Deji Elumoye writes on the shocking passage of the senator representing IMO North, Ben Uwajumogu
The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly had its share of ups and downs last year. One of the low times of the Senate was the untimely death of a ranking Senator Benjamin Umajunogu, few days to the Christmas vacation of the National Assembly. Senator Uwajumogu who represented Imo North in both the Eighth and Ninth Senate was said to have died in his sleep at his Apo, Abuja residence.
His death brought everything to a halt at the National Assembly on the day the sad incident happened because 24 hours earlier he had attended plenary and stayed late to work in his office.
The news of his death disrupted proceedings at both chambers of the Assembly as they suspended plenary in honour of the late lawmaker in line with the tradition of the federal parliament
Senator Uwajumogu’s colleagues at the Red Chamber, took turns to mourn the Chairman of the Senate committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity.
Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, in his reaction, described the death of Senator Benjamin Umajunogu, as a big loss to the Ninth National Assembly.
A statement issued on behalf of the Senate President by his Media Adviser, Ola Awoniyi, said Senator Uwajumogu’s sudden death was shocking and a painful loss to the Ninth National Assembly, “where he always made robust contributions to debates and other activities of the Upper Legislative Chamber, he will be greatly missed by all of us his colleagues and staff of the Senate.”
He expressed shock and sadness over the tragic news of the death of Senator Uwajumogu penultimate.
While commiserating with the family of the deceased Senator and the government and people of Imo State over the tragic loss, Lawan also recalled that Senator Uwajumogu was full of life at the Senate Chamber a day earlier, which made the news of his death even more difficult to take.
According to him, God gives and takes in line with his supreme sovereignty so we cannot question His will while praying that God Almighty will comfort his loved ones and grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, described the death of Senator Uwajumogu as a huge loss to Nigeria, his constituents and in particular Imo State.
“I am saddened by his death. It is very sad that he died at this time. Ben was simply a good fellow, an erudite legislator, a fine gentleman, a loving husband and father. He is indeed a Senator of Nigeria, very patriotic. He straddled the Senate isles beyond partisan inclinations. We shall sorely miss him,” Abaribe said.
On his part, former Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, described as shocking the news of his colleague’s death.
Ndume said he was personally touched by Umajunogu’s demise because he had developed personal relationship with him since their days in the Eighth Senate.
He said, “He came in when I was the Senate Leader in the Eighth Senate and we developed an interpersonal relationship, he was a gentle fellow, humble and will be sorely missed.
According to him, his constituents in Imo North where he rose through the ranks politically to become a Senator will also miss him as well as the National Assembly.
Also reacting, Chairman of the Senate committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, said the nation will miss the valuable contributions of the late Senator to the nation’s political development.
He said with the little relationship he had with Umajunogu as a Senator, “He was a forthright Senator who was so concerned about the well being of his constituents in Imo North as well as other Nigerians.”
Senator Elisha Abbo, also speaking, said
“I can confirm that my colleague and brother, Ben Uwajumogu has left us to be with the Lord and this calls for sober reflection.”
“It is a clear indication that this world is like market and when you come you will go back home. Ben has come to the market he has behaved well and gone back to account for his good deeds on earth. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” he added.
The late 51 year-old Senator, began his political career quite early in life as a major leg in the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Imo state when in 1991 he emerged as the youngest Local Government Party Chairman in the State at that time. His political relationship with SDP saw the party clinching the presidential election in 1993 (with Chief M.K.O Abiola as its candidate), although it was later annulled by the then military President General Ibrahim Babangida.
In 2011, Uwajumogu descended from his high political contacts and contested for the seat of Ihitte/Uboma constituency and won, this time around on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Peoples (PDP). He was thereafter elected the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly on the 7th of June 2011. It is symbolic to note that his sojourn at the Assembly brought tremendous political and economic development to the people of Okigwe zone in particular and the state in general.
As the speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Hon Uwajumogu gave a good account of himself. Through legislative pro-activeness, he brought about several road projects, electricity projects, water
projects, health scheme projects, resolution of conflicts in several communities and rehabilitation of abandoned projects.
Late Uwajumogu as Speaker of Imo Assembly had in the past teamed up with then Governor Rochas Okorocha to liberate the state from the firm grip of godfatherism, sharing of state resources among few so called leaders,
non-execution of people oriented projects and absence of freedom of speech. Interestingly, the late Senator turned round in 2018 to fight Okorocha when he wanted to install his son in-law as his successor in Imo state.
The late 51 year-old Senator, began his political career quite early in life as a major leg in the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Imo state when in 1991 he emerged as the youngest Local Government Party Chairman in the State at that time. His political relationship with SDP saw the party clinching the presidential election in 1993 (with Chief M.K.O Abiola as its candidate), although it was later annulled by the then military President General Ibrahim Babangida. In 2011, Uwajumogu descended from his high political contacts and contested for the seat of Ihitte/Uboma constituency and won, this time around on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Peoples (PDP). He was thereafter elected the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly on the 7th of June 2011