• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

Revitalising the Abia water scheme (2)

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The Abia Water Board under the headship of Leo Ogbonna is determined to get to the root of the huge financial scam perpetrated by JDP in connivance with the past administration of Abia State under Orji Uzor Kalu. To demonstrate its determination, the Board has done a thorough investigation into the transaction and has presented a report to the Abia governor and to the Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu.

The whole idea according to Ogbonna is to persuade the authorities to re-evaluate the work done by JDP and the funds released to them and get the construction company to complete the work. In the alternative, the Board also wants the Federal Government to terminate the contract so that it could be well handled by the Abia State Government. “This will be a crucial step towards solving Aba Water Project. I am doing this because I want to do a new thing in the water sector in Abia. I want to complement the vision of Ochendo,” declared the University of Nigeria, Nsukka-trained Mechanical Engineer.

In addition to unravelling the JDP scam, the Board is also making efforts to key Abia State into Foreign Aid Intervention in the Water Sector. Already, it has begun negotiations with the World Bank Water Intervention Fund. Another tiding of good hope is that through the efforts of Ogbonna, the French Government has also shown interest to intervene in the Abia Water Scheme. “This will be a new thing in the Water Sector of Abia,” he said.

Indeed, Ogbonna has many other feats to his credit. In just few months into his appointment as the helmsman of the Abia Water Board, he has sanitised the once rotten water sub sector. How did it happen? First, he started by cleaning the Augean Stable through an exercise he tagged, “Abia Water Board Verification”. The result of this exercise was the discovery of a syndicate of ghost workers. The number of ghost workers in a small place as Water Board was alarming. Probably, by intuition or instinct, Governor Orji might have smelt rat and thus sent Ogbonna on a rescue mission and so far this chemistry has been working wonders in that section of his administration.

While on the verification exercise, Ogbonna was shocked to discover that majority of the workers at the board called to supervise were not actually reporting to their respective duty posts. To this effect, he did a swap of duties among the members of staff and transferred others to new areas. It was at this juncture that he also undertook a tour of all the water schemes in the state and discovered that some of the problems militating against the effective functioning of portable water in the state were as little as lack of pumpers, diesel and other minor equipments.

Armed with ideas on Governor Orji’s people oriented programmes, Ogbonna promised to make Abia Water Board functional. In line with this, he made proposals to the governor on how to revive the water sub sector. The governor was to later attend to his request by giving approval for the rehabilitation of 57 existing water schemes. Prior to this period, Ogbonna had embarked  on a pilot project of rehabilitating  four rural schemes across the three senatorial zones namely Umuagbai in Osisioma (Abia Central);  Itu Ngwa in Obingwa in Abia South; Elu Ohiafia in Ohiaofa in Abia North and the Abiriba Water Scheme also in Abia North.

Commenting on this landmark achievements so far, the GM said; “We are going into the total rehabilitation of all the rural water schemes in Abia State and this is made possible because of the directive of Governor Orji that public taps in the state must be functional as a way of promoting sanity and healthy living because the water we pomp is treated and good for drinking. Again, it is a way of keying into the Legacy Projects of the Ochendo Administration because for 22 years the rural water schemes in the state have remained dysfunctional”.

The result is that today, the public taps in Umuahia and its environs are functional and the people are happy and at the same time applauding Governor Orji for his foresight in appointment of the new manager of the Board. There are key appointments and key personnel who have passionately elevated the programme of the governor in their callings. Today,   Ogbonna is doing what another cerebral administrator, Okey Ikpeazu, is doing at Aba section of the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA).   These officials of state are raising the bar in dedicated and committed services and this has helped in the actualization of the Ochendo dream for Abia.

For emphasis, the heights reached and kept by Ogbonna in the Abia water sub sector were not attained by a sudden flight. It is a product of 22 years apprenticeship that has seen him serving in many places before destiny brought him to the water board. Like Martin Luther Jnr. would advise, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep so that the host of angels shall proclaim, here is a street sweeper!”

Today, Leo Ogbonna has been called to fetch water for the people of Abia. He has not yet taken the water to every home but he is fetching it with all his heart and the people of Abia are witnesses to his passion and dedication.

GODWIN ADINDU