BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
MR Ndudi Elumelu, a returning member of the House of Representatives is best remembered for his leading role and subsequent travails in the probe into the power projects embarked upon by the immediate past administration. A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State, he spoke to Vanguard on issues relating to the agenda of the 7th National Assembly among other issues. Excerpts:
What would be your focus in the seventh session of the National Assembly?
In the past we tried to give our people some form of recognition by ensuring that those things that make life meaningful in the grassroots are provided by way of infrastructural development.
But outside that what I will be focusing on in the next four years will be on bills that will integrate the farmers towards assisting them in their drive to ensure that there is food for all in the nation but with particular emphasis on my Federal constituency. The second one will be ensuring that there will be peace in various communities. Therefore we need to ensure that we bring up a bill that will empower traditional rulers towards ensuring that they have their statutory package that will enable them function independently without being at the mercy of council chairmen. If they are not given some stipends they cannot fund their communities.
I want to see a situation where we can inculcate them with what comes from national. Thirdly, will be by way of youth and women empowerment. We have to look at a bill that will ensure that these people are empowered. I am happy the President has started that.
He earmarked about N500billion to create employment. We will support him so that we can have more jobs for the youths and also include some clauses that will create room for more women empowerment to be achieved. Outside those ones, I will vigorously and passionately drive towards ensuring that where I stopped as regards the provision of power to my Federal constituency is vigorously pursued.
There are major issues that are affecting my area, for instance we do not have a full sub- station to step down the electricity that comes to my Federal constituency. I have started it, they are already building it. It is 132K-133kg sub-station. So I will pursue it in my first year in office to ensure that it is completed. Another problem affecting my area is water. We tried so many ways to sink boreholes but our efforts seem not to be yielding results.
Each time we try it will collapse. So what we need now is to build a dam that will cover my federal constituency, perhaps the entire senatorial district. We have one, Ogwashi Uku Dam that is on. This next phase we will see how we can complete that dam and use it to ensure there is water for all in my Federal constituency.
Outside that same Ogwashi Uku dam, there is one I am looking at it is called Ohe Dam. It is another dam that if you build it it will take care of Aniocha North and part of Oshimili North, while the Ogwashi dam will take care of Aniocha South and Oshimili South. So we are going to focus on that and include few megawatts in those dams such that it will have like five mega dams in Ohe or Ogwashi Uku dams. Those ones will complement whatever comes from the national grid. Then the level of education is very poor and most students who graduate can’t even speak good English.
Some can’t even write well. I want to also pursue vigorously any bill that will further enhance the welfare of teachers and lecturers in the universities such that they will be so catered for that they are committed to their duties such that they can impact knowledge to the pupils or students. In my area we have certain areas that have been cut off by erosion. I also intend to sort them out. We also have some issues on boundary adjustment of some of the Local communities that cut across some neighpuring states. It is also in my agenda to ensure that we bring about peace in my Federal constituency and Delta state as a whole.
Lastly, I will also ensure that we provide an enabling environment for the President to have the peace and support of the National Assembly so as to transform Nigeria which he has set out to do.
How do you think the National Assembly can assist the President particularly in the area of power generation and strengthening the economy which the President promised Nigerians?
First of all, the President needs a team of understanding National Assembly members who will man the leadership of the National Assembly that will ensure that they are not hostile to the President’s agenda in the next phase of his transformation drive. We need to support those principal officers that will be very cooperative with the executive. We want to see where we can partner with the executive because at the end of the day our common interest is to ensure that all Nigerians benefit from government. We must ensure that at the end of the day all Nigerians feel the impact of government.
The success of this government will largely be determined by our ability to also support his agenda for the next phase. I will think that the crop of people that will be leading the National Assembly will be people that have the feelings of Nigerians at heart. Once that is taken cognizance of, then other things will fall in place. The issue of electricity, all we need to do is to support the President to ensure that we appropriate adequate funds to the sector that will make it possible for the executive to pursue vigorously the electricity problem and ensure that all the power station that are being built are completed on time. And transmission lines also completed so that at the end of the day, we can have electricity for all and there will be economic boost for our nation.
The issue of peace and security, if you have every thing and you do not live in peace, everything will come to nothing. So while we pursue power, we will also pursue the issue of security so that every body can have air of freedom and be able to live in peace. These days we hear about Boko Haram, unrest in Bauchi, Kano and others. We must find a solution to all these issues. Then also of course health care issue. It is when you are alive that you have dreams. If we have good health care in the country, then our problem is half solved.
Every human being that has dream can achieve them if not hundred per cent but at least achieve more of it. I want to also appeal to the President to support the farmers so that they will have food in abundance. The President should also begin to think of integrating the youths into farming and provide them with all the tools necessary. You will see that if this is done, the issue of youth restiveness and thuggery will stop. Because when they are all engaged you don’t think of white collar job any more.