In this encounter with Hon. Reuben Rume Izeze, a member of the Delta State House of Assembly from Ugheli South Constituency, Segun James reveals the many parts of the activist turned politician
Why would a politician, lawyer and petroleum engineer consider activism as his way to unwind? But that ordinarily is not surprising given Comrade Reuben Izeze’s antecedent. The lawmaker representing Ughelli South Constituency and Majority Whip of the Delta State House of Assembly was an activist while at the Petroleum Training Institute, Warri and still an activist as a member of the state’s legislature.
He was the Students’ Union leader and Public Relations Officer of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone B in 2001, when political thugs invaded the institute, a situation which led to some serious pandemonium. At the end, several students were injured and one was killed.
Izeze took the battle up to the office of Governor James Ibori, who did all he could to rehabilitate the wounded students and compensate the family of the deceased. From that moment, Izeze became a wanted man. He became a marked man for political ascendancy because Ibori was impressed with the young man and his handling of the situation that followed the crisis between the students’ body and the state government.
Immediately after his national youth service with the American oil giant, Exxon Mobil as a Production Operator in Eket, Akwa Ibom State, Izeze was appointed Ibori’s special assistant on students’ affairs. He did not disappoint the governor on the mandate given to him to bring good rapport between the government and the entire body of students in the state. That was the beginning of the journey of the activist and petroleum engineer into politics.
After the Ibori government, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who also found the man resourceful and hardworking appointed him senior special assistant on protocol. Even as Izeze was enjoying his new political ascendancy, he still had his mind on education as he proceeded to the Delta State University, Abraka to study law. He was honored as the best graduating student from his department during the 8th Convocation ceremony of the University.
Just about the time he graduated from the Nigeria Law School, Abuja campus as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, he was beckoned upon to be the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Ughelli South constituency.
Since the hand of God was believed to be upon him, the people of the constituency overwhelmingly handed him their mandate. But his opponents were incensed that he won not just the ticket but also the election that followed. He was dragged before the elections tribunal and won.
Unsatisfied with the decision of the tribunal, his opponents once again headed for the Federal High Court, again, Izeze won. A jubilant Izeze cried that “the Federal High Court sitting in Warri dismissed the suit brought against us (challenging the mandate freely given to us by the wonderful people of Ughelli South Constituency) for lack of competence.
A firm believer in God and his ability to do mysterious things in the lives of man, Izeze said “I am overwhelmed by the show of love and support I have received from my constituents and the people of God since this unanticipated matter crept up in May 2015.
“This process has been a challenging and distracting one, considering the fact that we never anticipated that men, who hugged us and gave their blessings would make a volte face, discarding honour and integrity to pursue this vindictive course of action for reasons that we still can’t fathom.
“However, God was with us and provided men, who stood by us throughout this challenging period.”
He was particularly grateful to the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa for being one of the people, who stood by him at his trying period. Despite the fact that he is now a lawmaker, the Comrade lawmaker is still an activist.
Izeze was born in Makurdi, the Benue State capital to Uhrobo parents from Oginibo in Ughelli South Local Government area of Delta State. He had his early education at Army Children Primary School Jos between 1977 and 1983 and secondary education at Government Secondary School, Jos from 1983 to 1988. He was admitted to study Petroleum Engineering at the Petroleum Training Institute PTI between 1996 and 2001. He also studied Law at the Delta State University Abraka.
Izeze has used his office to influence the employment of Deltans into the Civil and Public Service of Delta State. He commands huge respect within and outside the students’ community. He formed the Comrade Community, which later metamorphosed into the Believers’ Council, an organization which stresses the need to advance the cause of students and education in Delta State.
In June 2015, when the 6th Assembly of the Delta State House of Assembly was inaugurated, he was elected the Majority Whip of the House and also Chairman, House Committee on Rules, Business, Legal and Judiciary Matters. His main driving force for gunning for a political office, he claimed, is to use public office for the development of his people. Married to Ruona, the couple is blessed with three kids.
Izeze took the battle up to the office of Governor James Ibori, who did all he could to rehabilitate the wounded students and compensate the family of the deceased. From that moment, Izeze became a wanted man. He became a marked man for political ascendancy because Ibori was impressed with the young man and his handling of the situation that followed the crisis between the students’ body and the state government