On July 6, 2023, Governor Babajide SanwoOlu announced the appointment of Engr. Mukhtar Tijani as the new Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC).
Tijani officially resumed as the head of the water utility on Wednesday, July 12, 2023.
Since his assumption of office, Engr. Tijani has been moving around to inspect and assess the operations, infrastructure, and overall efficiency of the various waterworks towards ensuring improved service delivery to the over 21 million Lagos residents.
As at last check, some of the facilities reported to have been inspected by the new LWC helmsman included the 45MGD Iju waterworks, 70MGD Adiyan I, and ongoing 70MGD Adiyan phase II, Akute, among others to determine the capacity of the water purification and production machinery, including sedimentation tanks, filters, raw water in lets and the chemical house at the waterworks.
He has also visited and inspected facilities at Badore, Lekki, Alexander and Ikoyi waterworks.
On August 13, the new MD was said to have concluded his tour visiting 52 water production sites spanning every local government in Lagos state and promised to ensure water supply in these locations visited.
However, while the assessment visit is commendable, it would seem that Engr. Mukthar limited his focus to high-net-worth locations such as Lekki, Alexandra, Ikoyi, among others where the rich reside, and little or no attention paid to the water infrastructure in local communities, where the poor, who are in greater need of water supply, reside.
In the continuation of its mission to educate grassroots communities about the human right to water and advocate for public ownership and democratic control of water resources, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) organized a special water parliament titled “WATER PARLIAMENT: Water is a human right“.
The event hosted for residents of Poka and Odo-Iragushi communities in Epe, Lagos, took place on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, and aimed to address the status of the Epe mini waterworks. The program also sought to determine whether the new Managing Director of the Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) had visited this facility.
Members of the CAPPA team who visited the community included the Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor, Associate Directors Olatunji Buhari and Aderonke Ige, along with the Digital Media Officer, Olalekan Fagbenro, and Babatope Adebayo.
In response to the news of the new MD’s visit, community representatives expressed that the managing director had not yet visited the waterworks in their area. They urged him to do so promptly because the waterworks were in a state of disrepair and required his intervention to be fixed.
Speaking during the parliament event, CAPPA’s Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor, emphasized that water concerns everyone. He stressed the importance of community members working together, communicating effectively, and speaking in one voice to ensure the repair of the Epe mini waterworks.
In his presentation, titled “Effective Communication in Water Advocacy” said in other climes where water access has been achieved is where everybody works together for a common goal.
In his presentation, titled “Effective Communication in Water Advocacy,” he pointed out that collaboration and unity towards a common goal were responsible for the realization of equitable water access in areas across the world where the feat was achieved. He educated the audience on the importance of well-structured communication in eliciting desired responses from the government. “Communication is efficient when it generates an appropriate response and ineffective when it is misunderstood or fails to reach the intended target.” He stated.
Jakpor stressed that for grassroots communication to have a meaningful impact, locals should possess adequate knowledge of the subject matter, create a unified message, and select credible advocates for their cause. He also outlined strategies such as partnering with non-government organizations, engaging state actors including elected representatives, and gaining public and media attention through peaceful protests.
In conclusion, he encouraged residents to leverage global events like World Water Day and Africa Week of Action to raise awareness of their concerns in the media.
Aderonke Ige, CAPPA’s Associate Director, delivered a practical session on strategies for community collaboration to uphold the human right to water. She guided participants through the process of effective organizing in water campaign advocacy, emphasizing the importance of developing collective skills to resist water privatization and the strength of building solidarity and networks.