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Sen . Umeh and Anambra’s quest for real voice in Red Chamber

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GOVERNOR of Anambra State, Dr. Willie Obiano (Agbokuedike) has been visiting local government council areas in for his  ‘Thank You Tour” to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) members, sympathizers and supporters for their tremendous support which secured him a second tenure.

Governor Obiano, who has been described as “mighty working governor” by an APGA faithful during his tour of Ayamelum Council Area, used the fora to make passionate appeals to the entire Anambra people and residents to vote en-mass for APGA candidates with whom he would conveniently work in synergy to advance the frontiers of socio-economic growth and development of Anambra State.

The recurring theme at the campaign rallies is the categorical imperative for Anambra State to have a ‘Ranking Senator’ for the first time “which has eluded her due to court actions sequel to electoral jinxes especially the 2015 general elections. Going down memory lane, it would be recalled that the then PDP candidate, Chief Mrs. Uche Ekwunife was declared winner of Anambra Central Senatorial District by INEC, while Chief Victor Umeh of APGA and Dr. Chris Ngige of then AC, were runners up.

Chief Umeh’s petition to the election tribunal led to the nullification of the poll which led to a re-run election. Not satisfied with the verdict, Ekwunife proceeded to the Court of Appeal which upheld the judgment of the tribunal. Again, feeling dissatisfied, she proceeded to the Supreme Court which re-affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal and called for a re-run which the indefatigable Umeh won.

The legal tussles that spanned the election tribunal to the Supreme Court threw up developments. Chief Mrs. Ekwunife left PDP for AC, the former APGA governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, left APGA and joined PDP and sort court action to join in the re-run election. However, the court did not grant the request.

The unfolding events as a result of the verdict of the election tribunal, presented another round of opportunity for the numerous PDP senatorial aspirants to strategize for another party primaries for a fresh senatorial candidate to emerge. Apparently fearful of the outcome of the PDP primaries, Ekwunife crossed carpet to APC; believing her political profile would enable her pick the party ticket left by Ngige but the state party members resisted her subtle move.

It is curious that history is repeating itself as Chief Mrs. Uche Ekwunife who went back to PDP is pitching against Senator Victor Umeh. To say that the battle would be interesting and nerve-racking may be stating the obvious. Two eminent academics had weighed the two senatorial candidates and returned a verdict of Umeh’s superiority.  At the Governor’s thank you campaign tour at the headquarters of Anaocha Local Government Area, the former vice chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University appealed to the voters to vote Senator Umeh to be a ranking member saying that as former teacher he would rate Umeh thus: “good, better, best”. Professor Chukwuma Soludo in his passionate appeal said: “Senator Victor Umeh has merited the title of Distinguished Senator and must be re-elected”.

In a similar vein, other party stalwarts like the transition chairman of Anaocha Local Government Council Area,  Ikem Ejiofor noted the impeccable attributes of Senator Victor Umeh, assuring Governor Obiano that Anaocha is the ‘citadel of APGA’ as all the candidates namely; Dozie Nwankwo for a second tenure in the  House of Representatives, Azubike [Odenigbo Agulu] for second tenure state House Of Assembly and the other APGA candidate for Anaocha 1 and 2 respecrively. Governor Obiano has been very particular about Senator Umeh in his thank you campaign rallies in the Anambra Central Senatorial District and stressed the need to vote massively for him to return to the senate as a “Ranking Senator”.  He said: “With Umeh being in the Senate for a second tenure, the profile of Anambra State in particular and Igbo nation in general will soar to reclaim our lost political glory as witnessed in the first republic politics”.

Well-meaning Anambra people would attest to the fact that Umeh has remained a dogged fighter in the cause he believes. Going by Umeh’s vibrancy in the Red Chamber, one would say that the prolonged legal tussles that delayed his presence in the Senate did not weigh him down psychologically. It is exhilarating to note that within eleven months, he acquitted himself creditably as a man of tremendous intellectual ability, boldness to speak against manifest injustice, inequity, versatility and above all marginalization of the south-east geo-political zone in the sharing of national patrimony and sensitive positions.

His articulate and eloquent deliveries in the floor of the red chamber on motions, bills and sundry assigned duties by the Senate President had earned him a profound admiration of his colleagues across the six geo-political zones of the country, even as he won an award as the best performing Senator of the year 2018.

One would say without fear of contradiction that for the first time, the voice of Ndi Igbo resonated in the National Assembly going by Senator Umeh’s presence along with his special Igbo chieftaincy attire with a spectacular long cap that attracted APGA slogan of ‘Okokoronkoo’ from other ethnic groups in the red chamber.

The constituents of Anambra Central Senatorial District should perform the rare feat it did in the last senatorial election by voting Umeh to be a ranking senator which will pave way for greater democracy dividends for the state in particular and Ndi Igbo in general. One would recall Umeh’s formidable contributions to the 2014 National Conference even as he came late.  “When Victor Umeh was sworn in by the chairman of the confab, he wasted no time in making profound and sagacious contributions like the restructuring of the largely lopsided country, creation of state police as antidote for the pervasive and intractable insecurity, condemned the excessive centralization and bureaucratization of MDA’s and then imperative of going back to the two-tier system to reinvent federal system of government as practiced in the first republic,” a labour activist had remarked.

Senator Umeh in his ‘Continuity Rally’ pleaded with Agulu-Awka constituents to vote for him along with member of House of Representatives , Chief Anayo Nnebe and member of House of Assembly, Dr. Nnamdi Okafor for second tenure to enable him become a ranking member of the senate. He enumerated scores of his achievements within the short period and said: “I have demonstrated boldness, courage and fearlessness in the Senate by championing the cause of the Igbo ethnic groups in general and Anambra State in particular.  Prominent senators from other states of the country have great respect for me and chant ‘kokoronkoo’ whenever I step in or speak on the floor of the red chamber”.

Umeh, who enumerated scores of bills and motions he had presented and passed in addition to the constituency projects he has delivered without cutting corners like his predecessors, advised his constituents in the Anambra Central Senatorial District to ignore the senatorial candidates of other political parties and return him for a second tenure. “Some of the senatorial candidates resort to guttersnipe languages and take pleasure in castigating me to belittle my exalted name and superlative accomplishments in the National Assembly”, the distinguished Senator said.

Umeh had listed scores of his contributions  in the hallowed chamber of the national legislature which raised the socioeconomic profile of Igbos in particular and Anambra State in particular. He cited the bill on the establishment of university of agriculture at Aguleri, inclusion of rail line in southeast geopolitical zone which was deliberately omitted in the last year’s budget, vehemently protested the omission of Igbo man in the board membership of the EFCC  and the assurance from the executive to correct the omission, youth empowerment with skill acquisition facilities with prospects of receiving non-collateral loan from the  CBN, construction of class room blocks in all the senatorial districts with the indigenes as contractors, distribution of tricycle without the fraud that had gone with previous distribution by former senators from the state, scholarship awards, bill on the stoppage of clamping children hawking items into detention with adults. The distinguished senator finally beat his chest for being the 2018 winner of overall motion presenter. “I believe in Igbo cause” Umeh concluded.

Earlier his speech, the coordinator of Senator Umeh’s ‘Continuity 2019,’ Chief Jude Emeka Agummadu, extolled the quality representation of Senator Victor Umeh and urged the constituents to vote for him to continue the marvelous representation which will never be matched by any other candidate seeking for their votes. “Voting Senator Victor Umeh, Ohamadike Ndi Igbo will enable us have a ranking member which goes with many advantages,” the astute grass-roots politician said.

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