A former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Charles Ugwu has expressed confidence that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State will allow the will of the people to prevail in the contest over the Nsukka/Igbo-Eze South Federal Constituency.
The seat is currently being occupied by Hon. Pat Asadu who is on his third term, a situation drawing agitation by the people of Nsukka Local Government Area.
DAILY POST reports that Ugwu served a single tenure between 2003 and 2007, after which Asadu took over. He is now seeking the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, ahead of the 2019 election.
Addressing journalists shortly after declaring his intention at the Nsukka and Igbo-Eze offices of the PDP, Ugwu said in the interest of justice, he should be allowed to return to the Green Chambers.
While giving insight into what led to his short term in the National Assembly, he said, “I was nominated in 2003 and I contested the election. I won and represented my people but left in 2007 after a term.
“I left the House and I wasn’t voted out. What happened then, we used to have a State Governor, a political leadership, where the opinion of the leaders, used to be paramount in all our outings. Prior to the 2007 election, the Governor of the State then, invited those of us in the NASS from Enugu State and informed us that he has a thinking that will affect some us going back to the NASS for second tenure.
“I was affected because he said he wants to assist my second local government, in my constituency, which is Igbo-Eze South; he said that they are very small in number that it is impossible for them to wrestle power from Nsukka Local Government, that is about three times their side, that he wants to assist them when he is on office, that he would not know the sentiment of the incoming governor then, he is appealing to us to bear with him, that I would not go back to the House.
“This same decision affected my other colleague from Igbo-Etiti/Uzo-Uwani constituency; he said he wanted to help Uzo-Uwani people who had a similar status like Igbo-Eze South in my constituency. Be that as it may, he assured us that the incoming administration will consider us first in appointments, because we served well and he will like us to be compensated.
“Well, eleven years after, my own self has not been lucky to be appointed to any office, but my other colleagues, for example that of Igbo-Etiti Uzo-Uwani was appointed into Federal Character Commission, where he served and currently he is special adviser to the Governor on legislative matters.
“My other colleague that was also affected, Hon. Goddy Agbo was nominated as an ambassador to Japan where he served two tenures.
“So, I’m actually on my knees begging them to remember where we stopped, that I was a very loyal party member, and I did not in any way resist the decision of the leader of the party then. So, I am asking that they assist to go back the House.
“Coincidentally too, the local government that we were helping then, the Igbo-Eze South people have been representing us since that 2007; the person there now has been there for third tenure now and even as I speak, he is also interested in doing a fourth tenure. So, that forms the basis of my project of going back to serve the people.”
On whether the party would give room for a level playing ground, Ugwu said, “The person of the Governor, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is not the bulldozing type, he is a man of the people; even if he is taking a decision, it must be a decision that is inspired by the feelings of the people.”
He equally offered explanations on why he should be reconsidered for the Reps position, noting that “even as journalists, your first year or first day in office, and your second year of service, there is great difference. So, my stay in the National Assembly for four years, if you like you can call it a sort of induction.
“The National Assembly is not a place where they give you, you don’t go to any place prior to your coming, to understudy what is happening there. So, it is correct if you say that the first term of any representative is to learn what is happening; you don’t learn the operation of the National Assembly from outside. I can tell you, in four years you cannot achieve what you have in mind. The single tenure did not give me opportunity to exhaust what I had in mind. I had so much in the pipeline but I could not follow up and even when I got to know certain things to do, was about the time I was coming out.
“I feel that if I go back for second tenure, I can complete some good plans I have in mnd. I’m not talking about philanthropy, because some of those things I still do it even 11 years out of office. I’m talking about some concrete bills that will impact on the overall development of our place.
“For instance, the constituency project is a design by the National Assembly to remain relevant. But the question is, can’t there be an arrangement, may be in the constitution, that every part of this country, even without having a representative, that the government is committed to all these components, by way of sense of belonging in allocation of projects. I was propagating this idea, that there must be a minimum allocation of capital votes, both the Federal, State and LGs for every part of the country. So that if you have a budget of say N20m for capital projects in a local government, each of the wards for instance, must have a certain percentage of such projects without anybody attracting it to them, whether the chairman or councillor or governor of national assembly member or president is from there or not.
“Even the idea of Federal Character is not working and that is why outside the constitutional provision that every State must have at least one minister in the cabinet, what of when we start implementing the budget? What percentage is committed to every community, whether you have the Senate President, whether you have the Speaker, whether you have the minister or not, that you are entitled to this, by law that you are party of this arrangement, this is something I was proposing.
“Secondly, if you talk about Federal Character principle, you are talking about bringing every person to participate in the sharing, without talking about bringing every person to participate in the making of what is being shared. For instance, these unity schools, cut off for some States is 160, for some it is 100. So, we must have an arrangement where people will be committed to their immediate environment. Nigeria must have to answer some questions.”
“Today, I informed my party, the PDP, in Nsukka and Igbo-Eze South of my aspiration, and I reminded them that they know where I’m coming from. They have had the opportunity to relate with me and this time around, that we are saying there is leadership failure, why would you test run some people, when you have somebody that you have already known over time.
“I will give you one example, I was a commissioner at the age of 32, I was councillor at the age of 29. It was early enough, considering our place here, I will say that God blessed me. So, I have the exposure, I have the experience such that anybody can look at me and be convinced that I cannot change, between 32 and now, I am getting older. If it is football field, I am doing my second half. I cannot learn new bad things at this my age.
“It is a very serious privilege for me to be alive and see what is happening today. You can see the number of people following me around today. I cannot boast of the financial muscle but these my friends, even some of them donated N2000.
“In fact, the donation we have is what is taking us to this level and you remember this is somebody who left office 11 years ago, but you saw the number of people. So, one thing I know is that you have people who are friends of your office, but now I have friends of Charles Ugwu who has no office. My other colleagues are having people who are friends of their office. So, I understand what you mean about having financial balance but with these people around me, I have it,” he further stated.