In Just One Year, Senator Ezea Has Restored Igbo Nsukka’s Voice


Before he won the senatorial election by a landslide last year, Okey Ezea had been a longstanding fighter for the cause of Igbo Nsukka. Soon after he was sworn in as the senator representing Enugu North senatorial district in the 10th Senate, the new lawmaker, affectionately known as “Ideke” (after his private business, Ideke Shipping Limited), started speaking up for his people. He has spoken against Enugu North’s marginalisation in ministerial appointments since 1999. He has tabled the plight of Nimbo, Adani and other towns in Uzo-Uwani LGA, victims of terrorism and kidnapping. He has announced the death of his predecessor, Senator Ayogu Eze. He has regularly made useful contributions to debates in the Senate.

One bill, several motions

Video clips showing Senator Ezea raising motions and contributing to debates on the floor of the Senate have been commonplace on the web. Apart from raising motions, he, on April 30, presented a bill entitled “The Agricultural Research Council Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024”, which has since passed the first reading on the floor of the Nigerian Senate. The bill seeks the amendment of the Agricultural Research Council Act, to make provision for the creation of Federal College of Agriculture, Adani, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, Enugu State. That piece of legislation is currently making progress towards its passage into law.

Besides, Ideke has issued several statements condemning bad policies such as the demolition of people’s homes and business premises in Enugu State and the introduction of RUGA through the backdoor at Isi-Uzo and Uzo-Uwani LGAs. In defence of his constituents, the senator has condemned the demolition of Ogige Nsukka market without a mitigating alternative. He was with Nimbo people on condolence visits in the wake of terrorist killings and communal clashes. His motion on the floor of the red chamber attracted immediate national attention and the Senate’s directive to security operatives for effective policing of the area.

Projects we can see

Many of our people could be forgiven for expecting Senator Ezea to start awarding contracts for roads, electricity and housing estates in every clan in Enugu North senatorial district. But a few should not be forgiven for deliberately brewing mischief and diverting attention from the failures of the executive arm of government. They know that a senator belongs in the legislative arm and cannot do the work of a governor or president or even local government boss.

Because some former representatives failed our people, some believe the Labour Party candidate they have elected should make things happen at once, especially as the mandate they had given the LP governorship candidate, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, has been stolen. We know, however, that the legislature operates differently from the executive. A senator doesn’t have a vote or budget from which he awards contracts. Nobody gives a senator or rep cash from which they award contracts. Even the so-called constituency projects are handled by ministries, departments and agencies under the annual budget of the federal government. The 2023 budget, for instance, will expire on June 30, 2024. So the 2024 budget will officially commence on July 1, 2024. This explains why there’s no constituency project yet from any senator or rep of the 10th National Assembly since their inauguration on June 13, 2023. The ones done so far are the projects inherited from the 9th Assembly. These are verifiable facts.

Even in the face of these limitations of the legislative arm of government, Senator Ezea has worked hard to influence the commencement of work on the impassable Makurdi–Obollo-Afor–Opi–Ninth Mile expressway. He worked with Senator Chuka Utazi to ensure that contracts for the construction of three rural roads at Uzo-Uwani LGA were awarded in November 2023. We have a new orthopaedic hospital project in Aku, Igbo-Etiti LGA. And, very soon, work shall start on at least one solar-powered borehole in each of our six LGAs. To encourage night life and improve security, Senator Ezea plans to attract solar-powered street lights in strategic areas of Enugu North, including the UNN community. He also plans to attract agricultural empowerment for our people, including skills acquisition for women and youth across the six LGAs. All these should be expected from July 1.

In touch with the people

No week has passed without Senator Ezea spending time with people in his district. He mourns with the bereaved and rejoices with the lucky. He has paid condolence visits to scores of families — low and high — including those of the late JoeBest of Aku, Ayogu Eze, actor Junior Pope, Christopher Amoke, Dr Ambrose Eze, Nimbo and Adani attack victims. In each case, he left tears and a fat envelope.

He has sent congratulatory messages to almost everyone from his district that got elevated, among them the current chief of the naval staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, and the Igwe of Edem-Ani who is now the chairman of Enugu State and, recently, South-East traditional rulers’ councils.

Ideke has, therefore, remained In touch with the people through attendance at weddings, funerals, birthdays and other events. He bought (with his personal money) and shared more than 500 bags of rice to his constituents at Christmas. He has visited and made donations to orphanages. He has paid the hospital bills of indigent patients. His constituents receive heartwarming and educative messages at the beginning of each month and at festivals (Christmas, New Year, Easter, Eid-el- Fitr/Maulud, etc). A silent philanthropist, Ideke has offered scholarships to several people without publicising his humanitarian gestures.

Defeated smear campaigners

The detractors working to “pull Ideke down” have received knockout punches from his own media team. The job of defeating sponsored attackers has been made easy because, while the de-marketing team has used fabricated falsehood, the senator’s team has used truth as a weapon. They were silenced with facts when they claimed that every senator including Ideke had received N200m and later N500m for “Christmas rice” or “palliative rice”. Lies about a “medical outreach” sponsored by former governor Ugwuanyi were exposed. When the detractors used a lady (she had worked for the senator during the campaigns but got bought later) to spread falsehood with fabricated WhatsApp chats, they were unmasked yet again.

The propagandists have often tried to hoodwink the unsuspecting public into believing that a senator is comparable to a governor or a second- or third-time senator. Their misinformation or disinformation has been so crude that they recently authored an article asking Senator Ezea to maintain the traffic lights in Nsukka urban “bequeathed to him” by ex-governor Ugwuanyi! Could mischief be taken to a more ludicrous level?

Not that our people have now become too cowardly to demand accountability from the people who govern them in the state. It is a grand design by these paid elements to smear the name of Senator Ezea and consequently wet the ground for their paymaster who is hoping to run for Senate again in 2027.

A grateful heart

On April 6, a thanksgiving and grand reception in his honour took place in Nsukka. In church, Bishop Godfrey Onah admonished him to keep loving Nsukka as he did as a private businessman. The senator’s address on the occasion has remained an asset from which many quotable quotes are taken. The people of Enugu North should rest assured that they have a dependable senator who must ensure that whatever is his people’s due gets to them, he stated. He thanked attendees including co-senators, over 70 priests, over 40 traditional rulers, over 50 professors and other dignitaries from all walks of life.

Seven more years

In just one year, Enugu North has received national acclaim, thanks to Senator Ezea. Igbo Nsukka now has a fighter who cannot be intimidated or bought. More than 40 years ago, when he was a student senator at UNN, he fought for Nsukka’s emancipation. Later as a businessman, he returned from Lagos to seek justice for a slain UNN security man. He canvassed an opportunity for an Nsukka prof to become the vice-chancellor of the UNN for the first time since 1960. As a businessman, he created jobs for hundreds of ndi Nsukka in Nigeria and overseas.

When he ran for governor under the Labour Party in 2007, he was popular. But election results were prepared in advance of polling day. Only in 2023 did his people insist on free and fair polls. Then he won!

Other things being equal, Senator Okey Ezea will win a second term in 2027 with even more votes. Having seen his achievements in just one year, the people of Enugu North hope that the harvests in the next seven years will be even more bountiful.


Most Popular

To Top