Hon. Chidi Udemadu, who represents Ihiala Constituency I in the Anambra State House of Assembly, is chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business. Udemadu says the state governor, Willie Obiano, has performed well enough to deserve a second term, in this interview with journalists in Awka. Anayo Okolie was there. Excerpts:
On his experience so far in the Anambra State House of Assembly.
I must say it has not been a very rosy journey. However, realising that getting to the position we are in today is not by human strength and just like the Bible says, “it’s neither by strength nor by might”, I want to thank God. I must also say that it was difficult, but God helped so many of us, not just me. Since then we have been occupying political positions, and you know as a politician so many things must come your way. By His grace, we have been able to take care of the ones we could and the ones we cannot take care of, we leave in Gods’ hands, because for me in particular, government is a continuous process.
On projects he has brought to his constituency since his election over one year ago.
By the grace of God, I was elected to perform three core functions in Anambra State House of Assembly vis-à-vis my relationship with my people. They are: legislation, representation and oversight. By way of legislation, I must say that several bills have come to the floor of the Anambra State House of Assembly; several motions have been raised, both oral and written. By my position as the House Committee Chairman on Rules and Business, I have had the privilege of seeing every motion or bill before it gets to the house.
By way of legislation, I have tried to ensure that every motion that comes to the floor of the house represents the interest of Anambarians.
On my own, I have brought motions to the house, urging His Excellency to look towards Ihiala, Uli and Amorka as regards taking care of our roads, because we don’t have good roads; most of the roads in Ihiala Constituency 1 today are impassable. You cannot even access some towns without spending several hours. So I have tried to do my best as it concerns drawing the attention of the government to such places. Also seeing the attitude of the youths, I have brought in motions addressing them regarding piety on several radio stations. I have spoken on these issues to ensure that the attention of government is drawn, so that at the end of the day our people will feel our representation.
By way of representation, I have tried to ensure that all the bills that come to the house, I contribute meaningfully because any bill that comes to the floor of the house is not just from a constituency, it affects all the constituencies in Anambra State. And once it gets to the floor of the house, the bill must be looked at and fine-tuned to ensure that the spirit and the tenets of the law benefit my people in the long run.
On oversight functions.
By way of oversight, in the Anambra House of Assembly it is one of our duties to appropriate funds. In line with this, we have tried to ensure that all the funds we have appropriated are properly made use of. We have ensured that we are there to see that these monies are spent judiciously. No human being is perfect; there must be one or two faults. But it is like an encouragement, which is different from what we had previously heard. What I just enumerated are my functions on the floor of the house, apart from that I have also by the grace of God tried to touch lives. I have helped many people to get jobs, secure admission in universities, register for tuition fees, provided sewing machines, provided computers for computer school graduates, and many other things which are not visible.
Apart from all these, on my own, I have done a lot. Recently, I constructed a mini bridge in my town Amorka. One of the many things ravaging Anambra State today is erosion and we have such cases in my town, where my attention was called to, hence the mini bridge construction. What baffled me the most is that I was informed that when it rains, crossing over becomes impossible, so people would have to go round through a long distance to come to a point that is originally a pole away from them before it rained. I spent a lot on the project but embarked on it in order to aid easy movement of my people.
I also gave out motor-cycles and cars to people last year. Also, last year, I distributed over 300 bags of rice to people. I also did youth empowerment seminars early this year, where our youths got to know the areas to venture into to help themselves, because so many of our youths do not have the necessary information to help them move forward. I have discovered that representation is not just giving money, food, motor-cycle or whatever, hence the seminar. This I see as a way of liberating our youths, because if you don’t sensitize them most of them will not know. I am happy that after the sensitization, two of the participants called to inform me that they have gone to do their masters. They took that step because I encouraged them; you don’t just sit at home and waste away when you know that you can help yourself through one way or the other.
Apart from that, recently I have also put up programmes for Amorka, Uli and Ihiala. In Amorka, work has started on our proposed site and by the grace of God between now and the next three months; we would have put up a structure. Also, between now and the next three weeks I will be at Uli and Ihiala doing some renovation works on some of the primary health centres.
On the calls for the re-election of Obiano.
I must tell you, like I said before, government is a continuous process. We have had several governments; the last governor we had, Dr. Peter Obi, did his best for Anambarians, this fact we can’t deny. As governor, he did everything to ensure that at the end of the day he left a legacy behind, where he stopped is where His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano started. By my own assessment, Chief Willie Obiano Akpokwuodike has done very well, because if you consider what the state was getting from federal allocation when Peter Obi was the governor and what we are getting now, compared with the level of development in the state, nobody will deny the fact that the governor is doing very well.
In Nigeria today, Anambra State is rated one of the safest States in the country, courtesy of the governor. In the state today, kidnappers and armed robbers don’t hold people to ransom again; it is not as if they are not there, but the audacity with which they operate is no longer there. This is because the governor has come out to tell Anambarians that there must be peace and security of lives in Anambra State and that he has continued to sustain.
Apart from that, one of the most laudable achievements of the governor is the issue of rice production; today we have Anambra rice. Anambra State has as well been able to export vegetables out of the country. The facts are there, nobody can deny it courtesy of the governor; so for me the man has done so well.
Apart from these, look at the area of civil service, His Excellency has made sure that every civil servant in the state receives his or her monthly salaries as and at when due; he is not owing anybody, in fact recently in January he had to increase their salary and he is still paying. If you compare what is happening in the civil service of other states around us, then you will understand better. Even if you are the worst enemy of the governor, you will go by the side and tell people that are not happy with this man that he is trying. So, Governor Obiano is doing very well. Look at the area of roads, yes we have good roads before, but there are so many roads that were commenced by the past governor, Obiano has completed them and even started new ones.
He didn’t abandon any road, which was in line with his promises when he was sworn in as governor of Anambra State. Today farmers in Anambra State have received a lot of encouragement courtesy of the governor, so that agricultural products will be boosted in the state. Chief Obiano is working.