After years of poor access to water, residents of Ikeja communities in Lagos finally heaved a sigh of relief as they came out in numbers to celebrate the two newly inaugurated water borehole systems.
For these residents, these water borehole systems will enhance access to safe water, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene among others as recommended by the World Health Organisation.
One of the women and residents of Gani Agura, Mrs Alia Adewale, decried how she and other women travelled miles away to access water for washing, cooking, cleaning, and drinking among others.
Adewale added: “We have been suffering from a lack of water for many years. We go about seeking water from far away, carrying gallons.
“But this man, Mr Kunle Kosile, surprised us in just two weeks. Today, water is close to us. I am very happy,” she expressed.
According to the SDP candidate for the House of Assembly in Ikeja Constituency 1, Mr Olakunle Kosile he built and commissioned the water borehole in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 which harps on water and sanitation for all by 2030.
He further expressed readiness for selfless service at the commissioning of the borehole systems at Onilekere and Johnson communities in Ikeja.
He told newsmen, “I came through the community, Johnson and Onilekere, a few months ago and realised that it’s an eyesore. The people told me one of their major problems travelling a long distance to access water.
“It just shows how ineffective our representation within this area has been over the years. Despite being close to the airport, minimal infrastructural development is not in place”.
Through his OK Movement initiative, a non-political platform, Kosile built the borehole water for the community. For him, “It’s not just about playing politics; I’m a businessman who is in politics. Beyond this, we will do more. We will keep empowering the local communities”.
The University of Wales graduate outlined other plans underway for the youths, the elderly, pregnant women and children. “The OK Movement isn’t a political platform. We are working on how to empower and improve our local communities.
“First, we have created the OK Job Centre where people in the community have their resumés and talents. Then we create visibility for them on a bigger scale.”
Kosile highlighted some medical services for the residents. “I met with some medical doctors and nurses for an extra two to three hours of free services for the residents all for free. We want to serve the people, network the entire area and bring synergy to them,” he emphasised.
For a resident, Mr Sylvester Njemanze, this gesture calls for celebration. He said, “Life has been very difficult without potable water. Mr Kunle just came here and put up a borehole for us just like that. We believe that when he gets there, he will do more.”
He, however, recounted how all the water facilities were destroyed over 30 years ago when the Ikeja express road was being constructed. “We have been left with no water since then,” he bemoaned.
He appealed to Kosile to give their youth a foot in the door. “We have a lot of talented youth seeking a place to do sports. We have talented guys who make furniture. They struggle to sell their goods. But if we see someone who can speak for the people then it will be okay.”
Another resident and furniture maker, Adekunle Olarenwaju expressed pleasant surprise. “I’m surprised. We have suffered without water for a very long time. We used to go and fetch water from the third street.”
“Mr Kunle came here just a month ago and he surprised us after he promised us. In two weeks, he gave us two borehole systems.”
Usang Emmanuel is the Highway Patrol Barracks GRA Youth Leader. He narrated how a week after Kosile came to speak with the youth at the barracks in December, he empowered about 20 youths with jobs and the women got acquisition skills.
“We also hope to help mitigate drug abuse and social vices among the youth and create more jobs and other opportunities for them,” he noted.
Meanwhile, residents of Opebi have also pleaded for access to potable water. Yusuf Olugbile, the Youth President of Opebi, said, “We also need at least two borehole systems in our community”.
Kosile, an astute businessman and realtor, says he has rolled up his sleeves to drive sustainable economic and job growth in the Ikeja 1 LGA with or without government funding.
He hopes to improve access to healthcare service deliveries with or without government funding while also improving local business through marketplace participation and improved access to technology for digital advancement among others.