Why Sen. Umeh, Dozie Nwankwo, Ifediora and Ibida are our Best
By Emeka Ozumba
There is no doubt that the intrusion of the concept of Constituency projects in Nigeria’s legislative agenda has unwittingly convoluted public understanding of the authentic duties and functions of the legislature. But the distraction does not vitiate the fact that just as the legislature is the symbol and bulwark of democracy, law making is indeed the hallmark of the legislature.
It therefore behoves the electorates to ensure that representation at all chambers of the legislature is comprised of persons of proven pedigree with ability to articulate and propound laws for good governance and advancement of the citizens’ welfare. Thankfully, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the people of Anambra Central Senatorial District, Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka Federal Constituency and Njikoka State Constituencies I & II are blessed with a quartet of men of sound mind and capabilities who have had outstanding and widely acknowledged performances in their various chambers of legislative engagements.
As another round of elections begins on 16th February 2019, a constellation of opinions in the constituencies across Anambra central zone indicates an overwhelming endorsement of the APGA quartet of Senator Victor Umeh for Anambra Central Senatorial District; Hon Dozie Nwankwo (Onyendozi), for Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka Federal Constituency; Hon Dr. Tim Ifediora and Hon Pete Ibida (Onyeaogadili mma) for Njikoka State Constituencies I and II respectively.
Incidentally, most aspiring legislators and candidates cling onto the ‘’quality representation’’ cliché even when their capabilities hold them incapable of meeting such claim. However, based on their credentials and performances verifiable in their motions, bills, and other legislative programmes so far, the present APGA quartet have, from all intents and purposes, proved themselves primus inter pares among a cluttered field of candidates on electioneering campaign. A cursory look at the APGA heavy weights under review indicates:
Senator, Chief Victor Chukwunonyelum Umeh (Ohamadike)
(Anambra Central Senatorial District)
In just eleven months as Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the former National Chairman of APGA has shown what the people of Anambra Central require in a Senator – an outstanding performance worthy of his pedigree as an intelligent, erudite and eloquent representative. Sen. Umeh’s commanding presence in the red chamber is accentuated by his signature tall red cap which singles him out for recognition whenever issues of national importance is on the table. Add his eloquence to his intimidating profile and you would appreciate why he has woken the Senate up to the endemic deprivations of the South East with his vigorous contributions and stout defence of the interest of his immediate constituency and the South East region.
To Sen Umeh’s credit are two important bills and five motions with one adjudged the Best Overall Motion at the National Assembly in 2018, not counting several incisive contributions on the floor of the Senate on ‘’Issues of National Importance.’’ Of two Federal University of Education approved recently, Umeh attracted one to Anambra State; and ensured that South East and South-South representation in EFCC was factored-in.
Equally noteworthy is that Sen Umeh’s excellent performance in the red chambers is supported with steadfast commitment to the welfare of his constituents. With thirty-eight Constituency projects spread across the district, seventy scholarship grants to intelligent students drawn from the seven Local Government Areas; facilitation of employment for the youths and sponsorship of several beneficiaries on skills acquisition empowerment programmes, Umeh has unarguably made name for himself.
Above all, Sen Umeh’s dogged defence of Igbo interest on all fronts stands him out as hero among men well suited for the job and the task ahead. He has requested the people’s votes for continuous, honest, bold, courageous and reliable representation. The choice is therefore clear to ndi Anambra Central to consolidate by re-electing the victorious Victor who is poised to achieve much more in the 9th Senate.
Chief Hon Dozie Nwankwo (Onyendozi)
(Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka Federal Constituency)
The people of Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka Federal Constituency could not have asked for a better representative than Chief Hon. Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo (Onye-ndozi Nwachinemelu Enugwu-Ukwu na Umunri). The debonair and unassuming Onyendozi came fully made for the job in the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Accountant, philanthropist and grassroots politician is guided by the philosophy that ‘health is wealth,’ and has built a nest of supporters through his Free Medical programme including Dental care and Eye Surgery; and Educational Support Scheme which has been running since 2006.
Onyendozi keeps faith with his Constituents with his multi-million Naira Women and Youth Empowerment/Support, Skills Acquisition Training and Take-off Grants for thousands of beneficiaries spread across the 51 Wards of Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka and beyond. There are also many people benefiting from his scholarship scheme. He has over 400 persons on monthly stipend, not to mention several Constituency projects already executed and ongoing in the communities.
