“7th Abia Assembly: One Year of Impactful Service to the People.
…The Journey So Far
By Promise Uzoma Okoro, Preamble
“According to John Kenneth Galbraith, ” All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time.
This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.” While to Ralph Nader, “A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done”
It is based on these great thoughts by these great minds that I want to discuss the uncommon feats of a seasoned Administrator who have redefined leadership in Abia State, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji the Peoples Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly and whose exploits since his inauguration as the 11th Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly on June 10th, 2019 indicates that the future of Abia State will be great all things being equal.
Having watched this enigma and his style of leadership since my appointment as one of his Aides, I simply came to the conclusion that Patrick Dodson had him in mind when he stated, “In a climate of uncertainty and fear, without strong and visionary leadership, people panic” as his inauguration was greeted with misgivings whether he will survive as the Speaker of one of the most vocal House of Assembly in Nigeria today but as a true leader he has proven beyond any doubt that he was curved for this leadership position.
*INAUGURATION OF ABIA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY AND THE IMPRINTS OF RT.HON CHINEDUM ORJI*
Today Wednesday 10th June 2020, the 7th Abia State House of Assembly will be completing her 1st Session, otherwise called the First Year in Office with massive results in all spheres of legislative concerns.
Inaugurated on Tuesday, June 10, 2019, by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu,
the 7th State House of Assembly unanimously elected the Member Representing Umuahia Central State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, as its 11th and Current Speaker and under his watch, the legislative arm of the state government has demonstrated an appreciable degree of competence and diligence in the discharge of its onerous functions.
In its stern resolve to make remarkable imprints on the sands of time and have its name on the history book as the best Abia State House of Assembly since the creation of the State in 1991, the 7th Assembly has served the state with due diligence and with a renewed sense of vigour for public good within the period under review.
HIS MISSION AND VISION:
Under the sterling leadership of Rt. Hon. Orji, legislative business in the state has remarkably improved with massive results in broadening the scope of existing laws and effectively enacting new legislations to cover emerging circumstances and regulate new development in our constant evolving society.
In his Inaugural address after being sworn in as the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, vowed to reposition the Legislative arm of the Abia State Government for optimal delivery. The Speaker maintained that the house under his watch will not allow anyone mess up the efforts and progress of the Executive arm of Government led by Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu PhD.
It is on record that Abia State House of Assembly unlike what is obtainable some other States has for the past one year collaborated with the Executive arm of Government and passed relevant laws for delivery of dividends of democracy to the people of Abia State.
In his inaugural speech, Speaker Orji assured all Abians that the 7th Abia State House of Assembly under his watch shall be vibrant and result-oriented and this he has tried to ensure accordingly.
In his Words” We are the House of the people, by the people and for the people and we shall endeavour to make the people the center-point of all our actions and decisions. We are therefore committed to the enactment of sound laws and legislations that will help in uplifting the lives and well-being of Ndi Abia.
‘’This 7th House shall provide very sound and strong oversight functions signifying that the era of disobeying Laws and Resolutions passed by the Abia State House of Assembly is over. Similarly, the era of non-implementation of directives and visions of the executive is over. Appropriate sanctions will be meted out to any official of the Abia State Government found not to be helping our Governor to actualize his visions for Abia State’’
‘’Our major role in this House shall be the protection and preservation of the equity and justice already entrenched in the state and symbolized by the current Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu. I therefore call on all 5th columnists and agents of confusion to sheathe their swords and allow us to face the task before us. Let no one attempt to sow seeds of discord among us and between the Legislature and Executive. Any such attempts will be dead on arrival as it is not what we have come here to do’’.
The above words were not mere academic rhetorics as the Speaker marched his words with action.
His commitment has impacted positively on the lives of the good people of Abia state.
Rt Hon Chibedum Enyinnaya Orjis watchword is his vow to ensure that the current Abia State House of Assembly is adjudged as the best in the History of the State.
‘By the Time We Leave Office, I want this 7th Abia State House of Assembly to be adjudged as the best House of Assembly in the History of Abia State”
“I want also to be adjudged as the Best Speaker this Honourable House has ever Produced and I want my colleagues to be adjudged as the Best Lawmakers So Far”.
