By Charles Ifenkwe
The business of legislation is not an all comers affair. It is neither a business for the timid nor a calling for the self-centered. This is because representation involves the aggregation of a people’s interests, the articulation and projection of these interests in the nation, it therefore requires that a representative must as a matter of prerequisite have a firm grip of what and what are the primary interests of the people and pursue them with utmost zeal and selflessness. In the words of Publilius Syrus he opined that “Representatives are an embodiment of variant hopes, dreams and aspiration… they are expected to submerge these variations to contain and protect all and sundry “.
Sir Herbert Read also is of the opinion that “the worth of civilization or a culture is not valued in terms of material wealth or military power, but by the quality and achievements of its representative individuals- its philosophers and those in authority at various rungs”.
Thus in Ikwuano/ Umuahia North and South Federal Constituency, representation has not been business as usual since Rep. Sam .I. Onuigbo (Odozi Obodo) was elected to speak for them two years ago. In all the three prongs of legislation which are; Lawmaking, oversight function and representation, Rep. Onuigbo has proven himself to be a servant leader that knows his onions. He has not only restored the human face naturally attached to legislation but has brought the constituency at par with its contemporaries and also raised the bar. Thus in the spirit of democracy celebration in the country and as an accountable representative of the people, Rep. Sam Onuigbo in keeping with his promise of effective representation, accessibility, responsiveness transparency, honesty and accountability deems it worthy to present his Scorecard to the people upon whose mandate he rode to the national Assembly, as their spokesperson.
In the area of Lawmaking, Rep, Onuigbo has within the past two years moved seven motions and pushed four petitions so far in the Green Chambers. Prominent among his motions is the motion on the urgent need for reconstruction of Umuahia- Ikwuano- Ikot Ekpene Federal Road. Following this motion and an aggressive follow up by Rep. Onuigbo as at today the rehabilitation work has been completed and the formerly impassable road is now passable, easing the pains of motorists and commuters on that very important road. Not satisfied yet with mere palliative work, Rep. Onuigbo appealed to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Babatunde Fasola for a total reconstruction of Umuahia-Ikwuano Ikot Ekpene Federal highway. Following the persistence of Rep. Onuigbo, the Minister sent a team of surveyors and engineers for survey and soil texture, the design work having been completed now await approval and award.
In the area of oversight function, Rep. Sam Onuigbo having achieved a rare feat of being appointed committee chairman as a first timer plays very vital oversight roles especially in the area of climate action and environmental degradation as chairman House Committee on Climate Change. He was physically present during the launch of Ogoni cleanup exercise, on 2nd June 2016. He was also at IDP camp Bama, Borno state. He also was part of the Nigerian delegation led by Mr. President to UNFCCC COP21 in Paris France where the first globally and legally binding agreement on climate change was adopted. He also accompanied Mr. President to the 71st General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, where he witnessed the signing of Paris Agreement on climate change by President Buhari. He also participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco as part of the Nigerian delegation led by President Buhari.
Most importantly, Rep. Sam Onuigbo has put together a panel of experts to fashion out a robust bill on a legislative framework on climate change Governance for the nation. The bill, entitled “CLIMATE CHANGE RESPONSES AND ACTIONS INTO GOVERNMENT POLICY FORMULATION AND IMPLEMENTATION, AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND OTHER RELATED PURPOSES”, has passed the second reading at the House of Representatives and has since been referred to the committee for further legislative actions. He also moved the motion urging the federal government not to delist Science and Management courses at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike. He followed up with a town hall meeting held with stakeholders of Ikwuano-Umuahia where resolutions were passed urging the federal government not to delist those courses.
In recognition of his exploits and commitments to Climate change challenges, he was elected the Vice President of Global Legislators Organization for Balanced Environment (GLOBE), an organization of parliamentarians in over 99 countries of the world committed to climate change and sustainable development. Recently also, Rep. Sam Onuigbo in furtherance to his commitment to make our environment safe was able to work with MDA’s to get an unprecedented N8billion naira for climate change issues.
In the area of representation and projects, Rep Onuigbo apart from attracting the reconstruction of Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ikot Ekpene Federal Road has also attracted the construction of classroom blocks at Ekebedi in Ikwuano LGA and Old Umuahia, in Umuahia South LGA and a borehole at Avonkwu in Umuahia North LGA.
He has also not only attracted the construction and renovation of health centers in Obuohia- Obi Ibere and Oloko in Ikwuano LGA, but made sure that the 3km Akpahia Obi Ohuru Road, Afugiri in Umuahia North LGA and the 9.5km road at Okwe- Obuohia Umuemenike- Ahia Orie Roads in Ikwuano LGA are all included in the NDDC budget. Rep. Sam Onuigbo as the chairman House Committee on climate change facilitated the erosion control at Amankwo Ezeleke, Umuopara in Umuahia South LGA and another one at Okwe, Oboro in Ikwuano LGA, as well as the grading of the Agbama- Ahiaukwu Olokoro roads.
Rep. Sam Onuigbo has also done a lot in the area of job creation as over 50 indigenes of his constituency have gotten employment in both public and private establishments through his assistance and recommendation.
To further boost the capacity of NTA Umuahia and Pacesetter FM Umuahia, Rep Sam. Onuigbo donated a brand new power generating set to NTA Umuahia and donated office equipment in replacement of the ones gutted by fire outbreak at Pacesetter FM.
Rep. Onuigbo in consonance with his belief in the education of his constituents has not only confirmed and sustained his scholarship programs but also purchased JAMB forms for over 30 students from his constituency in 2017.
As a believer in Agriculture as an alternative to oil revenue, Rep. Sam Onuigbo in conjunction with Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology organized a training and skill acquisition for youths and women in his constituency, after which the participants were empowered to establish their own fish farms. He also repeated same gesture when he aligned with National Automation Council and organized a training and workshop for mechanics in Ohiya, after which they were provided with machines and tools to aid their trade.
All these and much more were achieved in two years into the tenure of Rep. Sam Onuigbo. In the words of John Quincy Adams, “Good leaders are trailblazer, making a path for others to follow. Great leaders inspire their people and instill a can-do attitude in them through their achievements and dispositions towards public service”. That is what Rep Sam .I. Onuigbo represents.
Expect more and to God alone be the Glory.