The huge crowd was expected. The top political stakeholders in attendance were expected. The outpouring of genuine solidarity and support from a grateful people adorning T-shirts proclaiming loudly the latest slogan in town: TOGETHER, WE WILL actually confirmed that Hon. Declan Mbadiwe Emeluba, a one time senior editor in Vanguard Newspaper, a former ranking member of Imo State House of Assembly is still popular among the constituents of Oru West, Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta Local Governments that make up the Federal Constituency in Imo State. It also meant that the people were still appreciative of his glorious stewardship which set a bench mark and new pace of representation in the entire area.
Although the people had been putting pressure on Emelumba to contest the House of Representative seat, he had to first consult with God. After that he sought the approval of his family, the very first casualty of his busy schedule, and finally the major stakeholders. In accord Concordia (apologies to late K.O. Mbadiwe), the stakeholders affirmed with their presence at the formal declaration of Hon. Emelumba for the House of Representative seat, that they support his bid.
From Oru West Local Government Area came Barr. P.C. Mgbenwelu, Chief G.G. Iheaka, Chief Fab Ogbonna, Prince Chika Onyemenem, Barr. Azubuike Ilokasi and the LGA party Chairman Comrade Kenneth Akunakwe. At Ohaji/Egbeme, Hon. Tony Okere, Hon. Ben Johnbosco, Hon. Golden Nwosu, State Publicity Secretary of PDP, Damian Opara and the LGA Party Chairman Damnia Ezerue showed with their presence that Emelumba remains their choice.
The scenario was not different in Oguta local government area where Hon. Gerald Ironna, a national officer of PDP, the State Deputy Financial Secretary Hon. Okedo and LGA Party Chairman, Fred Opiah led other top PDP Stakeholders to welcome Emelumba to the local government as he took the first all important step of getting the approval of the people in his political quest.
Apart from the large turnout of people to all the three local government areas, one thing that stood clear was the admission by speakers after speakers that Hon. Emelumba is not only qualified for the seat but also his antecedents when he was in the State House of Assembly, naturally puts him at a higher pedestal above his co-contestants. They were also thrilled and excited that his message centred on the people; his mission on the people and his manifesto on the people. True to the ideology of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which proclaims that power belongs to the people, Emelumba made it abundantly clear that he looks up to them as his platform and power base.
If the people were gratified about such a humble disposition from the journalist, publisher, author and former Special Adviser (Media) to Governor Achike Udenwa, they were convinced beyond doubt that he meant business when he rolled out his manifesto entitled: Mission 2019: Service to the people. Succor for the needy. Under this mission statement encapsulated in the broad objectives of the PDP, he catalogued service to the people to include (a) Pure legislative duties (b) Enhancement/Enforcement of 13% derivation principle (c) Economic empowerment (d) Accountability and (e) Promotion of Federal Constituency through social integration. Under succor for the needy, Hon. Emelumba who lost the mother at a tender age spoke emotionally of his desire to consummate his work of charity by ensuring that widows and orphans receive a special treatment from him if God favours him and the people elected him as a member of the House of Representatives in 2019.
Although all the envisaged programmes resonated with the people, the aspects of economic empowerment and promotion of Federal Constituency through social integration connected with them more. Under the economic empowerment, Emelumba promised to provide 60 graduates from the three local governments that make up the Federal Constituency jobs. One hundred and forty youths will receive training in skills acquisition of their choice and provided equipment. Similarly 400 indigent women will receive N20,000 each to improve their petty trade. And because Emelumba did a similar thing when he was a member of Imo State House of Assembly between 2003 and 2011, they believed him.
They were also enchanted when he promised to organize Annual Cultural Festival in honour of late Nze Obi of Egbema; institute an annual Senator Arthur Nzeribe leadership lecture series as well as empanel an essay competition among secondary schools in honour of late Secretary to Imo State Government, Nze Ignatius Umunnah.
It was also interesting that Hon. Emelumba brought a fresh idea on how to rejuvenate the 13 percent derivation principle for oil producing states which for sometime has been cornered by governors. He pledged to sponsor a bill which will compel the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to directly allocate the 13 percent fund to the oil bearing communities. This proclamation received a standing ovation in both Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta local governments which are oil producing communities. It is on account of the two local government areas that Imo derived its status as an oil producing state.
Hon. Emelumba who flaunted his legislative experience, including the seven years he has spent at the National Assembly as one of the legislative aides, said the people should take it for granted that he will provide quality, effective and participatory representation. According to him “In essence, I do have a solid pedigree which has been further fortified by my sojourn in the National Assembly in the last seven years. I can say without much fear of contradiction that to a very reasonable extent, I do know the essentials of the in and out of Chamber politics of the National Assembly.
Against this backdrop, I want to affirm that when I say I am driven to contest by a passionate desire for service to the people and to provide succor for the needy, I mean what I say and say what I mean”.
While pledging to subject himself to scrutiny by stakeholders every second week of June every year by holding accountability meetings with each LGA within that week where stakeholders will look at his record of performance and determine the progress made and the way forward, he told them that he will be a servant leader who will always derive his power from them.
Speaking, one of the stakeholders, Prince Chike Onyemenem said they were not only impressed by the presentation of Hon. Emelumba but encouraged by his honesty, humility and cerebral fecundity which he described as the essentials expected of a leader of his caliber. He promised on behalf of his colleagues to take the message of TOGETHER, WE WILL to the grassroots and prayed to God to crown Emelumba’s efforts with success.