*HIS FEATS AND LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS*:
The 7th Abia State House of Assembly during her First Sitting on the 17th June 2019 after its Inaugural Sitting held on the 10th of June 2019 Constituted a Committee headed by the Member Representing Ugwunagbo State Constituency Hon Munachim Alozie to Screen the 17 Caretaker Committee Chairmen and Deputies Nominated by the Governor of Abia State Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu to man the affairs of the local government councils.
The House in that First Sitting Screened and Confirmed Chief John Okiyi Kalu as a Commissioner in Abia State who was Reappointed by Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu as the Abia State Commissioner For Information.
After thorough scrutiny, the Chairmen and Deputies of the 17 Local Government Areas of Abia State were confirmed through the committee’s report.
Early passage of the 2020 Budget
Before now, the State appropriation bills were usually passed in the year succeeding its presentation, but under the First one Year of the Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji led 7th Assembly, the 2020 Budget Presented by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu was given accelerated hearing and passage and subsequently Signed into Law by the Governor on the 24th of December 2019 for the good of Abians.
No wonder the Governor praised the House and stated ´ “I have been Governor for Four years now, but this is the first time we are signing the Appropriation Bill into Law by this Time’’
The Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly Rt. Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, in his inaugural speech had assured that the house will through its Oversight Functions, help the Executive in the Discharge of her Duties.
No wonder the House on the 2nd of July 2019 during Plenary frowned at the inabilities of most Government Agencies/ Parastatals who generates revenues for themselves, get subventions from the Abia State government and still can’t pay their workers as at when due.
Some of those agencies/parastatals looked into include; Abia State University, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Hospital Management Board, Abia State College of Health, Aba, College of Education ASEPA, ASPIMSS and other revenue generating agencies of the state.
The Majority Leader of the House Hon. Barr Solomon Akpulonu, had in a motion, prayed the house to set up an Adhoc Committee to look into the activities of those government institutions with a view of arresting the ugly situation posed by their underperformance.
After deliberation, the house set up and empowered the following adhoc committees to investigate the situation and make recommendation to the house for onward action.
ABIA STATE UNIVERSITY / COLLEGE OF EDUCATION AROCHUKWU.
Rt. Hon. Kennedy Njoku – Chairman.
Hon. Paul Taribo – Member.
Hon. Kelechi Onuzuruike – Member.
Mr. Emeka Otumchere – Secretary.
*ABIA STATE POLYTECHNIC, ABA*.
Hon. Jerry Uzosike – Chairman.
Hon. Chijioke Chukwu – Member.
Hon. Okey Igwe – Member.
Pastor Mike Eke – Secretary.
ABIA STATE COLLEGE OF HEALTH – ABA.
Hon. Barr. Emeka Okoroafor – Chairman.
Hon. Stanley Nwabuisi – Member.
Hon. Godwin Adiele – Member.
Hon. Nnamdi Nwachukwu – Member.
Amaka Ukwu Rocks – Secretary.
Broadcasting Cooperation of Abia State (BCA).
Hon. Ginger Onwusibe – Chairman.
Hon. Chijioke Chukwu – Member.
(Other members to be communicated in due course).
Mr. Kingsley Alozie – Secretary.
Abians and indeed the general Public will attest to the fact that the timely intervention through a thorough oversight functions of the Abia State House of Assembly yielded Positive result which has made those agencies of the Abia State Government live up to its Responsibilities.
The Abia State House of Assembly under the able and dynamic Leadership of the outspoken and vibrant Speaker Rt. Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, has also intervened in communal Clashes in Isu in Arochukwu Local Government Area with its neighboring community in Cross Rivers State.
The House also intervened on the issue of the Lokpanta quarry site which had been a subject of dispute between the people of Umunneochi in Abia state and their neighbouring community from Ebonyi state.
The House through her Oversight Functions also tackled the growing abandonment of housing estates in Abia state.
