Wednesday, 20 May 2020

RT. HON IKE EZEUGWU: LEGISLATOR PER EXCELLENCE

Rt. Hon. Ike Ezugwu
Onyekachi Ugwu

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have taken the path of engaging in this matter in deference to the belief of Rt. Hon. Ike Ezeugwu on matters of social media attacks against his person that "no amount of lies and fabrications has the potency to subsume even the tiniest of truths" but having being mentioned in a post by Emeka Hyginus and amplified by Enugu Journalist, which sought to call to question the representation of our leader, Rt. Hon Ike Ezeugwu in the House of Assembly, I am propelled to put things in proper perspectives regardless that the author had chosen the path of attempting to muzzle me so as not to respond, which runs against the mills of informed interrogation of issues.

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The man Rt. Hon Ike Ezeugwu is a leader per excellence, an urbane, humane, sagacious and astute man of enthralling excellences. Charismatic as he is refined and focused, his representation of our people in the House of Assembly has borne and continued to bear ennobling fruits.

Let me digress a little and start from the beginning. Firstly, I was instrumental to his seeking any political position having heard about him and understudied his nobility of actions over the years. It all started one early morning when I went to his country home at Igugu and urged him to "run" and this was informed by my belief that if as a private person he was always reaching out to our people, the tendency that he will use any official position given to him to do more was there. He gave my plea the kind consideration it deserved and presented himself for election, more especially, being that the entirety of Udenu People believed that our then representative was not in any way near the optimal.

Upon election, he initiated a scholarship programme for our indigent but intelligent youths. The scholarship programme started with ten undergraduates, selected from the ten wards of Udenu. He was later to increase the selection to 20 which meant two undergraduates from each Ward. This started in 2013 and the 20 people were selected by Prof Malachy Okwueze, then Deputy VC , Academic, UNN and Rev. Fr. Charles Ushi, then of Obolloafor parish. It is interesting to note that he didn't even know the people selected from any ward till the day cheques were handed over to the beneficiaries. As at last December when he was giving out cheques for the new batch of 20 undergraduates, 20 people from the ten wards of Udenu had graduated from the scheme. By the time he will be leaving at the end of this tenure, 40 persons would have graduated from this scheme. Let me be kind to ask: How many graduates were sponsored by those who represented Udenu Constituency in the State House of Assembly before him? So it is a disservice to honesty to wave off this philanthropic gesture for the mere fact that one Reverend Father from Amalla is also doing similar thing.

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Does the author and promoters of this post know that previous administration yanked off Udenu ring Road from the budget in 2013 when it was presented to the State House of Assembly. It was Hon Ikechukwu Ezeugwu who through his friendly disposition and diplomacy that convinced his colleagues to re- insert it. If it was not seen to be occurring annually in the budget since the years of Hon. Princess Eugenia Ogbu, it would have been difficult to start it when it was started. There was every justification for it to be started being the priority number one project chosen by the entire Udenu people during each year's VEC initiative by representatives of the State government. This ring road traverses seven communities in Udenu. Hon Ikechukwu Ezeugwu's Community is not any of this seven. Barr Ifeanyi Ossai had always told the story of how he and Hon Ezeugwu literally trekked the whole 37km stretch of that road with the State Ministry of Works during the scopping stage. Needless to talk of the logistics involved. What else is representation than the aggressive pursuit of what shall benefit the masses?

We won’t be fair if we do not cite RAMP Road project which is part of the 271km roads being constructed in the three senatorial areas of the State. The alleged road that passes through Hon Ezeugwu's residence is a 6km stretch which passes through to Rev. Fr Ugwueze's residence at Umundu, the family compound of Mr Sylvanus Onoyima (Due Process) , the residence of Msgr, Thaddeus Onoyima and through Orege Umundu and burst out near Udenu local government headquarters Obollo Afor, to serve our local people. This is a rural access road and can only pass the test of World Bank if it is truly rural ie meandering in the nooks and cranny of the locality. Is it not funny that the author cited this road without benefit of information? By all ramifications, Hon Ike Ezeugwu is a quintessential leader whose stint as the Leader Enugu State House of Assembly has evidenced harmony between Executive and the Legislature. This takes high level of horse trading, great understanding, compartment and wisdom.

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In 2015 at Obudu Cattle Ranch during a Legislative Retreat for the Houses of Assembly in Nigeria by Konrad Adeneur Stinturg, a German based NGO, Hon Ike was a member of a 7 man Steering Committee charged with putting in place a body of all the members of the state Houses of Assembly in Nigeria. To that extent, he travelled to Collarado USA to understudy the NCSL, ie National Council of State Legislatures of America, a body comprising all the Legislatures of the 50 States in America. The team came back , got to work and today had in place, CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES OF NIGERIA. This feat had the imprimataur of our great parliamentarian. Today, our representative and Leader Enugu State House of Assembly is the Treasurer of this body, implying that he is an upward and mobile legislator.

In February, 2016, the Speakers of the five South East states met with representatives of PERL/DFID at Awka, Anambra for the need to form a regional body of state Legislatures to be run by the leaders of the five South East state Houses of Assembly. The leaders were not in the meeting but our representative was unanimously chosen to drive the SOUTH EAST LEGISLATIVE AND GOVERNANCE REFORM COMMITTEE. He is today, the Leader of the Leaders of the five South East state Houses of Assembly. One out of many of their reforms is that since June, 2019, all the State Houses Assembly in the South East use one uniform Standing Order during Plenary etc. What a feat.

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Needless to state that if not for COVID-19, he would have been through with his Ph.D in Finance. Is this the kind of person someone who doesn't know him should fool himself to guess his personality? Well, Ike is an asset to Udenu and Enugu State. Should we be talking about projects attracted to Udenu? Well, he is the Governor's representative and so we can't be discussing him in isolation. To cap it up, the job of a legislator is law making. In this wise, aside executive bills he presents as the leader of the House, Rt. Hon Ike has sponsored so many bills all which had passed all legislative litimus test and passed and signed into law. I will advise, or rather suggest, that before we engage this kind of essay, we should divest our personal thinking and go into fact finding. That way, we will be doing a great service to ourselves and society. Thanks and let's keep this debate safe and sane.

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