Austrian professional footballer David Olatokunbo Alaba has been appointed by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as a Clean Nigeria Campaign Ambassador.
Alaba, who plays for German club Bayern Munich and the Austria national team, was appointed to support the country’s efforts towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number 6, aimed at providing clean water and sanitation for all.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who made the announcement during the one year anniversary celebration of the ‘Clean Nigeria’ campaign held last Thursday in Abuja, also named some state governors and Nollywood star Stephanie Linus as ambassadors.
Osinbajo declared that the Clean Nigeria Campaign was very critical to the efforts of the federal government at reducing poverty and ensuring greater access to quality education and affordable healthcare, among others.
“We are aware that access to adequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services is a critical factor in the socio-economic development of any nation and contributes to human capital outcomes such as early childhood survival, health and educational attainment,” Osinbajo said in his address, which was delivered virtually at the event to mark the first anniversary of Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign.
“Access to WASH services is also one of the key preventive measures in the raging global COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“Clean Nigeria Campaign Ambassador will be required to provide leadership in advancing the objectives of the Campaign and engage in Campaign activities as may be initiated by you or other stakeholders,” he told the new campaign ambassadors
Giving further insights about what the Federal Government was doing to sustain current efforts, he said “the Clean Nigeria Campaign is backed by Presidential Executive Order 009 which gives effect to its implementation.”
The ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign was flagged off on 19 November 2019 by the Vice President. Alaba was invited to support the campaign by Federal Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, who signed a letter dated 17 November 2020 sent to the football star.
The minister believed that Alaba, whose father is from Nigeria,would bring his influence towards accelerating progress in the Clean Nigeria Campaign as the Nigerian government plans to end open defecation by 2025 and improve access to sustainable sanitation for all Nigerians.
Nigeria is the number one country in open dedication worldwide, which “has health implications and dignity issues as far as the Nigerian Diaspora is concerned,” Engr Oluyemi Ogundele, Vienna-based member of the committe saddled with prosecuting the campaign, said.
“It is part of the Nigerian Diaspora efforts to support our home government,” Ogundele, a former Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Austria, said, explaining the importance of drafting Alaba into the campaign.
“David Alaba, like the Biblical David, despite wearing the colour of his country of choice Austria, has never forgotten his roots. He has won many battles for Black people in Austria without going to the battle field,” Ogundele said, praising the Bayern star for his soldiarity with the Black community in the Alpine country.
“He has been able to change the narrative of how Nigerians and by extension Africans are treated in Austria in his own little way. He is indeed a worthy Ambassador of Nigeria,” Ogundele added.
Meanwhile, Alaba who was part of Bayern’s 2020 European Champions League triumph, has promised to assist Nigeria in its efforts to achieve the SDG Number 6 by providing toilets and portable water to some selected schools in the country.