Much ado about toilets, By Udeme Nana

On the entire, I’m wondering what was racing by way of the minds of the political leaders who gathered to witness the occasion, since a few of them had occupied excessive positions of duty in that native council, on the state and nationwide ranges. The occasion was attended by the cream of the political class within the native authorities space and their pals from different locations. What isn’t clear is whether or not these amongst them who served as chairmen of the native authorities council beforehand had been pleased with themselves on that event. 

Final Saturday, twenty seventh of August, the heavens opened and rain descended throughout Akwa Ibom State. 

It was a chilly and moist day, however Ikot Akpan Nkuk, headquarters of Ukanafun native authorities council, one of many pioneer native authorities areas within the oil wealthy Akwa Ibom State, regardless of the downpour, hosted the commissioning of contemporary public conveniences donated by an indigene of the realm to be used by employees within the council. Though erroneously described as “extremely trendy”, what was commissioned cannot by any customary be termed “extremely trendy” as a result of what would go as ultra-modern bathrooms now don’t use water; they’re digitally operated and faeces and urine disappear because the person leaves the bathroom seat. These are utilized in sensible buildings the place every thing is managed digitally.

The dignitaries on the commissioning included Mr Moses Ekpo, deputy governor of the state; conventional rulers;  Mr Udeme Ufot, one of many main promoting practitioners within the nation; Barrister Aniekan Ukpanah, Managing Associate and Head of Banking and Finance Observe, Udo Udoma & Bello-Osagie legislation agency, Lagos;  Rt. Hon Aniekan Umanah, member, Home of Representatives; Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem, former Nationwide Authorized Adviser to the Peoples Democratic Celebration and senatorial candidate of the get together within the district; and a bevy of political chieftains from the environs. 

The constructing housing the general public conveniences was donated by Mr Ekan Ukpanah, president, Nung Ukpanah Household Union to the Nationwide Union of Native Authorities Workers (NULGE), Ukanafun chapter.  

The donor was apprehensive about the non-existence of such a facility within the work surroundings of a neighborhood authorities headquarters, which had been in existence for greater than forty years. 

“As an environmentalist, I do know the  significance of public conveniences, and as a city planner, I can’t approve permits for buildings with out such amenities,” he said whereas talking on the event. In his tackle, the Deputy Governor, popularly referred to as Uncle MO, described the general public conveniences as an important facility. 

He stated its existence within the council premises would encourage seriousness at work by the workers, whereas observing that “no person now has any excuse to abscond from work.” Uncle MO additional said that the contribution will promote effectivity at work, enhance sanitation, aside from checking truancy, including that it wasn’t a flimsy excuse to need to go to the bathroom. The Deputy Governor paid tribute to the Ukpanah household for sustaining the legacy began by their forbears, recalling that it was the late Barrister Asuquo Ukpanah who led the case for the creation of the native authorities council, whereas his youthful brother, the late Obong Senator Akaninyene Ukpanah served as its pioneer chairman.

However no sooner had the information unfold that the Deputy Governor attended the occasion in individual to fee the amenities, than hell was let free in condemnation of his lending the load of his large workplace to the  commissioning of ‘bathrooms’.

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Dean Evergreen screamed, “on this period, individuals are nonetheless commissioning bathrooms. The D. Governor shouldn’t be even ashamed to be engaged in such scrimmage”. Celestine Mel, an Abuja based mostly public affairs commentator, was aghast and fumed, “The place did NULGE people in Ukanafun go to reply the decision of nature all these years? The bushes? We play an excessive amount of on this nation.”

He additional wrote that, “In 2022, when Elon Musk is finalizing preparation to relocate some people to Mars on a one-way ticket; when his the constellation of starlink satellites is about to beam high-speed wi-fi web to the remotest corners of the earth from area; when Dubai has already launched the primary metropolitan drone taxi service; when MTN is rolling out 5G wi-fi web to most city facilities in Nigeria; when pace trains are connecting European capitals at 350 km/h; when vehicles are about emigrate from dependence on fossil fuels to renewables; when the wealth of countries are now not measured by the scale of their pure assets however the depth of their data base, we in our pricey state are holding mental discussions about the propriety or in any other case of commissioning trendy bathrooms in a neighborhood authorities council by the deputy governor.”

Somebody, in tandem with Celestine Mel, complained within the following phrases, “there’s nothing “ENGLISH” won’t do to us. Think about from “bathroom” to comfort!” 

