By Ugochukwu Ogbu
It was indeed jubilation time at Nsukka Igboeze South Federal Constituency for the constituents during the official declaration of Barr Ike Maximus Ugwuoke a.k.a Hakuna Matata to run for House of Representative of the constituency. The event which was organized last Wednesday by the Hakuna Matata Support Group at his hometown, Ehalumona, Nsukka LGA of Enugu State witnesses a large turnout of crowd in thousands comprising of Hakuna Matata Support Group members, APC party members and stake holders from the 36 wards in the constituency to state level many, dignitaries, community elders, the youth and his numerous supporters who chanted songs of solidarity and support for him.
In his opening remark, the chairman of the occasion, Hon. Emeka Umeakukar, South-East Coordinator of “I stand with Buhari Campaign Organization” welcomed the people present and expressed his happiness with the people who sacrificed their time to come and answer the call of one of their sons. Speaking through Hon Barr Fedinard Ugo Ukwueze, the Director General of Hakuna Matata Support group he said that Nsukka / Igboeze South Federal Constituency had in the past 16 years been seeking for a competent candidate to represent them at Federal House of Representatives, but has found none. “But thanks to God that one of our sons has answered this call in the person of Barr. Ike Maximus Ugwuoke, a human right lawyer, a veteran author of many published books, Editor in Chief of AMEN Supernews Newspaper and a man of many other capacities. He is a quality product that needs to be taken to the world” he said.
According to him, “Nsukka / Igboeze South Constituency deserve a qualitative representation after all these years, indeed somebody who is intellectually alert and competent to represent them at the Federal House of Representatives. So today marks the beginning of a political exodus for the people of Nsukka / Igboeze from Egypt like the people of Israel, victoriously, into the Promised Land. I call on all and sundry to contribute to making this vision a success, in order to rescue this constituency from the shackles of the present poor representation”
Mounting the rostrum, without mincing words, Barr. Ugwuoke declared formally that he wants to run for Nsukka / Igboeze South Federal Constituency seat, and pleaded that he should be supported with prayers, while at the same time promising that he would not disappoint his constituents.
He disclosed that though he was happy, blessed and satisfied with his work as a lawyer of over ten years standing, he is not joining the race for self gratification or vainglory. He maintained that if not because he had the desire to serve, had something to offer and had innate call to go and represent his people so that their voice will be heard in the country, he would have preferred to enjoy his private life. In his speech titled, “Sunrise of Change from the East”, he said. “Where you are today is Nsukka East, this is where I come from. You know that in human history wise men do come from the East just as the sun always rises from the East. Today, another sun is rising from the Eastern part of this Constituency and that sun is the sunrise of change.”
Continuing, he stated;“Why sunrise of Change? The reason is obvious, in our constituency;
“We have been experiencing sunset that has lasted for a long period of time. We have been in the dark for the past 16years yet we have representatives and political office holders from our wards to the Federal level who do not care about our welfare, who do not care about the man in the street that is hungry and begging, who do not care about our youths especially graduates that are jobless, who do not know that indigent pregnant women, our children and old people need care, who have not realized the great potentials in the natural resources, vast cash crops and mineral deposit, that God has blessed our constituency with.
“We cannot abandon our future to the balderdash of political cabals who do not hold our future but are merely poised to watch over it by our mandate. Our future is in the hands of God, Power belongs to Him and so we cannot continue to be lukewarm in the face of political cankerworm that had not only cracked our common cake but have continued to consume it in our names leaving us with the deceptive fiery tell that it is infested with maggots. Let the sympathy of our children’s future kill our apathy for political participation because in politics our future is decided. It is for this reason that I offer myself for this race,” he stated.
