There was gladness and joy in official and private circles in Enugu on Saturday, 25 November 2023, as Governor Ndubuisi Peter Mbah commissioned the state’s 24/7 Water Scheme at the Ninth Mile Corner.
The commissioning marked the fulfilment of the governor’s audacious campaign promise to deliver potable water to pipes in homes and offices in the state capital within 180 days of assuming office. Some reports noted that the government of Jim Nwobodo commenced that scheme 42 years ago. It took Mbah’s commitment and resolve to bring it to life by applying the SMART management principle to the government business.
The SMART principle is a mnemonic acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It is a widely used framework for setting goals and objectives in management, ensuring that they are well-defined, attainable, and aligned with the organisation’s overall strategy. The government is the foremost bureaucracy, but for the most part, its officials behave as if they have never heard about SMART and its application. My AI application gave a short introduction.
Specific goals are clearly defined and unambiguous. Instead of a vague plan like “improve customer satisfaction,” a particular purpose would be to “increase customer satisfaction ratings by 10% within the next six months.”
Measurable goals have quantifiable targets that can be tracked and evaluated. For example, instead of “enhance employee engagement,” a measurable goal would be to “increase employee engagement scores from 70% to 85% by the end of the year.”
Achievable goals are realistic and attainable within the available resources, constraints, and timeframe. Instead of “become the industry leader in innovation,” an attainable goal would be to “develop three innovative products within the next two years.”
Relevant goals align with the organisation’s mission, vision, and strategic objectives. They contribute to the achievement of overarching goals and priorities. Time-bound goals have a defined timeframe for completion, creating a sense of urgency and prompting action.
The commissioning of the new water scheme in Enugu State by Governor Peter Ndubuisi Mbah marks a pivotal moment in the state’s history, not only in terms of addressing a critical infrastructure deficit but also as a tangible manifestation of the social contract between the government and its citizens.
What did the Enugu State Government deliver?
Mbah commissioned a 70 million litre per day water plant that raised the capacity in Enugu from the occasional two million litres per day. Enugu will soon boast of 120 million litres per day. The Ninth Mile 24/7 Water Scheme will run on power from a 4.4MW gas-powered plant the administration built. The Enugu State government provided multiple galleries for areas without pipe connections.
Mbah remarked at the commissioning, “When we communicated this promise, it triggered disbelief in most quarters, which is perhaps understandable. After all, Ndi Enugu have seen countless successive but unsuccessful attempts to address this problem.
“Happily for us all, here we are 180 days from that promise, commissioning this new ultra-modern water scheme with a capacity to deliver 70 million litres of potable water daily to businesses and families in Enugu, and this is the first phase. In a few weeks, we will commission new pumps in the Oji water scheme to enable us to deliver another 50 million litres of water daily. This will give us a total daily delivery of 120 million litres in Enugu, about twice the daily demand of Enugu urban.”
The governor affirmed that “pipe-borne water is here to stay” in Enugu. It is integral to raising Enugu State’s economy from $.4.4 billion to $30 billion GDP in four to eight years.
Hear him: “Now, businesses in Enugu can connect to public water and pay monthly water rates like in other advanced environments. Those who have invested in water tankers can put them up for sale and free up capital for other uses. For example, we at the Government House are decommissioning our tankers to various people for alternative uses. On the part of the families in Enugu, we can now consign to unpleasant memories the sad experiences of coming back after a hard day of work to find that we have run out of water or the instances of listening to the excuses of the water suppliers as to why they are yet to deliver your water up to two days after the date initially promised. Today, families on the grid will have access to water in their homes, while those still outside the grid, for the time being, can go to the water galleries nearest to them to fetch clean water.“
For over three decades, the people of Enugu endured the hardship of living without access to potable water, a basic necessity for human survival and well-being. This prolonged deprivation of a fundamental right underscores the profound breach of trust between the government and its constituents, a stark reminder that the social contract had been severely compromised.
Governor Mbah’s commitment to restoring the water supply to Enugu represents restoring this broken contract. By prioritising the provision of this essential service, he has demonstrated that the government is not merely an authority but also a steward responsible for the welfare of its people.
The SMART water promise was one of the developments that led me to write about “The awakening in the South East”, published in Enugumetro.com and South East Journal of the South-East Governors Forum. https://enugumetro.com/the-awakening-in-the-southeast/
The new water scheme catalyses further development. Improved access to water can attract businesses, boost economic activity, and enhance residents’ overall quality of life. It can foster a more resilient and sustainable community prepared to face the challenges and opportunities of the future. It prepares the state to meet one UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) pillar.
As the people of Enugu rejoice in restoring their water supply, they also celebrate the restoration of a vital element of the social contract. Governor Mbah’s leadership demonstrates that the government can and must fulfil its obligations to its citizens. His actions serve as a beacon of hope, inspiring other leaders to prioritise the well-being of their constituents and uphold the principles of good governance.
`Commendations to Governor Ndubuisi Peter Mbah and congratulations to the people of Enugu. Now, this is genuine hope rising in the SouthEast. Mbah walks his talk. That is the desired governance approach in the land of the rising sun. Not the hot air balloons some others float.