By Oboh Agbonkhese
The Our Water Our Right campaign spearheaded by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, has won the Transformative Cities 2019 People’s Choice Award in the water category.
The ERA/FoEN-led Our Water, Our Right campaign in Lagos received the highest votes in the water category on the sidelines of the international conference on “The Future is Public” holding in Amsterdam, which also featured energy, food and housing categories.
Receiviyng the award, Deputy Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “This recognition will motivate us to remain resolute in our quest for definitive win in Lagos, because we know a win in Lagos will spur groups across Africa in similar conditions to fight on.”
Oluwafemi, who noted that ERA/FoEN was privileged to work with men and women, young and old, who are determined to challenge corporate greed and grab, explained that the coalition was born in 2014 when the groups learned that Lagos State government was nearing conclusion of plans to privatise water.
He added: “This development informed the need for civil society groups, trade union groups, and community people, who will carry the greatest burden of water privatisation, to come together to fight a common cause.
“We dedicate this award to the women, the labour activist, opinion leaders, youths, our international allies and several others marching shoulder to shoulder with us to resist water privatisation in Lagos, Nigeria and Africa.”
A statement by Philip Jakpor, the rights group’s Head of Media and Campaigns, said prior to the announcement, eight finalists debated and discussed opportunities and challenges of transforming local contexts to address global challenges.
Nominations for 2019 Transformative Cities Peoples’ Choice Awards featured 33 stories from 24 countries, where advocates are pushing for radical change and advancing transformation through their community-led engagements.
Before being narrowed down to eight, 12 were nominated and announced for voting which commenced on September 10 and ended on October 9.
The Transformative Cities is an initiative by a group of regional and international organisations that highlights political practices and solutions that can serve as inspiration for others.