Hon. Stanely Nwabuisi who raised the motion had questioned the Public Private Partnership Policy of the state which has abandoned many estates in the state at various levels of completion. He stated while leading debate on the Motion that miscreants, drug dealers, kidnappers and other hoodlums now use most of these uncompleted buildings as hideouts which often pose serious security challenge. They Investigated and advised the Executive Accordingly.
BILLS PRESENTED and PASSED by the House.
The Current Leadership of the 7th Abia State House of Assembly has done well in the Area of Presentation, Deliberation and Passage of Bills.
So far, the Abia State House of Assembly has entertained 17 Bills during Plenary with Six of those Bills Passed into Law.
The Following Bills has been Presented at the Floor of the House.
*BILLS PRESENTED ON THE FLOOR*.
- H.A.B 1: Abia State House of Assembly Service Commission Bill,2019. Sponsored by the Speaker Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji( A Bill For A Law To Establish the Abia State House of Assembly Service Commission.
H.A.B 2: The Abia State Equal Opportunities Bill, 2019. Sponsored by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji etal. ( A Bill For a Law to provide for Equal Rights and Opportunities for men, Women and Special Persons in Abia State.
H.A.B 3: The Abia State Violence Against Persons Prohibition(VAPP) Bill,2019. Sponsored by Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji etal.( A Bill For a Law to Prohibit all Forms of Violence Against Persons in Abia State.
H.A.B 4: The Abia State University Teaching Hospital Management Board Bill, 2019. Sponsored by Hon. Chukwu Chijioke ( A Bill For A Law to Establish the Abia State Teaching Hospital Management Board.
H.A.B 5: The Abia State Donor Agencies Trust Fund Bill, 2019. Sponsored by Hon Jerry Uzosike etal( A Bill For A Law To Establish the Donor Agencies Trust Fund in Abia State.
H.A.B 6: The Abia State Consumer Protection Agency Bill,2019. Sponsored by Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu etal( A Bill For a Law To Establish the Abia State Consumer Protection Agency)
H.A.B7: The Abia State Specialist and Diagnostics Centre, Umuahia Bill, 2019. Sponsored by
Rt. Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji etal.( A Bill for a Law to Establish the Abia State Specialist Hospital and Diagnostics
(8) H.A.B 8: The Abia State of Nigeria 2019 Appropriation Bill,2019.
(9) H.A.B 9: Local Government Councils of Abia State Appropriation Bill, 2019. Sponsored by the Majority Leader Hon. Solomon Akpulonu
(10) H.A.B 10: Local Government Health Authorities of Abia State Appropriation Bill, 2019. Sponsored by the Majority Leader Hon. Solomon Akpulonu.
(11) H.A.B 11: The Abia State of Nigeria 2019 Appropriation Bill, 2019 Sponsored by the Majority Leader Hon Solomon Akpulonu.
(12) H.A.B 12: The Abia State Electric Power Authority(ABSEPA) and Power Stations Bill, 2019 Sponsored by Hon Okey Igwe etal( A Bill For a Law To Establish Electric Power Authority and Power Stations in Abia State.
(13) H.A.B13: The Abia State Orientation Agency Bill,2019 Sponsored by the Majority Leader Hon. Solomon Akpulonu ( A Bill For a Law To Establish the Abia State Orientation Agency)
(14) H.A.B 14: The Abia State Marketing and Quality Management Agency Bill,2019 Sponsored by Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji( A Bill for a Law to establish the Abia State Marketing and management Agency .)
(15) H.A.B 15: The Abia State Number Plate Production Authority Bill, 2019. Sponsored by Hon. Ginger Obinna Onwusibe etal ( A Biall For A Law to establish the Abia State Number Plate Production Authority).
(16) H.A.B 16: The Abia State Agency For Free Home Healthcare Services Bill,2020. Sponsored by the Majority Leader Hon. Solomon Akpulonu (A Bill For a Law to Establish an Agency for Free Home Healthcare Services for the Elderly).
(17) H.A.B 17: The Abia State Security Fund (ASSF) Bill,2020. Sponsored by the Majority Leader Hon. Solomon Akpulonu. (A Bill For a Law To Establish a Fund to Assist Security Agencies in Abia State).
