Senator Ezea to Nsukka: I Won’t Dash Your Hopes



Ndi be anyi

Today, I address you with a mixed sense of joy and emotion. Through your votes on 25th February, 2023, you chose me to be your eye, mouth and ear at the 10th Senate, not because I was the richest or the most politically connected but because, for the first time in over three decades, you wanted your votes to count. You spoke with one voice to decide that I, Okey Ezea, should represent you at the Senate.

That decision to vote for me is particularly emotive for two reasons: one, it marked the first time in our recent history that Nsukka people truly voted in a national election and ensured that their votes were allowed to count; two, it evokes tears in my eyes whenever I realise that I am the beneficiary of that collective decision.

While recognising that the decision to elect me as your senator is a testament to your belief in my capacity, I also understand the enormity of the expectations that lie in between. I promise never to allow that hope to evaporate. Yes, many who worked hard for my victory have not been rewarded. But what reward is greater than the ways we’re creating to make life easier and happier for everyone in our zone? Regrettably, unlike the executive, lawmakers have limited functions.

This is not an occasion to heap praises on myself, but I am here to assure you that you have not made a mistake by choosing me. In nine months, I have not just learned the ropes as a first-time senator; I have been a party to a squad of go-getters in the National Assembly (whom you elected also) to make the voice of Enugu North heard loud and clear. It’s not just on the floor of the National Assembly that our struggles have come in full bloom. We have also done the job behind the cameras, microphones and loudspeakers. Thus, the marginalisation of our district in the distribution of federal appointments and projects is no longer beer-parlour talk. The nation has heard our cry for justice and equity.

As you know, my interactions with my colleagues in the National Assembly, with many ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government have started to produce good fruit. This is evident in the ongoing reconstruction of the dilapidated Makurdi–Obollo–Opi– Ninth Mile expressway which has lately been in the news. Those who have visited Ninth Mile and Makurdi recently know that something has already started happening on the road and I am reliably informed by the federal authorities that, in a few weeks, work on that highway will gather steam at several points. I have not stopped pestering the Federal Ministry of Works and the China Harbour Engineering Ltd, the contractors handling the project, to whom the minister, HE Engr. Dave Umahi, has since introduced to me.

Also, the ongoing three rural road projects at Uzo-Uwani which I inherited from Sen. Chukwuka Utazi is moving on smoothly. Granted, the roads were attracted during the 9th Senate to which Sen. Utazi was a member; however, because of the nature of our budgeting system that ensures that budget implementation takes place in the succeeding year, the actual award of the projects took place last November, five clear months after my inauguration in June last year. It took collaborative efforts between me and Senator Utazi to ensure that the projects were not diverted after the dissolution of the 9th Assembly.

Again, we are currently working with the National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu, to establish an annex at Aku, and by the special grace of God the construction works at the site of the annex will commence soon, as it has been captured in the 2024 budget. In the current fiscal year, we shall also be constructing and installing solar-powered boreholes in several communities in the zone. This is in addition to the construction and installation of solar street lights in some communities across the senatorial district, including the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, which we intend to embark on in the current year.

Rest assured that I will always give my best in the Senate. What I am currently doing and what I plan to do may not meet the expectations of many victims of our national economy. But there will be steady progress until we achieve all our aims. Where we are today is indeed far better than where we were in the past.

Given the overwhelming support I garnered across the senatorial district in the last election, every person in Enugu North feels a sense of ownership of the political process. The people’s project and the attendant victory have ignited a sense of consciousness in our people in a manner never seen before. That’s why, in a departure from the past, our people now ask pertinent questions on issues of governance and insist that answers be provided. I believe that this has simply been made possible by a new sense of inclusion hitherto lacking in our body-politic. That feeling of inclusiveness, on its own, is a great achievement for our people; I alone won’t claim the credit. And I am ever ready to answer your questions. My door is always open to receive visitors and to reply to messages.

While I continue to strive to offer my best in the Senate, I plead for your patience and understanding. Beyond my primary duty as a lawmaker, most of the other things I do to offer quality representation at the National Assembly are still being fashioned out. I’ve said this before. In the coming weeks and months, most of what we are doing will become clearer to you.

Finally, it is my singular honour to use this auspicious occasion to appeal for the support of every enlightened Nsukka person in my quest to reposition our zone for greatness. Our political beliefs and philosophies may take different leanings, but I nonetheless wish to urge our leaders to understand that campaigns and elections are over and actual governance should, at this point, be about our people.

Even though we all fought from different standpoints, I particularly believe that the Nsukka interest is paramount in the decisions of all who fought from different positions. For those who have followed my political trajectory, it is needless to restate that the interest of Nsukka has always defined, and will always be, the whole essence of my being in politics. Given our shared understanding of the need for a more progressive Nsukka cultural zone, I urge our people to come together at this point to attend to the needs of our people. In keeping with the age-long saying that a house divided against itself cannot stand, I invite our people to the reality of the fact that it is only in unity we can make appreciable progress.

Going forward, I will work in union with other political and business elites from the zone to revive our think-tanks or groups that hitherto served as platforms for the crystallization of ideas and engagement of the Nsukka people. I believe that such a rallying point would be a veritable take-off point in our quest for a more united Nsukka.

Nsukka kwenu! Nsukka kwenu!

Thank you. Thank you very much. May God bless you all.

Enugu North Senatorial District

6th April, 2024

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