By Chike Okeke
One of the most valuable and significant attributes of democracy as a form of government is that it affords the Electorate the opportunity to assess the performance of political office holders on a regular basis. They use the instrument of regular elections to re-elect or drop their leaders in accordance with their assessment of the performance of such leaders. The general election of February and March 2019 will afford the Nigerian electorates one such opportunity to determine the fate of their leaders, from the highest political office – The President, to the membership of the National assembly and the various state houses of assembly. One such position which has affected public attention and interest is the Dunukofia, Njikoka and Anaocha (DNA) Federal Constituency Anambra State.
The interest arises mainly from the fact that, from the turnout at all the campaign rallies of the incumbent, Hon Dozie Nwankwo and his general acceptance by the electorates, he is set to get an overwhelming mandate at the polls to return to the House of Representatives.
Apart from his comprehensive medical outreach in all the towns that comprise the seven local government areas in the constituency and other constituency projects located in many communities, his various economic empowerment programmes have given many youths and women gainful employment and seed capital for their various businesses.
Many campaign leaders of his Onyendozi campaign organization have become car owners, employees of labour and distributors of grinding machines, tricycles (kekenapep), electricity generating sets, dryers and various other small scale enterprises. In appreciation of the impact Hon Nwankwo is making in his constituency, many communities in the area have honoured him with Chieftaincy titles. They include but are not limited to Enugwu Ukwu Onyendozi Nwachinemelu, Ukwulu – Ifechukwudelu, various towns in Anaocha Local Government Area – Osinachi, Enugwu Agidi – Agunaechemba, Nteje Abogu – Akalaka.
Many more communities are making arrangements for theirs. What more can a political leader ask for, to realize that his humble efforts towards uplifting his people are appreciated.
In the business of the House of Representatives Hon Nwankwo has given an excellent account of himself. Since Charity begins at home, Onyendozi commenced his legislative duties in the House by initiating action on projects that directly affect his constituency. Accordingly, he moved a motion calling attention to the poor state of infrastructure and abandonment of Federal Health Centers in Dunukofia, Njikoka and Anaocha Local Government Areas.
Similarly, he moved a motion to tackle the devastating gully erosion in the same local Government Area. In response to this motion, members of the House Committee on Environment led by Hon Obinna Chidoka visited the Constituency and personally assessed the extensive damage done by gully erosion in the area. During the tour, the legislators sympathized with members of the community affected by the erosion and assured them that appropriate action would be taken to call the attention of the Federal Government to their plight.
Sometime last week, the head of the Technical Committee on Yam Export, Prof Simon Irtwange, regretted that the 1986 Export Prohibition Act was hindering Nigeria’s yam export. He stated that the yam exporters in Nigeria were unable to do up to 50% of the export target of 2017 because of some difficulties and logistics problems and called on the National Assembly to expedite action on the Repeal of the 1986 Export Prohibition Act.
The said bill referred to by Prof Irtwange is one of the bills sponsored in the House by Hon Dozie Nwankwo. The Bill for an Act to repeal the provisions of the Export Prohibition Act Cap E22 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and for related matters has passed through First and Second Reading in the House and is in the final stage of passage. Related to this bill is his motion of urgent public importance over the ban on exportation of dried beans to European countries from Nigeria by the European Union. The motion was adopted and moved.
Other bills sponsored by Hon Nwankwo in the House are a bill for an Act to amend the provisions of the Sheriffs and Civil Processes Act. The main purpose of this bill is to reduce the time it takes to serve processes on various parties in court, especially on election petitions. Relying only on bailiffs to serve the parties causes undue delays and reasonable time will be saved if courier companies, Law Chambers and other organizations duly registered for this purpose by the Corporate Affairs Commission also perform similar functions.
Hon Nwankwo is leading the debate on a Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigeria Industrial Development Bank (Guarantee Act). The Act is being proposed because it has become obsolete and serves no useful purpose as it was enacted to vest in the office of the President the power to guarantee foreign loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) needed at that time. Moreover, the NIDB for which the loan was to be guaranteed by the President is no more in existence, its functions and objectives having been taken over by the Bank of Industry.
He is also leading the debate on a bill for an Act to amend the Provisions of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap MS. EEN 2004. The bill seeks to upgrade the punishment for quacks in the Medical and Dentistry profession from fine of N5000 and N70,000 to at least N1,000,000 (one million naira) and 10 years imprisonment. This bill when passed will definitely reduce the number of fake doctors whose practice result in avoidable death of patients. Nwankwo has given Notice of Presentation of other bills which he will be called upon to present in due course.
They include Amendment of the Provision of the Army Colour (Prohibition of use) Act Cap: A24 LFN 2004. Contravention of the provisions of the Act will attract fine of N1,000,000 or 6 years imprisonment or both.
Similarly, he intends to present a bill for an Act to amend the provisions of the Nigerian Press Council Act 2004. The bill seeks to check the activities of bloggers and other social media practitioners who spread fake news and invade people’s privacy.
Other motions where notice of presentation Nwankwo has submitted to the Clark of the House of Representatives are: urgent need to address the menace of unqualified expatriate doctors practicing in Nigeria, ensure that quality regulatory bodies improve on their monitoring and evaluation efforts across Nigeria.
He has moved motion on the need to ensure that all local and international markets in the Federal Capital Territory are fortified with fire prevention and fire extinguishing gadgets.
There is no doubt that a Federal Legislator who had recorded these impressive achievements in less than three years of taking his seat in the house, (having spent previous one and half years in litigations to recover his stolen mandate) is adequately equipped and prepared to represent his constituency very effectively and bring democracy dividends to them. Therefore it is very easy to conclude that Hon Dozie Nwankwo came, he saw he conquered and is set to win more laurels for Dunukofia, Njikoka and Anaocha Federal Constituency. The only encouragement for hard work is more work. Onyendozi definitely deserves a return to the House with an even greater majority votes on 16th February, 2019. Onyendozi carry go.
Chike Okeke, a media Consultant wrote in from Abuja.