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Political Parties Campaign for Clean Water

Despite efforts to improve water quality and access, Nigeria still ranks among the top 5 countries with the worst access to sanitary water. In February, Nigeria’s government launched the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality in efforts to increase access to safe drinking water. A small town in Adamawa State is also taking action to provide safe pipe-borne water.

All Progressive Congress (APC) party representative and councilor Hon. Hamma’adama Mahamed Umar was encouraged to spread this message after attending his first Intra-Party Communication and Constituency outreach by the International Republican Institute. Hon. Hamma’adama held an outreach meeting with his constituents where he lobbied the government executives, including the Chairman of Jada Local Council (LGA) Hon. Idris Salihu, to provide safe pipe-borne water to his constituency.

Hon. Hamma’adama encouraged his constituents to share their concerns so he could create informed resolutions to the issues. The top issues voiced by local residents emphasized the need of clean water, as well as the proper infrastructures, like drainage and culverts, to maintain this supply.

According to one resident, Jada has not had access to piped drinking water since 1999. “One of your local chairmen destroyed our water pipes during the construction of feeder road and we have since had no access to piped drinking water. We would like our representative to follow up on the matter. The feeder road project is still unfinished,’ the resident said.

Hon. Salihu promised to work closely with the area councilor and the party executives to resolve the issues raised, and he encouraged the elected leaders to represent issues affecting the constituents to the council to enhance local representation.

‘I am with you (the people) and I share in your problem. I will work out with my team to see how the issues will be solved. I will not relent until the water pipes are repaired and the people will begin to feel the impact of working with the political parties and representatives,’ said the Chairman of Jada Local Council.

The town hall gave local residents the opportunity to express their concerns directly to politicians. This ultimately resulted into action: one-month after the meeting, the damaged pipes and boreholes were fixed.

Hon. Hamma’adama credits IRI’s Intra Party Communication and Constituency Outreach workshop for the success of his outreach. Prior to the training, he lacked the skills and knowledge about his roles and responsibilities as an elected party representative, but after participating in the workshop he learned how to hold constituency outreaches and connect his work to his party, APC.  He also acknowledged that the Constituency Outreach gave him an opportunity to connect with his other politicians, expanding his network and creating an open government.

“I am grateful of the program effort and if the provision of water to my community is sustained, I will now focus on the next issue of concern in my Ward. I am also happy that my party executives are aware of the provision of drinkable water in our Ward as per our campaign manifesto,” said Hon. Hamma’adama

The skills these party representatives and party executives learned from IRI trainings closed the gap between elected officials and citizens, allowing for more voices to be heard and resulting in action. With more constituency outreach, APC is more responsive to the needs of the people.