Imperative of re-electing Senator Victor Umeh
You are probably one of those not fond of Senator Umeh, possibly because of his independent-mindedness. You think him too bold and cannot dance a puppet on a string managed by others. You squawk about his winning ways and think it will do you a lot of good to stop him. Aware he comes off many battles a victor, but you still want to wager a bet that he wont win on the 16th February, 2019. To make sure you dont lose your bet, you have started working in cahoots with others to stultify his effort. You find it difficult to abide him a senator another four years. You admit you were not part of his first coming, but have decided to be involved this time to stop him. You think another term will offer him political advantages, and that has been causing you smarting sense of injury.
You have fears. You fear he will run against and possibly beat you to a higher political office in future. You fear he will be more regarded politically in the State and indeed the Southeast zone if he goes back to the senate. You foresee political leadership of the people gravitating to him and you have vowed not to yield to the making of a rival. You know he is good at what he does and if given support he will do better, but your ego would not allow that, much less encourage others to support him.
For these reasons, and perhaps more, you have decided to work against his return. You would rather consort with a dybbuk than have him succeed. It is as bad as that.
Curiously, you are not alone. One or two others are banding together elsewhere to frustrate the same effort. Like you, they have sworn against his reelection not because he does not do well, but because of ego and personal interest. You are not unaware that he has done much in his brief stay in the chambers and has a lot more to complete on return, but you are not impressed. Your have allowed your huge ego the better of you and will care less who goes in his stead. Mercifully, there is very little hope that your effort, however assiduous, will squeak through. Notwithstanding, it is good to know that the making of Senator Umeh on the 16th February, does not have to succeed on your effort alone. However, it will be good to know you will make a choice to be part of the collective effort. More than that, it will be good to know that you are thoughtful enough to discard your own interest when pitted against the publics. Already Gallup poll is in Umehs favour and nothing suggests a drop is possible in the days ahead. What will likely happen is that the margin of victory for him will be higher this time and too glaring to discourage any manner of post election contest.
It is fairly right to argue that it is not often a representative of Umehs mould is seen among the people. The confidence he exudes in passing bills that communicate the interest of his people of the Southeast, his unapologetic Igbo identity among other positives compare to no other among his peers. His achievements in just one year very easily pale his ranking and rookie contemporaries’ in comparison. What Umeh can say in plenary, his colleagues will prefer to discuss outside of it. No doubt, Umeh is merely one senator out of the about fifteen from the Southeast, but more outspoken perhaps and more daring in passing bills that communicate hope for Ndigbo. In less than one year, he has moved important motions and sponsored bills of common interest to his people and went on to call attention to the dead hand of sidelining Ndigbo in critical appointments.
It bears repeating here how he constructively enegaged the drop-the gun-order issued to vigilantes by former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and won. The turn in-order which came in the wake of Fulani herders /farmers clash was not just insensitive, but lacked prudence. Umehs argument was that such order will expose the vulnerable to more carnage and will hurt the security architechure of his own state that comprise the same vigilante, the police, army, navy, civil defence, and the DSS. It is clear that if the order was allowed to stand the security situation in Anambra which is one of the best in the country would be put at risk. One week after the order was rescinded. The interest of the people was no less protected when again he sponsored a bill to have under-aged prisoners separated from the aged with a caveat that government should provide lawyers for the former during trials. Very few people will contest the danger of lumping together this set of prisoners the damage it does to society.
In league with the senator representing Anambra North in the senate, Umeh sponsored the bill for building of Federal University of Education in Aguleri. Though Umeh represents Anambra Central Senatorial District, but he had to argue for the siting of the University in the North Senatorial Zone because, out of the three zones of Anambra South, Central and North, only the latter has no University. When it was established that only the Southeast zone was mischievously excluded from benefitting from the $6billion Railway Loan, Umeh, with support from Senator Abaribe, insisted on redress. The argument was won in favour of the zone. However, it his effort in changing the dead hand of marginalization of the Souteast zone in appointment of members of the Board of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) that sets Senator Victor Umeh apart as the voice of Ndigbo. The fact that such exclusion in appointment to vital Federal Agencies and Boards has been going on without questioning, does not make it right and tenable for ratification by the senate. And it will take a senate where Umeh is not member to approve such composition without a kick. And as he was wont, he kicked hard and spoke out against possible backlash in taking a people for granted over a long time. Again, the lopsided appointment was redressed. Dont forget that such ratification has been going on without even a whimper from senators of Southeast extraction. The thought of losing political favour has kept a good number of them cowering under the pews, knowing nothing and saying nothing.
It is not often that a prodigy of representation like Umeh happens on our political scene. But when that happens, it is expected that we support it and not act a fool to our collective interest.
Writes from Abatete