A POPULAR Igbo saying has it that if a child’s washes his hands clean, he is therefore admitted to feast with elders. This wise saying of the Igbo people of South East of Nigeria finds fulfillment in the life and personality of Rt Hon. Chukwuemeka Ihedioha.
Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Ihedioha, who represents Aboh Mbaise/ Ngor Okpakala Constituency in the Federal House of Assembly was born in Aronta Mbutu in March, 1965.
As a post-civil war Nigerian child, his emergence in the political turf of Nigeria represents an important shade and a wish fulfillment for the generational shift campaign being canvassed by majority of Nigerian youths.
As a young man born in that era that Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka would prefer to describe as a ”generation of historical accident”, Ihedioha, through dint of hard work, got proper and well- rounded education that prepared him for the present day responsibilities.
Educated at Town School Mbutu Mbaise, St Ephraim Secondary School Okpala, University of Lagos and later, Stanford university and Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Ihedioha was professionally trained and nurtured in the art of management and legislative dexterity.
In the course of his political career, Ihedioha has been privileged to work with , and learnt from notable political titans and tacticians. He worked closely with the that late Gen Shehu Yar’Adua, the late Senate President, Chuba Okadigbo and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar both as personal aides and media spokesperson.
The experience drawn from the political interactions with these political heavyweights manifest in Ihedioha’s great power of mobilisation, consensus building ability and transformational visions that embody in his politics and philosophy. It is these characteristics that also shape some of the positive and life-changing developmental feats being recorded in his constituency.
It is also important to add that the quality of education that Ihedioha got from Nigeria’s University of first choice, the University of Lagos and from the two Ivy league institutions in the United States of America, Stanford and Harvard universities are equally pointers to the quality of leadership management that he has excellently exhibited in his capacities as former Chairman, House Committee on Maritime; member, Joint Committee on Constitutional Amendment; Chairman, Ad hoc Committee on process and procedures of obtaining local and foreign loans; Chairman, Sub-committee on the Review of the Police Act and Nigerian branch representative, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
Coming to his performance in his Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala constituency, the image of Ihedioha looms very large and his youthful zest has equally attracted a kind of cultic following, especially from the youthful community, who see in his presence in power politics as conforming to the 21st century generational thinking.
And he has not disappointed them. A review of his constituency projects in the two local governments show that they are youths centred.
Coming from his own background as an indigent student, who by dint of luck and essentially also through the help of education rose to where he is today, Ihedioha in his two tenure stay in the Federal House of Assembly has invested so much in the rehabilitation and re-equipment of schools.
He understands the importance of primary school education and the very vital role it plays in the sustenance of education culture and therefore strategically embarks on the rehabilitation of many of the public schools that were left by previous administrations in a lamentable state of disrepair.
Being also aware of the importance of ICT education in the modern age and about the revolutionary intrigues of the new media on the new generation, the Deputy Speaker has ensured that selected schools in the two local government areas are hooked onto the ICT grid and properly installed with computers for proper ICT education.
Ihedioha’s ICT visionary education programme is also tied to the need for job creations. Being also aware that unemployment is an issue in Nigeria, and that the youths can become self-employed when properly educated with other necessary infrastructures provided, he, as part of his constituency projects, embarked on massive power generation and road constructions in the local governments.
The construction of 133/33 KVA sub-station located between Nguru and Ibeku Okwuato in Aboh Mbaise as well as sub-stations at Mbutu, Ahiara in Ahiazu, Onicha in Ezinihittee and Ngor Okpala, are all meant to generate enough power for domestic and commercial users in the two local governments and their environs.
While all these projects are keyed to Ihedioha’s vision towards the socio- economic transformation of the previously remote local government areas which by the grace of God are attaining urban status, the Honourable is not unaware that it is only a healthy mind that is a wealthy mind.
In this regard, he has equally committed a lot of fund to the rehabilitation of, and equipping of health centres in various communities. In the same vein, previously abandoned water schemes in the two local governments are being rehabilitated with a view to providing potable water for the masses and by so doing help to prevent water-related diseases.
However, there are also some communities which complain about being neglected by Ihedioha in his transformational programmes. While they are entitled to their opinion and have the right to make legitimate demands from their servant, it is, however, important to advise these aggrieved communities to exercise some patience, wait and see all that are yet to roll out from the Deputy Speaker’s kitty. Rome, they say, was not built in a day.
Mr. ONWUKAMIKE NWACHUKWU, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.