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NIGERIA: ‘Aba’s voice is being heard in Abuja’

By June 2013, he would have clocked two years in the National Assembly as the member representing Aba Federal Constituency in the Nigeria’s House of Representatives. To some people, two years may be no basis for evaluation of his performance since he has two more years to serve out his tenure. But in the reckoning of his constituents, Hon. Uzo Azubuike, might have done a lot in two years to earn him some credit.

And to make this a reality, the Aba Ngwa Traditional Rulers Council, on Monday, May 20, rolled out drums to celebrate their own. Azubuike is the Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions. The reception had in attendance the Speaker of House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and his deputy, Sir Emeka Ihedioha, both of whom were conferred with the chieftaincy titles of “Ikeoha Aba Ngwa” (The Strength of a People) and “Ebube Ngwa” (The Wonder ofAba Ngwa) respectively at the occasion.

Governor Theodore Ahamaefula Orji, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu, who also bagged a chieftaincy title at the event, and a host of federal lawmakers were also present. Azubuike’s foray into politics started as Supervisory Councilor in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Council, then he became the Secretary to Aba North Local Government, after which he moved to the House of Assembly where he served two terms, and rose to become the Deputy Speaker. He later got elected to the House of Representatives in 2011.

Speaker after speaker at the event extolled the virtues of the lawmaker. For instance, Tambuwal, who spoke after he was conferred with the traditional title, said: “I want to thank you for the gift of members of the House of Representatives from Abia. I remember when Uzo Azubuike was campaigning, he wrote on his posters: “So that Aba will be heard.”

He continued: “I want to thank the people of Aba for the gift of Uzo Azubuike, who is doing a great job for the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions. So far, as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, I have not received any report from any quarters that Uzo Azubuike has not done any assignment given to him. Aba has chosen the right person to represent them in the House.”

Ihedioha spoke in the same vein,saying “Abia has eight members in the House of Representatives; four of them are chairmen of very important committees. It was a deliberate effort to give Abia the chairmanship of important committees to make Abia count.”

The senator representing Azubuike’s senatorial district and Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Enyinnaya Abaribe, while acknowledging a letter of invitation to the reception, said: “This royal reception in your honour by the highest custodians of our culture is a further testament that a gold fish even in any environment cannot hide”.

Azubuike’s colleague and representative of Obingwa/Osioma Ngwa and Ugwunagbor Ngwa Federal Constituency, Hon. Eziuche Ubani, said: “This rare honour, no doubt, is in recognition of your meritorious service to your constituency.”

Hon. Nikiri Onyejoicha, who was also present at the event, described the honour done to her colleagues by the traditional rulers in his constituency as a befitting testimonial to his constituents and the entire people of Abia State even as the President of Pan-African Parliament, Hon. Bethel Amadi, said’. “This is indeed a manifestation of your acceptance by your people.

It is my fervent prayer that the Almighty God who had led you this far, will grant you the grace to excel and to justify this confidence reposed in you by your people.” The Rector of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Elder A.A Ohukaogu, in whose school the event held, told the people that over 150 students of the institution were enjoying the lawmaker’s scholarship.

Azubuike made us proud— Traditional rulers

In an addressed jointly signed by them, the monarchs, who convened the event, said: “Inspite of our apolitical nature, we watch with keen interest the activities and performances of political office holders in our domain. This is with a view to commending the commendable and recommending for improvement where necessary.

Since inception of Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency, we have seen representation after representation. We make bold to say unequivocally and without trepidation that we have not seen such a robust, purposeful, faithful and unprecedented representation such as this- courtesy of our son Hon. Barr. Uzo Azubuike.”

The position of the traditional rulers was corroborated by the Speaker of Abia State House of Assem bly, Hon. Ude-Oko Chukwu, who said: ”A gold fish they say has no hiding place and you, Hon. Barr. Uzo Azubuike, are one. Hence it is no surprise that the Aba Ngwa Traditional Rulers Council and the entries people of Aba Federal constituency have wisely decided to organize a prestigious royal and civic reception in your honour.”

Political connotations

It was no political rally but simply a royal reception. But it left everyone following the speculation that Governor Orji was already shopping for a trusted ally to succeed him in 2015 from Ngwa extraction of Abia State which comprises nine local government areas.

This is informed by the thinking that it is the turn of the Ngwa people in Abia South and Central to produce the governor after Bende and old Umuahia had been represented by former Governor Orji Uzo Kalu and T. A. Orji. In the reckoning of the many observers of political developments in the state, the pendulum might be swinging in Azubuike’s direction.

Reception not about 2015— Orji

Orji made efforts to disabuse the minds of those linking the reception to the 2015 gubernatorial race. “We are here to celebrate one of our own, Hon. Uzo Azubuike; that is why we are here. Abia State has continued to sing the song that things are getting better. Uzo Azubuike is one of those people that are making things better in Abia,”the governor said.

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