The tradition of electing or selecting men and women to represent a people in the senate started with the first ever United States Congress, which was constituted in March 4, 1789. It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives, that was at the beginning of George Washington’s presidency.
This tradition has not only continued in America to date but it has been adopted by 53 democracies around the world out of which 14 is African countries including Nigeria.
Senators in Nigeria are elected by their constituency or what is called senatorial zone for a 4-year term. The task of choosing one has never been so crucial as it is today in the case of Abia North Senatorial zone.
The main contenders are; Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu of PPA and Senator Mao Ohuabunwa of PDP, Senator Mao’s election was nullified by the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri on December 10, 2015, thereby setting the stage for a new contest.
Nick Xenophon an Independent Senator from Southern Australia wrote that the role of a senator is to:
• Represent the views of their state in the Senate;
• Scrutinize the work of the Government;
• Introduce and debate legislation;
• Work on Senate Committees to analyze information from community organizations, lobby groups and members of the public on specific issues or legislation;
• Present petitions; and,
• Take part in Senate Estimates hearings
Promise Onyewuchim a university lecturer and social critic, wrote on his Facebook wall on the prospect of Dr. Orji Uzo Kalu emergence as the Senator representing Abia North senatorial zone after the re-run election on March 5th 2016 and I quote.
“The southeast senate caucus will come to life and reinvigorate when ouk takes his rightful position.
The entire Nigerian senate will be enriched from the positive contributions of a man whose life has been a Success Story.
In advanced democracies, it is men and women that have achieved great success in their various life endeavors that make up the senate.
These are men/women with Character and Integrity that cannot easily be influenced with material wealth.
We need men/women that have a defined and visible source of income to represent us at the national assembly.
We don’t need people who will live and depend on what they will get from the national assembly especially in their oversight functions where all manner of corruption takes place.
We need whistle blowers that are Fearless, Courageous and Outspoken who will tell the electorates, Nigerian citizens the true state of things in our country at all time.
Of all the people aspiring to represent abia north including those politically made and brought up by ouk himself, His Excellency Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu is and remains the best and most capable to be at the senate.
His entrance into the senate will change a lot of things for the good of Abia north, Abia State and Southeast (Ndigbo) in general.
Ndigbo are resolved to send their best material, our first eleven who will use his contacts, resources, experience and good relationship with other senators from across the federation to move the country forward.
We are not voting on party basis but on an Individual who will deliver and bring the dividends of democracy to the people.”
Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu as a proven administrator and great entrepreneur, has track records while in the office as governor as being worker friendly by prompt payment of salaries and pension.
He provided free medical services for women and children, free education primary to secondary schools, his infrastructural development drive made former president Olusegun Obasanjo to call him ‘the action Governor’.
Some will be quick to remind me that as a Senator that Dr. Kalu will not have the power to offer free education or medical services. One thing no one can argue against is that it is in his philosophy and because that is what he believes, he will definitely align with other like minds in the senate to bring this to reality.
This job is not only demanding but serious one, it is not a job for all comers.
The job does not only require age and academic qualifications, it requires character, experience, track records of working with people at various levels and a good deal of managerial skill.
I make bold to join Promise Onyewuchim to say that in Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, Abia North, Abia State and indeed the Igbo nation has found a square peg for the square hole in the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
– Oruruo Samuel Okechukwu, AfricanQuarters