Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman
Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman

wpid-nurudeenabatemi-usman-150x150.jpgBy Michael Jegede

On May 6, 2014, the Senator representing Kogi Central Senatorial
District in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, Nurudeen
Abatemi-Usman, clocked 43 years of age.
On this day, the ebullient, vibrant and energetic Senator could not
but thank God for protecting his life all this years, while also
pledging to remain committed to the service of his people, who gave
him the mandate to represent them in the Red Chamber.
When Abatemi-Usman won the election for the Senatorial seat of Kogi
Central in April, 2011, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP), his landslide victory signified the deep desire of the
people for change, for a fresh start in Kogi Central politics and for
more dynamic and robust representation for the zone.
Since his inauguration, the soft-spoken Senator, popularly known by
his constituents as ?Deen?, has attracted growing admiration for his
laudable contributions on the Senate floor, participation in various
committee meetings and his activities on the home front.
Abatemi-Usman, an OAU graduate with diverse work and business
experience in engineering, agriculture and management consultancy, is
the youngest Senator in the seventh Senate ?and has worked hard to
live up to the expectations of the people in line with his campaign
A consistent champion for the common man, Senator Abatemi-Usman, since
he entered office, has been fighting the cause of the ten percent of
Nigerians who suffer from disabilities. On March 27th, 2014, his
efforts bore fruit as the Senate passed the “Discrimination Against
Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill, 2014.?? This historic
Bill offers unprecedented protection of the rights of the disabled.
Other bills to the credit of this great son of Ebiraland include the
Local Government Financial Autonomy bill and a bill for an act to
repeal the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, 1881 as applicable in
the Federal Capital Territory and provide for improvement in the law
relating to conveyancing and property.
One of the core themes of Senator Abatemi-Usman?s campaign was to
tackle the perennial water shortages in Kogi Central that have caused
such hardship to his people. Upon entering office, he persuaded the
Federal Ministry of Water Resources who sent a team of engineers to
mobilize to Ekuku and Osara Dam for proper assessments. Thanks to his
dogged determination to improve the water situation, he was successful
in pushing for the allocation of funds in the 2013 budget for Ekuku
Dam in Okene and the Ogori/Magongo Water Treatment Plants. Since then,
he has ensured the progress of massive and aggressive rehabilitation
work on the pumping unit in Ekuku Dam and the distribution network at
Idiche, Okene. For the first time in nearly twenty years, the people
of Bariki, Idogido, Idoji and even Okeneba, the highest point on the
hilly rocks of Ebiraland, recently enjoyed running water from their
previously dry taps for about two weeks. With money earmarked for the
continuation of the long-term water projects in the 2014 budget, it is
hoped that the people of Kogi Central will start enjoying potable
water in their homes very soon. Whilst the long-term projects
continues, Abatemi-Usman has also provided temporary alleviation for
his people, by facilitating the sinking of hand-pumped and motorized
boreholes in a number of communities across Kogi Central, through the
MDG intervention fund in 2012 and 2013.
The second core theme of Deen?s campaign was the revival of Ajaokuta
Steel Company Limited (ASCL). Barely two months into office in August
2011, he convened critical stakeholder meetings involving the Minister
of Mines and Steel, National Assembly colleagues and other steel
sector experts, to fashion a viable way forward for the Ajaokuta Steel
project. He then led a three-day visitation programme to all Federal
agencies and institutions within Kogi Central, during which he
declared that he would not rest until the Ajaokuta Steel Company and
National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) become fully operational,
lamenting that a project that had reached 98% completion and had
consumed a whopping $5 billion, should be so recklessly abandoned.
Although funding is not yet forthcoming, the push by Abatemi-Usman has
yielded some important victories, such as the disbandment of the
ineffective ASCL Interim Management Committee, (IMC), which came as a
result of his persistent lobby of members of the Senate Committee on
Power and Steel. Abatemi-Usman also made sure that a seasoned
metallurgical engineer with over 30 years of experience in the steel
industry, Engr. Joseph Isah Onobere, was appointed to head the
Ajaokuta Steel Company, the first Ebira man to hold this position in
the company?s history.
Abatemi-Usman has likewise lobbied for the execution of electricity
projects, to boost power supply to the various communities of Kogi
Central. Moreover, realizing the importance of information
dissemination and communication, the Senator worked to ensure the
allocation of funds for the completion of the Nigeria Television
Authority (NTA) sub-station at Okeneba in Okene Local Government Area.
The completion of the NTA sub-station will empower the citizenry with
access to information and at the same time, create job opportunities
for people in Okene.
Always concerned about the welfare of his people, the Distinguished
Senator was able to push for the construction of a primary healthcare
center for the people of the remote Upake community in Ajaokuta Local
Government Area. The healthcare centre is completed and ready for
commissioning. Upake community is over 30km away from Ajaokuta town
and this distance, coupled with the very bad road, has made things
very difficult for the residents of Upake when they need to seek
medical treatment. Senator Abatemi-Usman has worked to bring health
facilities right to their doors, which will ease their previous
challenges and radically improve the quality of their lives. He is
also making frantic effort to see to the construction of the Upake
road to make life much more bearable for the people who were never
cared for by past leaders of the central senatorial district of Kogi
Despite the very stiff competition for jobs, Senator Abatemi-Usman has
so far succeeded in securing employment for over 60 members of his
constituency in various government agencies. In addition, the Senator
personally sponsored four of his constituents who were among the six
participants from Kogi State for the National Power Training Institute
of Nigeria (NAPTIN) pioneer Graduate Development Programme for
2012/2013. ?He took up the responsibility of footing the bill for the
four graduates from his constituency because he believes the training
will help to propel their future careers.
Still in fulfillment of his campaign promises to the good people of
Kogi Central Senatorial District, he set up The Umajene-Abatemi
Initiative (TUAI), a not-for-profit organization that has become a
vehicle through which he is fulfilling the promises he made to promote
the social and economic wellbeing of the underprivileged in his
constituency. On April 7, 2014, TUAI provided tangible assistance to
over 1200 Nigerians from Kogi Central, in the first phase of its
empowerment programme. It was indeed an epoch-making event which had
in attendance the Senate President, David Mark and over ten other
Senators, the State Governor, Idris Wada, ministers and other top
government functionaries. Some of the materials distributed for the
empowerment programme include vehicles, tricycles, motorcycles,
medical equipment, agricultural items, mobile toilets,
hairdryers/clippers and generators, video/photo cameras and printers,
grinding, sewing and vulcanizing machines.
In collaboration with Macks Farm, Osara, Kogi State, TUAI also trained
200 people in fish and poultry farming, helping to tackle the serious
issue of unemployment in the district. This community empowerment
programme is the first of its kind birthed by the political leader of
Kogi Central for the benefit of his people. The astute parliamentarian
has transformed the political climate in Ebiraland from one of
violence and thuggery to the peace we enjoy today.
I salute Deen – a gentleman politician, a committed public servant and
a true representative of his people on the occasion of his 43rd
birthday. It has been wonderful working with him as one of his aides.
He has portrayed himself as a leader, who clearly understands the
needs of his people, and thereby leaves no stone unturned to put
smiles on their faces. I urge him to keep up the spirit!

Michael Jegede, media aide to Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman wrote
from Abuja


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