BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
JANUARY 20 was a special day for Chief Charles Chinwendu Odedo, a member of House of Representatives representing Idemili Federal Constituency, Anambra State.
Apart from Senator Chris Ngige, Chief Odedo is the only federal lawmaker elected on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in the South-East geo-political zone.
Having gone through rigorous legal tussles that lasted for nearly two out of the four year tenure to recover his mandate in 2008, which has been renewed last year, and given the projects he had attracted or executed in his constituency, Odedo was the toast of eminent persons who converged at a town hall meeting he held penultimate week.
Odedo, who said his plan, is to touch all the 17 communities in his constituency, said so far Ogidi, Nkpor, Ideani, Uke, Abatete, Umuoji, Abacha, Oraukwu, Eziowelle, Obosi, Nnobi, Ojoto, Alor, Nnokwa, Akwukwu, Oba and Awka-Etiti have each benefited from at least two major federal projects he attracted.
These include motorized boreholes, solar-powered street lights, construction reconstruction of decayed primary/secondary school buildings. Though his women/youth empowerment and poverty alleviation schemes, the legislator has given out about 40
Commuter buses, sowing machines, generating sets, motor-cycles, hairdressing/salon equipment and accessories, poultry/piggery funds and other classes of vehicles.
So far, about 15 of the 17 communities have benefited from the 47 vehicles he had presented.
As part of his legislative duties, Odedo held a Town Hall meeting with his constituents two week ago during which he handed over some vehicles, scholarship scheme, a community Library and Computer centre, at Nnobi in Idemili South LGA. He also used the occasion to present three units of 18-seater buses to three private secondary schools, viz-Madonna International academy, Trinity Model School and Seat of Wisdom School, all located in Nnobi. He used the event to stress the importance of education, which he contended was the answer to idleness, unemployment, armed robbery, kidnap and general insecurity in the area.
Odedo has challenged other lawmakers – Tambuwal
At the event, Speaker of the Federal House of Representative, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was represented by Hon Chris Azubogu, said he was very proud to be associated with Odedo.
Commending Odedo for his achievements that have endeared him to his constituents, Tambuwal said other members of the Lower Chamber of the National assembly have been given a challenge to take a cue from Odedo’s commitment to service.
He is a committed lawmaker – Ngige
Senator Chris Ngige appreciated the qualities of Odedo and his commitment to the welfare of the people through his numerous life-enhancing projects. He said that the Senate committee on Power where he is the deputy chairman was currently working hard to step up the quality and quantity of power supply in the country as a subtle measure towards tackling joblessness, insecurity, restiveness and idleness in the country. He charged the people of the area to endeavour to build on the achievements of the lawmaker for a better society.
Traditional ruler of Nnobi community, HRH Igwe Nick Obi, Omenyili spoke in like manner and commended the lawmaker for his selfless service and industry.
Education greatest form of empowerment – Odedo
Arguing that education is the greatest form of empowerment, and that campaign promises should be realistic and fulfilled, Odedo, who flagged off the construction of the first set of blocks of classrooms at the Community Secondary School, Abacha in Idemili North council, said it was in fulfillment of his 2011 general election campaign promise to the community, that he would build a secondary school in the community if elected.
Decrying the high number of jobless youths roaming the streets in the state, the lawmaker bemoaned a situation where Anambra is the most expensive state to acquire education in the country.
He therefore called on the Gov Peter Obi administration to consider declaration of free education at primary and secondary levels in the state and limiting the tuition cost of university education for indigenes to N20,000.
He commended Rivers, Delta, Sokoto and Imo states for making education free in their states, noting “the heavy burden of education for you today will be the prosperity and security we will enjoy in the years to come”.
The inspiration to make the best out of youths in the area, he acknowledged, was part of what inspired him to build the library, computer and skill acquisition centres.
He therefore urged others who are richly endowed and in positions of authority to do something and “take action to save our youth in the interest of the larger society because my heart bleeds whenever I see many able-bodied youths aimlessly roaming the streets and motor parks in cities as touts today, knowing they could have been world-class sprinters, academic or footballers if only high tuition fees had not prevented them from going to school.”