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A star performance in the Senate

By Chike Okeke

LAST week’s judgement of the Court of Appeal in Enugu which nullified the election of Senator Dr. Joy Emodi (Adadioranma) into the Senate came to many of us Anambrarians as a great surprise and a very unfortunate development.

This is because Dr. Emodi represents the new face of Anambra State – educated, focused and with sincerity of purpose to serve the longsuffering people of that state.  The new face of Anambra represents a great departure from the past, the days of the locusts where men of dubious character, 419ers and the illiterate rich fools took the state by the jugular.

Virtually all the political appointees in the state, from the special and personal assistants in Government House Awka to the State and National Assembly, the question was not the quality of the person or his/her credibility but how connected he is to the power bloc which merely comprised the nouve riche where source of wealth was very questionable.  Those were the days of “I singlehandedly put everybody in political office in power”.

From the time Joy took her seat in the Senate we saw a clear difference.  Instead of driving the common man and even the Governor of the state off the road with siren and thugs, burning of government offices and generally flaunting illegally gotten wealth, we  saw a quality representative, polished and with great zeal to serve our people.  Consider the following achievements of Joy, the first female senator of Igbo extraction within the short period they allowed her to stay in the Senate, sponsored the following bills/motions:  Federal Scholarship Commission (Establishment) Bill: Motion urging the Federal Government to embark on immediate construction of the second bridge across the Onitsha end of the River Niger, motion urging the Federal Government to immortalise the late renowned mathematician, Prof. Chike Obi; motion on Police extra-judicial killings and rising wave of violent crimes in Nigeria; motion on the deplorable state of Nigerian roads, a call to FERMA to be alive to its responsibilities; motion on non-implementation of the principle of Federal Character in government establishments at various levels in Nigeria; among many others.

She also attracted numerous constituency projects to her Anambra North Senatorial zone. For these and numerous other contributions to the social and economic development of her senatorial zone in particular and Nigeria generally she was conferred with Honorary Doctorate Degrees by the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka and the University of Abuja.  A member of the Senate Committees on Education (Chairman) Petroleum Resources, Solid Minerals and Establishment and Public Service Dr. Emodi was a Senator whose voice was always heard during debates on issues to uplift the Nigerian nation.  Having served on the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, she is one of those whose recommendations on ways and means of making elections in Nigeria more credible and reflective of the true wishes of the electorate.

The Senator Joy Emodi Foundation has established many projects to the overall benefit of the people of Anambra North Senatorial District.  They include annual micro-credits grants to widows, women and youths, free eye screening and treatment for over 5000 beneficiaries, annual charity programme for widows and scholarship awards to deserving students in secondary and tertiary schools as well as for ICT and other skills acquisition.

This writer, resident in Umuleri  is a witness of the positive way Dr. Emodi’s representation in the Senate has impacted on our people.

I am not a lawyer and therefore not in a position to raise issues on the judgement of the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal, Enugu.  But as an indigene who has long been involved in the politics of Anambra State, I consider it strange that it was an ANPP candidate that won majority of the votes cast during the 2007 senatorial election in Anambra North.

The ANPP, a virtually non-existent party in Anambra State could have performed magic to have won that election, not PDP and not APGA which are the popular political parties in the State.  A party whose electoral performance in the state since 1999 has consistently been between zero and less than  five per cent could not have garnered more votes than the more popular parties in the state.  The ways of the electoral machination in this constituency are definitely not ours or known to us.  There is more than meets the eye.

The Appeal Court judgement of last week definitely draws the state back by many years.   The judgement is only a little setback to her sure and steady rise to the zenith of political leadership.

Mr.  Okeke, a commentator on national issues, writes from Aguleri, Anambra State.


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