Six out of the 17 bills have been passed into Law and they Include:Bill
(1) (HAB1) : Abia State House of Assembly Service Commission Bill (LAW) 2019 Passed into Law on the 16th of July 2019.
(2) H.A.B 3: The Abia State Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill, 2019 Sponsored by the Speaker. It was Passed into Law on the 3rd of December 2019.
(3) H.A.B 11: The Abia State 2020 Appropriation Bill Sponsored by the Majority Leader Passed and assented to on the 24th of December 2019 by the Governor.
(4) HAB 13: Abia State Orientation Agency Bill Sponsored by the Majority Leader, passed into Law on the 4th of January 2020.
(5) H.A.B 5: Abia State Donor Agency Trust Fund Bill Sponsored by Hon Jerry Uzosike Passed on the 10th of February 2020. and
(6) H.A.B 17: The Abia State Security Fund (ASSF) Bill, 2020 . Sponsored by the Majority Leader Hon. Solomon Akpulonu passed on the 23rd of March 2020.
Some of the Motions Presented on the Floor of the House are:
(1) HAM1: Motion On the Need to Reposition the Abia State Road Maintenance Agency For Effective Service Delivery Sponsored by Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu
(2) HAM2: Motion On the Need For the State Government To Fund SDGs in Order To Benefit from the United Nations General Assembly 74th Conference Fund. Sponsored by Hon Jerry Uzosike.
(3) HAM3: Motion on the Need to Adopt Golden Guninea Breweries as the Official Drinks of the State. Sponsored by Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji and Hon. Barr Jerry Uzosike.
*EXECUTIVE/ LEGISLATIVE RELATIONAHI*.
The Current 7th Abia State House of Assembly under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji has maintained a very cordial relationship with the Executive arm of Government led by Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu.
All the Executive Bills are being given accelerated hearing, deliberation and passage in confirmation of the cordial relationship between the Executive and the Legislative arm of Government in Abia State.
It will be recalled that the Speaker Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji in his Inaugural Speech Promised that the 7th Abia State House of Assembly under his watch will have a befitting Legislative Chambers which will definitely reflect on the output of the legislative arm.
In His Words”
‘’In the course of my Membership of this Honourable House, I have had the privilege of working under 2 Lawyers as Speakers. Lawyers are known for doing justice to cases they are tasked with and it is my view that my 2 Lawyer predecessors did very well as Speakers. Now therefore, having tried lawyers, the mantle has fallen on an Engineer to lead this Honourable House and by training, Engineers are known for Designing and Building. Honourable colleagues, I will design and build for you all, a model House of legislative excellence and harmony that will set Abia State on an enviable pedestal’’
The Renovation of the Abia State House of Assembly with the approval of Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu is a pointer that more good things are on the way for the Abia State House of Assembly.
The Chambers of the Abia State House of Assembly if not the best in the entire South East and South South is definitely among the best in the entire Country.
There abound other ongoing Projects at the Abia State House of Assembly Complex.
*THE FUTURE AND THE WAY FORWARD*:
Just as it is widely stated’ “You only have one first chance to make one first impression that lasts a lifetime.”
Expectations are indeed high, but the most important thing is that the 7th Abia State House of Assembly has proven to be on course in the discharge of their Legislative Functions.
Hopes are high that as the House enters its Second Session in this 7th Republic, greater impacts shall be felt by the public through an improved and robust working relationship with other arms of government for the greater good of citizens and those living and doing business in Abia state.
Let me conclude this treatise by quoting Robert S. Kaplan when he stated, “Without strong visionary leadership, no strategy will be executed effectively”. Based on this quote, I can confidently affirm that based on some of the uncommon feats highlighted in this treatise that Speaker Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji has not only exhibited strong leadership but a visionary one indeed.
I am convinced that with more support both by members of the House, the Executive arm of Government and the good people of Abia State, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji will prove that Abia State House of Assembly can be counted among the best in the annals of this country.
Promise Uzoma Okoro is the Special Assistant on Media to the Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly
June 10th 2020.