A quietly effective representation, Onyendozi’s three years in the Green chambers which came after a hard fought legal battle to retrieve his mandate has more than justified the faith his constituents reposed in him. His three Bills, five motions and remarkable contributions on the floor, as well as adept lobbying skills has set Onyendozi apart as one of the most sought-after legislators from the South-East zone.
Hon Dr. Timothy Ifedioramma
(Member, House of Assembly, Njikoka Constituency 1)
Hon Tim Ifediora’s journey to Anambra State House of Assembly started with a solemn commitment to God that he will serve in the interest of his great people of Umunri clan comprising of Enugwu-Ukwu, Enugwu-Agidi and Nawfia communities. Almost four years on, Hon Tim has to his credit seven bills, twenty-five motions including others that were co-sponsored in promotion of the rule of law and good governance in Anambra State.
A philosopher and student of sustainable development, Ifediora is a stickler for excellence, a reverend gentleman (no rabble rouser) who is hardly indifferent to the needs and aspirations of youth and women in contemporary times. Thus he works at helping them harness their potentials and by continuously improving their socio-economic welfare. To Hon Tim’s credit are several training and empowerment programmes, education support and scholarship schemes, and constituency projects spread across the communities. Hon Tim is a rare politician, quiet and unpretentious; doubly effective in propagating ideals and deals in favour of his immediate constituency. He has proven to be most effective in lobbying the executive arm of government to attract democracy dividend to his constituency.
Hon Sir Pete Ibida (Onyeogadilimma)
(Member, House of Assembly, Njikoka Constituency 1)
Another member of the legislature adjudged to have fulfilled and surpassed his legislative mandate is Hon Sir Pete Ibida, representing the people of Abagana/Abba/Nimo in Njikoka 2 Constituency at the Anambra State House of Assembly. A prominent and ranking member, Ibida brings a wealth of experience to bear in the representation of his constituents having orchestrated the drafting and passage of several bills and motions that have benefitted his people and endeared the House to other arms of government.
Fondly called Onyeogadilimma, Sir Pete Ibida is highly regarded as a consistent, effective performer and good party man who walks his talk. Asides excelling in core legislative duties, Hon Ibida has initiated and executed programmes for the wellbeing of his constituents; chief of which are: free medical and antenatal care for pregnant women, training and empowerment of youths, scholarship programmes and engagement of the youths through sports like the 2017 Ibida Unity Cup. Hon Ibida also constructed a modern clinic at St. Michael’s Secondary School, Nimo; 24 open market stores and one modern pavilion. Four modern pavilions in Abagana; thirty-four open market stores and 6 lock-up shops in Abba community. Sir Pete also gets good feedback by presenting regular update to a cross-section of his constituency and he is poised to achieve much more in the years ahead.
A Vote for Continuity
The process of law making by legislators requires experience and trade-offs, otherwise ability to lobby and gain comparative advantage for constituents. It is truism that the legislature revolves on ranking of representatives according to established pecking order of seniority of members either in the Senate, House of Representatives and State Assemblies, and these largely determine headship of committees and how juicy the offerings to a member’s constituency. In the legislative worldview, new comers can only queue behind and wait for crumbs.
Cruel as the above scenario sounds, it is in the interest of constituents to assess the value of representation a member is offering and the chances for improved returns on representation before calling for new hands. With respect to Anambra Central, Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka and Njikoka State Constituencies 1&2, the interest of the people is best served in sustaining the status quo by re-electing the APGA quartet.
Interestingly, for the Senate, Chief Sen. Victor Umeh stands shoulders above other contenders; for the House of Reps: Enugwu-Ukwu is blessed that their son Hon Dozie Nwankwo is doing well and is poised to do much more. Other sons of the town aspiring now might just be playing spoilers instead of supportive of the town’s consolidation of the gains of Dozie’s representation. No matter the preachments by the other candidates, Enugwu-Ukwu cannot afford a change now that she has her cake baked by Onyendozi presence in the House and ready for the constituency; any act to the contrary amounts to a harakiri. In the same vein, the duo of Hon Dr. Tim Ifedioamma and Hon Sir Pete Ibida completes the formidable quartet with complementary benefits to all communities in the zone.
All told, the electorates are advised to be pragmatic and wise since any mistake to change any of these candidates will only amount to cutting our nose to spite our face. Let us all step out and vote for the performing quartet to sustain the tempo of development.
Ozumba writes from Urunnebo, Enugwu-Ukwu