Stating why he chose to run on platform of APC, he said, “We have had enough of the recycling of same old order of representations in our constituency with the attendant leadership failures and inertia. The most tragic is their continued quest for continuity at all costs. APC has a broom as its symbol. The broom is used to sweep clean the house. When you get to a dirty house, you don’t use umbrella to sweep, rather we use the broom. Nsukka Igboeze South Federal Constituency has not had a viable representation over the year, our constituency has more to offer than what we are offering now, and our constituency is a place that all of us should be proud to come from. It is for this reason that I chose this broom so that we can sweep away the old order and the new order will come.
Speaking on the vision of what he intends to achieve at the Federal House as encapsulated in the acronym he tagged “I –WEB Road Map”, he challenged his people to hold him accountable to it if they don’t see it happening under his watch as their representative at the green chambers..
Unveiling the meaning of the acronym he said “I” stands for – INTERACTIVE REPRESENTATION / COMMUNICATION. Under this, Barr Ugwoke pledges to remedy the situation of inaccessible representation which has hitherto bedeviled the constituency. According to him, “our present leaders are not accessible. How can one be claiming to represent a people one doesn’t interact with? How can one know their problems and proffer solutions for them?. So the first thing I intend to do is to maintain interactive sessions with my people through Town Hall meetings, social and mass media. ”W”, he explained, stands for WELFARE PROGRAMMES. Barr. Ugwuoke stated that through his close work with Multi-life Savers for the Less Privileged People, Rev. Fr. Mbaka’s official NGO, his engagement in human right activism, and probono services he had been interacting with the poor and downtrodden in the society in their numbers and has been able to understand what it means to be poor. He therefore promised to provide welfare packages for the Indigent people of his constituency through Educational Scholarship Trust Fund, Health Care Trust Fund, and Contingency Fund for Traders, Artisans, and SMEs in Nsukka /Igboeze South Federal Constituency. The legal luminary pledges not to give his constituents fish but to teach them how to catch fish themselves. Continuing he said that the “E” stands for EMPLOYMENT / EMPOWERMENT-BASED CONSTITUENCY PROJECTS. He said “Certain amounts of money are reserved for constituency projects at the Federal House. He promised to channel such money to projects that will create employment and empower the good people of Nsukka / Igboeze South Federal Constituency. Once elected, he said, “I will spearhead and undertake projects such as; establishment of constituency based Agro-Allied factories for harnessing and processing of the vast cash crops noteable cashews, oranges, cassava, palm produce etc. I will bring the attention of the Federal Government to bear on the exploration of the mineral deposits found in my constituency especial the oil deposit discovered at Ehandiagu part of my town some years ago which has been politicized over the years. The employment these projects would bring to our teaming youths and unemployed people will be alarming”. He finally explained the “B” stands for BILL SPONSORSHIP AND MOTIONS. He assured his people that he was not going to be a back bencher at the Legislative house but will be a proactive and ingenuous contributor to bills and motions in the house that would engender the progress of the nation, and change the fortunes of Nsukka/Igboeze South constituency stating that his legal training in legislative drafting and conversance with the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a practicing lawyer has already armed him for the job.. He regretted that NGOs including Churches in Nigeria provide practical solution to 80% of the problems of the poor masses more than political office holders and public institutions yet no amount is allocated to these NGOs in the nation’s budget. For this reason, he promises to initiate and sponsor a Bill he tagged “Charitable Non-Profit Organizations Complementary Bills” assuring that the bill will reposition NGOs in Nigeria, including churches in solving the vast social problems in the country, which ordinarily are the primary duties of the government.
Reacting to his speech, many of the guests at the occasion pledge their support ensure his success his bid. Noteable among them was Chinedu Okeosisi, the Nsukka Zonal Chairman of APC and State Vice Chairman of the Party who spoke on behalf of the state Chairman. He described Barr Ugwuoke as young, vibrant and appropriate for the position. Other persons who took their turns to speak at the event and pledge their support for Ugwuoke were the Igboeze South LGA chairman of APC, Ezebunafo, the Zonal Secretary of the party Okenwa, the Local Government Women leaders, the Ward Chairmen and other contributors.