Sen Ike Ekweremadu commissins the Ogbombara Spring Water Harvestation Project attracted by him to Ndeabor, Enugu State

Sen Ike Ekweremadu commissions the Ogbombara Spring Water Harvestation Project attracted by him to Ndeabor, Enugu State

As 2015 election draws nearer in Nigeria, the contention has been the issue of zoning?how to balance zoning which is not part of the constitution with the long-held belief in the benefits of legislative experience?? Will it benefit the people to send to the legislative chambers greenhorns who have not had the legislative knowledge on the guise of zoning or should communities take another look at the serving incumbent legislators?

The crisis that nearly destroyed Enugu State PDP was rooted in the different positions above.? But the good news is that cool heads have prevailed and the leadership and the led are taking another look at the benefits accruing from the incumbent legislators.? The deputy senate president has sailed through as others are still working hard to return to the legislative chambers.

One of those ranking legislators in Enugu State is Honorable Ogbuefi Ora Ozomgbachi representing Udi and Ezeagu Federal Constituency.? Hon. Ozomgbachi has been in the Federal House for close to twelve years.? He is the Chairman of House Committee on Works.? As reported recently Hon. Ozomgbachi expressed satisfaction for the work done by the contractors handling multiple road construction work of about 200 kilometers in his constituency.

In Ngwo Uno, Udi Local Government Area, the communities are overwhelmingly grateful to Hon. Ozomgbachi for attracting modern skill acquisition center.? The approved, construction and completion were done at record time as the communities have since started enjoying the benefits. Communities from Obelagu Umana in Ezeagu to Egede, all through Affa in Udi, many towns are enjoying motorized boreholes and transformers courtesy of Hon. Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi.

Apart from the approved and completed projects, there are numerous other road projects already approved and awaiting execution. A Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja document to the Bureau of Public Procurement indicates the award of contract for construction and rehabilitation of Egede-Awhum-Abor-Ebe-Affa Road in Udi LGA awarded to Sontrinh TDC ? 4.4 Billion-Naira construction contract.

In the same document, Lot C8 is for the design and construction of 9th Mile Corner (Ngwo) Bypass.? The contract was awarded to Centralead Nigeria Limited to the tune of 2.68 Billion-Naira.? Also, there is the rehabilitation of Udi-Obinagu-Nachi-Achi Road, which was awarded to FEW Western Nigeria Limited.? The contract amount is 2.7 Billion-Naira.

Attraction of these noble projects is not unconnected to the ranking member status of Hon. Ozomgbachi, which propelled him to the exalted chairmanship of House Committee on Works.? The fear is that denying Hon. Ozomgbachi reelection could jeopardize the completion of many of the ongoing projects.? However, reelecting incumbents provides immediate edge for the constituency who are now poised to benefit from the ranking as Nigeria benefits from experienced lawmaker who knows his onion as done in other more advanced democracies.

For example, in the home of modern democracy and the current presidential system of government, the framers of US constitution found it important to enshrine in the constitution continuous terms for members of the legislative.? US senators are elected to serve six-year term while the members of the House of Representatives are elected to serve only two-year term.

Moreover, each member of the upper and lower houses are entitled to be reelected so long as the people approve of their representative service and reelect them.? There is no situation where a member is barred from running for reelection.? Nigeria is currently emulating the US system with promises.

The decision to enshrine no term limit for lawmakers is simply because experience matters in lawmaking.? It is said that the more you do something the better you are at it.? The art of legislation is not what you learn law school.? It is not where you jump the line to the front to become a leader.? It is a system based on seniority, ranking and lengthy service.

In the US senate there are more than ten members serving more than 25 years in the senate.? Late Edward Kennedy served 47 years till his death a few years ago.? Hon. Charles Rangel of New York State has served over 40 years in the House of Representative (Congress).? He was just reelected for another term in November 2014.? These lengthy legislative services amount to tremendous benefits to the constituencies

Such benefits are the bane as vast communities of Udi and Ezeagu local government areas are dotted with federal projects emanating from Hon. Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi?s legislative exploits.? The evidences are there on the ground in roads, skill acquisition centers, motorized boreholes and transformers.? The reelection of Hon. Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi will continue to extend these benefits and ensure that the ongoing projects do not suffer the Nigerian factor of abandonment. As the reelection of the Deputy Senate President brightens recently, all hands of the people of Udi-Ezeagu should be on deck to extend the rare opportunity and extend the good work of Hon. Ogbuefi Ora Ozomgbachi without falling victim to unconstitutional zoning.

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Ikem Ekwueme, a policy analyst, writes from Udi

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