Charles Chinwendu Odedo
Charles Onyekamuo, in Onitsha, writes on the stewardship of the House of Representatives member for Idemili North and South Federal Constituency of Anambra State, Hon. Charles Chinwendu Odedo
The return to civil democracy in Nigeria in 1999 presented elected representatives of the people the opportunity to periodically render account of their stewardship to the people they represent. They hold their mandate in trust for the people who elected them to power.
It is incumbent on every legislator to meet his personal legislative agenda for the uplift of the wellbeing of the constituents. Action Congress of Nigeria member for Idemili North and South Federal Constituency of Anambra State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Charles Chinwendu Odedo, did just that recently when he organised a meet-the-people town hall meeting for his constituents from Idemili North Local Government Area.
The venue was his constituency office at Nnobi, Idemili South council area, which he opened for easy interaction with the people of his constituency, town hall meetings and constituency briefings. Odedo made good his promised empowerment programme at the meeting where he distributed 10 Mitshibushi L-300 buses, sewing machines, motor-cycles and cash to many unemployed young men and women to start vocations like trading, piggery, and poultry farming.
He also distributed seven Toyota Camry cars and three Mitsubishi L-300 buses to 10 people drawn from the 10 communities that make up Idemili North council area.
Odedo also doled out cash rewards to many unemployed youth from the area to start vocations, as a way of reducing the temptation to take to crime.
The legislator, who had in 2006 contested and won Peoples Democratic Party primary election for Idemili North/South Federal Constituency of the House of Representatives, was illegally substituted before he took his case through the Federal High Court, the Appeal Court and to the Supreme Court and finally won on July 11, 2008. He only spent two and half years in the 6th House of Representatives.
Odedo later defected to ACN on which platform he contested and won the April 9, 2011 National Assembly elections.
Now, four years in the legislature, spanning his period in both the 6th and 7th House of Representatives, the lawmaker has to his credit a bill to alter the 1999 Constitution and the Federal Capital Territory Administration Bill, which he co-sponsored.
He sponsored the Telecoms Equity Bill 2009, the objective of which he said was for all telecommunications companies in Nigeria to set aside at least 30 per cent of their total shares for Nigeria. The bill, he emphasised, has the benefit of curbing capital flight, empowering Nigerians economically and creating direct and indirect employment for over 100,000 citizens.
The Telecoms Equity Bill has passed through the first and second readings in the House of Representatives, he told his constituents, and is now at the House Committee on Communications for public hearing and fine-tuning.
Odedo, an American trained Estate Surveyor, was Principal Partner in Charles Odedo & Co, a firm of estate surveyors and valuers, before joining politics. He was a member of some committees in the House of Representatives, which included the adhoc communication committee, Housing and Habitat Committee, FCT Area Council, Committee on Co-operation and Integration in Africa, and Legislative Compliance Committee, during the 6th National Assembly.
Presently, Odede is a member of the standing committees of the House on National Security and Intelligence, Customs service, Labour and Productivity, Diaspora, Niger Delta Development Commission, Local Content, Freedom of Information, and Population.
“I have been very busy with the committee work in the National Security Committee. We have over-sighted the NSA, the SSS and the NIA, and without going into details, I want to make bold to say that I am impressed with the effort of the government in tackling the complex security problems,” he said.
“I believe that soon, the security challenges of Boko Haram would be brought to the barest minimum.”
Odedo added that in the Customs Committee they had reviewed the service bill, which has passed first, second, and third reading in the House and now before the president for his assent.= He said he worked with the commerce committee to review the Export Expansion Grant.
Odedo said he also co-sponsored and supported the motions on insecurity in Anambra State, review of export expansion grant, and the creation of more federal constituencies, among others. He told his constituents that the 7th Assembly under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal had been on the side of the people, recalling that it resisted the January 1 fuel price hike and conducted investigation into the subsidy regime.
“I believe that the report still has merit and I am glad the executive arm of government is implementing its recommendations. About 20 suspects have been charged to court in a bid to recover N260 billion. This is a step in the right direction and I must commend Mr. President for acting on the report,” he said.
Odedo reiterated his support for the steps taken by the House to suspend Hon. Farouk Lawan as chairman of the ad hoc committee on fuel subsidy regime and also chairman, House committee on education pending the final outcome of the police investigation and court decision.
The ACN member also agreed with the House that the 2012 Appropriation Act had not been well implemented, saying the implementation level is below 30 per cent, even as the executive insists it has gone up to 56 per cent.
He, nonetheless, dismissed the impeachment threat on President Goodluck Jonathan if he failed to improve the budget implementation by this month, as, according to him, the final motion adopted by the House did not contain any impeachment threat.
Moreover, he said that the summon extended to Mr. President to appear before the House and brief it on the security situation and challenges of the country may be an exercise in futility because while the House under section 89 ( c ) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gives power to the National Assembly to summon any person to appear before it, the National Assembly cannot summon the president when the said section that empowered it is taken together with section 308 of the same constitution, which contains the immunity clause for the president and therefore cannot be issued with a warrant.
Odedo said that he promised the people of his constituency projects in all the 17 communities of the federal constituency with the implementation of 2011 budget. In keeping with that promise, he told them he had facilitated the construction of three classroom blocks with V.I.P toilets at Akwu- Ukwu and Awka- Etiti communities, skills acquisition centre at Nnobi, equipped Ogidi Boys Secondary School with computers, supplied texts and exercise books to Ora-ukwu Community Secondary School, among others.
Odedo said he facilitated the installation of a 500 KVA electricity transformer at Eziowelle, supply of furniture to schools in Akwu-ukwu, among other things. He promised other projects for Nnokwa, Alor, Nnobi, Ideani, Ojoto and Oraukwu, all communities in his constituency.