anambra State have access to safe water and sanitation. We have the political will and we are ready to partner with more development partners such as the World Bank, USAID, JICA, Islamic Development Bank, African Development Bank and International NGOs to actualize the dream of having safe water, sustainable sanitation and effective hygiene in all communities in the state.
Ndi Anambra, it gives me joy to acknowledge that this month, on the WSSSRP II programme many communities in Anambra State were certified Open Defecation Free (ODF) thus underscoring our drive to reduce diseases and death in the state. My beloved wife has made her presence felt in this regard through a series of interventionist efforts mounted by her Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE) which has partnered many public spirited individuals for the construction of toilets in markets across Anambra State. This is a part of the reason why she will be honoured here today.
I am also delighted to observe that we have set up a proper mechanism that will attract more investments to this area. I am even more delighted to note that the Onitsha Water Works is undergoing a Private Sector Participation process at the moment and I urge the European Union to speed up the process leading to the award of the Small Towns and Urban water works contract.
Ladies and gentlemen, the development of a road map for an Open Defecation Free (ODF) Anambra state by 2025 is a project that we must all support. I therefore call on Ndi Anambra to lend their support to achieve this target. This is the least we can do to appreciate the support of UNICEF and the European Union in helping to facilitate the emergence of a healthy and clean Anambra State.
It is on this note that I want to thank the European Union and UNICEF for honouring my beloved wife as the WASH Ambassador. Thank you for recognizing her contributions to a better Anambra State!
God bless Anambra State
God bless Nigeria