Those that made a lot fuss about the commissioning of these fundamental amenities could have forgotten that the availability of such amenities aligns with one of many gadgets on the Millennium Growth Targets (MDGs) and its successor programme, the Sustainable Growth Targets (SDGs) which has good well being, properly being and sanitation as vital issues.

However the critics met their match in one other public affairs commentator, Vincent Aluu, who pooh-poohed their vituperations. 

Vincent responded that, “Shit enterprise is a really critical enterprise that some Nigerians don’t need to speak about. However there isn’t a one that doesn’t do shit enterprise of their properties.”

Aluu additional argued that, “The exhausting reality is: shit exists as a result of we produce it. It’s a pure consequence of the issues we eat and for so long as we exist, shit all the time will! And like all the opposite tons of waste we produce on a regular basis (together with rubbish), somebody has to eliminate it or else the environment can be not possible to reside in.”

In line with him, “the way in which we consider bathrooms should bear a elementary shift if we’re to see significant progress. We should put the person expertise entrance and centre. A younger lady experiencing good smelling and protected bathrooms will develop into a lady who will admire and make sure that she gives an identical expertise to her household, and can count on it without any consideration.”

In additional justification, he alluded to the truth that Nigeria had grow to be the primary open defecation nation globally passing India.

Aluu quipped, “How Nigeria overtook India is a matter of significant concern”, noting that India has a inhabitants of 1.353 billion folks and a 3.287 million km2 land space, towards Nigeria’s estimated 200 million folks and 923,769km2 land space.

As Aluu put it, “Other than bringing a unfavourable social stigma to Nigeria, which is touted because the Big of Africa and probably the most populous black nation on this planet, open defecation additionally poses apparent environmental, well being and financial issues for Nigeria and its nationals. It pollutes the surroundings and exposes kids and adults to important well being issues like diarrhoea (therefore resulting in premature deaths).”

To resolve this drawback of open defecation and insufficient bathroom amenities, the author famous that, “there’s a want for collaboration between the federal government in any respect ranges and related businesses.”

The general public affairs analyst urged organisations like banks, oil, insurance coverage and manufacturing corporations, to donate latrines/bathrooms the place wanted throughout the nation, as a part of their company social duty (CSR).

Etido Ibekwe, a medical physician, whereas underscoring the significance of public conveniences, said that, the  “emptying of bowels is definitely an involuntary motion by the peristaltic motion of the intestines. As soon as the descending colon is full, the urge to defecate comes naturally. Nevertheless, if this urge is managed habitually by the person, it predisposes to constipation. The resultant impact of this to the physique is that of retaining toxins that might in any other case have been excreted and expelled from the physique. When toxins are retained, it predisposes to illnesses that may result in liver and kidney failures or different organ failure.” In a society consumed by poverty and superstition, and with out ample medical amenities, who is aware of how many individuals from that space have died from issues arising from their incapability to empty their bowels after they had the urge to take action? 

The availability of contemporary public conveniences at Ikot Akpan Nkuk, Ukanafun, by an indigene, Ekan Ukpanah, and the Deputy Governor lending the load of his large workplace to the formal commissioning of the amenities could not have been properly obtained by a bit of the folks however it exhibits the love of 1 privileged indigene for his folks. The involved citizen, Ekan Ukpanah, met a felt want of the native authorities workers union, and as Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem, former Nationwide Authorized Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Celebration highlighted, “the availability of the general public conveniences and it’s official commissioning signposts the evolution from outright open and indiscriminate defecation, utilizing the bush and pit latrines by our folks.”

There’s a chance that there are a whole bunch of native council headquarters in Nigeria, public faculties, places of work, locations of worship, marketplaces, procuring malls, motor parks and well being amenities missing in such important infrastructure.

This little however very important contribution by Ekan Ukpanah exhibits that well-to-do people can do no matter they may to assist their communities and never simply stand, stare and complain. On the entire, I’m wondering what was racing by way of the minds of the political leaders who gathered to witness the occasion, since a few of them had occupied excessive positions of duty in that native council, on the state and nationwide ranges. The occasion was attended by the cream of the political class within the native authorities space and their pals from different locations. What isn’t clear is whether or not these amongst them who served as chairmen of the native authorities council beforehand had been pleased with themselves on that event. 

Udeme Nana is the founder, Uyo E-book Membership and the main promoter of the E-book Membership initiative in Akwa Ibom State.


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