By Lekan Bilesanmi
When Chief Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo (aka Onye Ndozi) “the repairer” was convinced by the people of Njikoka/Dunukofia/Anaocha Federal Constituency to take up the House of Representatives’ seat, he was assured of their overwhelming support irrespective of the party platform.
Because, knowing his cult-like massive follower-ship that cuts across age, gender, social class and political parties in the area, virtually all political parties lined up at his doorstep seeking to win him over. But the Portharcourt-based young businessman politely declined, until when he felt the time was ripe for him.
Though he experienced some tackles when his electoral victory was repeatedly stolen, the 2015 general election eventually saw him through. But again, that was not after a stringent legal tussle and a painstaking and diligent prosecution of his matter before the election tribunals.
On January 12,2016, he was sworn in at the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly and ‘has since been working tirelessly for his conscience’, according to Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
And having come this far, and as a good and responsive representative, he was home in the last one week to liaise, relate and commune with his constituents. He also used the opportunity to hold town-hall meetings with the members of the constituency.
The meetings held at three locations -Enugwu Ukwu, Neni and Ukpo, within the three council Federal Constituency(Njikoka, Dunukofia and Anaocha Councils). It was described as novel and had never been witnessed before. Significantly, this town hall meetings preceded the kick-off of the 13th edition of his annual Free Medical outreach for citizens of the Federal Constituency and beyond. The outreach had remained on the people’s calendar since 2009, long before Nwankwo joined politics.
The medical welfare programme was graciously attended by the House Speaker, alongside no fewer than ten other honourable members of the green Chamber.
Despite being his maiden townhall meeting, as a man who had remained close to the people all his life, it was a truly family meeting. He presented his modest achievements, efforts in the area of sponsored bills, motions, job opportunities and school admissions he facilitated for persons of the constituency, especially the youth.
The participants were principally drawn from Enugwu Ukwu, Nawfia, Abagana, Enugwu Agidi, Nimo, Ifite Dunu, Ukwulu, Nawgu, Umunnachi, Umudioka, Ichida, Ukpo and Abba. Others included Aguluizigbo, Agulu, Nri, Neni, Obeledu, Akwaeze, Adazi Enu, Adazi Ani and Adazi Nnukwu amongst other nearby and interested communities and citizens. Virtually all the security agencies were also on hand to monitor the activities.
In his words, Hon Nwankwo, who is a distinguished member of the Enugwu Ukwu community’s chieftaincy title of Onyendozi Nwachinemelu, said the meetings were organized to tell his people how far he has gone in pursuit of their welfare in the last two years at the National Assembly. Commending them for the confidence reposed in him, their love and prayerful support, he described his triumph at the poll and various stages of the election tribunal as belonging to all.
Pointing out that his Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo Foundation was established as a vehicle to give back to the society, he therefore pledged to continue to represent them well at the National Assembly, involving all his salary, allowances and other emoluments to get things done for them, especially the free medical outreach, which has so far touched half million lives and beneficiaries since 2009; women/youth empowerment, for citizens of the constituency; scholarship scheme, benefitting above two hundred indigent but bright students. Some have so far graduated and now helping themselves and families; provision of educational aids and materials to students and pupils within the Federal Constituency.
Nwankwo has also empowered about 1000 with cars, Keke tricycle, motor cycles, sewing machines, hair dryers, wheel chairs, grinding/blending machines and generating sets to constituents to assist and appreciate them. He has regularly organized skill acquisition and take-off financial support to more than one thousand citizens; and equally attracted employment opportunities to more than fifty constituents amongst other poverty alleviation and welfare tools.
Speaking on his near unquenchable desire to touch people’s lives always, Nwankwo disclosed that he is presently building a unique state-of-the-art Information Communication Technology (ICT)Centre in Enugwu ukwu for the training, education and benefit of people of the Federal Constituency. And that he intends to work hand in hand with the community leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, so that his programmes benefit the grassroots more in all the 22 electoral wards of the three council areas, especially now that he has concluded arrangement with the Minister of Health on how to make the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS) benefit people of his constituency. It was same with the Bank of Industry(BOI)where he has concluded arrangement on how to obtain soft loan for the local farmers, traders and business men/women. His free medical outreach, involving eye and dental treatment/surgeries, tooth refill, clef palate surgeries and general treatment the flag off of which was witnessed and performed by the Anambra state governor Willie Obiano who was represented by his deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke attended to about fifty thousand beneficiaries within the state. It lasted for nearly two weeks.
Tim Ifedioranma, a member of the state assembly described Nwankwo as “gift from God to this constituency. He’s humble, and has immeasurable large heart. He has achieved so much in such a short time. He must go back to achieve more. He has given us his score card. No one has ever done so in the past. He is a very transparent lawmaker. We support him fully for reelection.”
Enukeme, the traditional Prime Minister of Neni and a key player in the distribution and sales of petroleum sector and derivatives, said the young lawmaker “has done what Napoleon Bonaparte could not do”. He also commended APGA for being in the vanguard of presenting very credible and decent people, reason why none of their elected officials had been a guest of any security or anti-corruption agency. That Nwankwo has turned the Neni Health Centre to a cottage General hospital in such a short stay in the National Assembly. He urged all body of legislators to pick such outstanding persons for strategic national and international assignments, because they are role models.