Stella Oduah

Stella Oduah

At the heart of human existence is leadership. Leadership is the fulcrum on which society is built. Society is usually the mirror of its leadership, and a society without effective leadership is rudderless.

Leadership must provide solutions to the teething troubles of society. Mwai Kibaki, the late celebrated Kenyan politician, puts it this way: “Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed.”

Since joining public service, I have always had the needs of my people at heart because I believe we cannot have a safe society when there is a ferocious army of poor people.

Leadership must provide solutions.

My constituency, Anambra North is predominately agrarian. And fishing is a common occupation of my people, and they are mostly subsistent farmers. To address the problem of capacity and improve the agriculture value chain of the district, I started a training programme for farmers – young men and women. The first batch of 350 beneficiaries was trained at Ebonyi State University and MTS in Onitsha. And they were given cash to bolster their business. So far, more than 1000 people have been trained in agriculture and other skills.

The impact of this is the building of thriving entrepreneurs in Anambra North, and the positive disruption of the agriculture value-chain of the area – with a multiplier effect on the local economy. Jobs have been created, and families can meet their daily needs.

Leadership must provide solutions.

I sponsored the Establishment of the Federal University of Aquatic Studies Bill, basically to help the entrepreneurial drive of my people and to address the education and skill gap. The bill seeks the establishment of the university at Ogbaru.

The bill is expected to develop the aquaculture sector in the fishing community by ensuring the availability of highly skilled manpower and development of cutting-edge research and technology for the industry. The impact of this bill is my people will be equipped with modern-day fishery skills and qualifications which will boost their business and others along the value-chain.

To address the infrastructure deficit of my constituency, I attracted about 50 major constituency projects. They include provision and installation of solar street lights and ICT centres, primary healthcare centres, construction of roads, sport centres, police stations, and research centres.

Leadership must provide solutions.

I have also worked at addressing some bottlenecks to business in the south-east region, which is a commercial hub, through legislation. I sponsored a motion for the development of inland ports in Onitsha, Enugu and other parts of the region.

The region is at a disadvantage having to depend on Lagos for importation and exportation. We have an international airport already, with the development of a cargo export terminal and a cargo inland terminal more investments will be attracted to the region, and businesses will flourish.

As a matter of fact, the inland ports will be a catalyst for the economic development of the south-east. They will provide services for the unloading of import cargoes for splitting to smaller units, and for the consolidation of export cargoes for shipment to destinations abroad. This means products manufactured in Nnewi and Aba can easily find their way to buyers in West Africa and other parts of the world.

I think there will be a process of healing for the Igbo when their region is given due federal government attention.

I sponsored the South-East Development Commission Bill in the Senate in 2017 because of my resolve to ensure that the region gets its fair share from Nigeria.

The bill sought, among other things, to create a commission which will provide and implement a roadmap for the development of infrastructure and social services in the five states of the south-east – Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo. I believe this bill should be considered.

Nigeria’s current electricity generation capacity oscillates between 6,000 and 7,000 megawatts. It is estimated that the country needs 160,000 megawatts to achieve stable power supply. But this cannot be achieved even in the next 20 years under the present circumstances.

It is for this reason that experts have suggested a switch to renewable energy, which consists of wind, solar, geothermal heat, etc. Renewable energy sources are mainly natural sources. And Nigeria happens to have these resources in abundance. They are also eco-friendly, clean and safe.

It has been established that renewable energy is a solution to Nigeria’s electricity problem. And it was with this in mind and with a view to providing legislation for the budding alternative energy sector that I sponsored the “Renewable Energy Bill 2017”.

The bill, which is under consideration by a senate committee, seeks an Act to provide for the utilisation, sustainability and adequate supply of renewable energy for electricity generation.

It will serve as a framework to support and to develop renewable energy sources by creating enabling environment to attract business in the sector. It will help grow the power sector with reduced pressure on the ailing sector to meet widening demands. It will support the conventional power sources that have repeatedly failed us. The underlining objective is to make energy affordable to everyone regardless of where you live in Nigeria. It will also support the development, utilisation and efficient management of renewable energy sources.

Electricity is a challenge in most rural communities in the country, but with a renewable energy such as solar, (if well harnessed and utilised), this problem can be addressed.

Leadership must provide solutions.

I sponsored the NYSC Act (Amendment) Bill 2017 – An Act to amend the National Youth Service Corps Act, CAP. N84 LFN, 2004 to provide for free and compulsory acquisition of vocational skills by corps members. This is specifically to address the graduate unemployment problem in the country. That is, instead of having graduates who leave NYSC looking for jobs, these educated young Nigerians will become innovators and job creators. It was by the same token that I sponsored the bill for an Act to Establish National Artisans Development Centres to provide for the development of artisans across the country.

Also, our urban centres are witnessing over-population with its attendant risks such as crime and diseases. This is why our rural communities must be given due attention in terms of infrastructure development to reduce rural-urban migration.

It was to provide legislation to addressing this challenge that I sponsored the bill for an Act to establish the National Integrated Community Development Agency to promote sustainable change in social and economic relations and supporting the goals of growth and development in rural economy.

Leadership must provide solutions, service and opportunities. Without these, leadership is a Broadway show.

Senator Stella Oduah,

(Anambra North)