When Ogbuoji is eventually sworn-in on May 29 next year, the only language in the state would be leadership.
When a political office holder in the legislative arm becomes an engine of positive influence and empowerment to his people, then if he comes to the saddle as the chief executive of a state, the only thing that can happen is leadership. The point of discussion here is the senator representing Ebonyi South district in the Nigerian Senate. That is Senator Sonni Ogbuoji.
When he indicated his interest to vie for the number one position in his state, he sounded to some like someone that wasn’t serious about it. But at the end of 2017, Ogbuoji had started the moves to actualize this when he mooted his intent after joining the APC at a public function at the home of the Science and Technology Minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.
Today, the reality has jolted the political equation of the state, after they earlier dismissed him as not being a force. As it stands now, especially after the APC rally in Abakaliki in August, Ogbuoji, who hasn’t a history of losing election since 1990 when he vied for and won as the chairman of the old Afikpo LGA then in Imo and later Abia State, the tide is fast turning in his favour.
If you would want to know what Ogbuoji did with that office, better ask Edda undergraduates the first chairman and possibly the only one till date that ever gave them bursary awards. Ogbuoji it was. He handled such outstanding achievement while also developing the council headquarters as the pioneer chairman of Edda, Afikpo South, and also floated the LGA mass transit that was a relief and economic impetus to his businessmen kinsmen shuttling Aba and other nearby cities everyday for business.
The political forces in the state presently had been inadvertently kind to Ogbuoji for refusing deliberately to deliver leadership, thereby making it easy for him to make a political capital of the failings of the administration. A combination of his personal achievements and the failings of the state government form a potent blend that will propel Ogbuoji for sure victory.
As it stands in Ebonyi today, the political awareness and maturity of the state that is just three years older than this political session, has so crystallized that Ebonyi doesn’t give a hoot about party, but the individual they believe would deliver something different from the prevailing order of governance privatization, culture of hunger and hardship especially on the civil servant based economy of the state.
After we took a tour of the five LGAs of the state under the senatorial jurisdiction of Ogbuoji in the past seven and half years, we were convinced that Ogbuoji possibly prepared his dossier for victory ahead of time.
We visited Ugwulangwu in Ohaozara LGA to see the solar powered water borehole, the block of classrooms in the town’s primary school and heard of the computers he donated to the secondary school, and also the primary healthcare centre in Mgbalaukwu, Onicha LGA.The natives confirmed these to us. We also saw his exploits in attracting projects to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ikwo, the College of Education in the same town, even owned by the state, the projects at the College of Agriculture, Ishiagu, so many of his footprints in the development of the Akanu Ibiam Polytechnics, and the fresh Federal School of Transport Technology, Edda he attracted and more.We were convinced that with the other projects in Afikpo, Ivo and Edda, he is good to go.
When Ogbuoji is eventually sworn-in on May 29 next year, the only language in the state would be leadership. That would be leadership owned and directed by the people of Ebonyi, a total departure from the privatized government of today.
Ogbuoji has not left his people in poverty knowing that unemployment is a major cancer in the land. That is why he has influenced the provision of jobs for 123 Ebonyians spread across his senatorial district and a little further. A comprehensive list given us by his aide at the National Assembly of verifiable and known individual he assisted to get jobs was lucid. Of these Nigerians, 106 are senior staffers while 17 are in the junior cadre. This figure doesn’t include another 61 constituents Ogbuoji assisted into courses and trainings in federal agencies.
Regarding his core duty of legislation, Ogbuoji has been members of as many as six senate committees and since inception been vice chairman of the committee on appropriation and special duties, members of agriculture, education and many other committees. He co-sponsored many bills including the bill against ‘’Same Sex Marriage,’’ and singlehandedly sponsored the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine (Establishment) Bill, 2015. This Bill was signed by the President in 2018 into law. These exploits are no way comparable to his competitors who have no such records from their previous position before becoming governor.
Nigerians need to know that every inch of road constructed in every local government is paid for by the LGA. However, these roads are state roads, but when handled in any LGA, the cost is deducted from the LGA allocation. The economy of the state heavily relies on civil servants’ earning. But in the past three years and half, the state hasn’t experienced the little burst of economic energy that comes with end of the month when salaries are paid because the salaries have been slashed down by a government that had sided with the labour to fight for increase when Governor Martin Elechi was in charge. After the battle for the increase was won, Umahi came to the driving seat, and even that amount paid by Elechi was not continued.
The resources of the state are not so low to sustain better earnings and dividends for the workers in a prudent system. With the state’s average N2.5bn monthly allocation and some paltry internal revenue Ogbuoji plans a beef up through agric development and minerals extraction as well as the definite revival of the Nigercem at Nkalagu. Senator Ogbuoji is surely going to office to rewrite the economic and leadership story of the state for good.
Ogbuoji wants to give back the state to all citizens of the state, reinvent the unity of the state as enunciated from the creation and revive enterprise, create policies that would withdraw the Ebonyi young people from hawking and riding okada in Nigerian major cities and redirect them to gainful enterprise and secure the future of the state.
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Emewu, a journalist, writes from Lagos