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It was Robert Greene that said, "Only the weak rest on their laurels and dote on past triumphs; in the game of power there is never time to rest".

Perhaps, it would be more appropriate to state that words to describe the one time chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the former coordinator, MKO Abiola's presidential campaign for southeast, the former Speaker of the Imo state House of Assembly and present Senator representing Imo north senatorial district in the national Assembly, Distinguished senator Benjamin Uwajumogu may come in different shades.

They may range from the "humble senator" to" the fine legislator " and the Igbo titles called "Odokaraome or Ogbuhuruzo Okigwe". These are but a few feathers that adorn the red cap of one humble politician who can stand on a high moral ground to say I have performed.

Truly, writing about this humble and humane senator and his achievements so far in the nation's socio-political space could be a herculean task due to his exceptional feats and very bold achievements in business, governance and politics. As a Speaker of the Imo state House of Assembly, he facilitated the passage of several impacting bills and motions that altered and accelerated development in Imo state.

Born on the 30th  of June 1965 to a wealthy Igbo family, his father, late Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu (SR), who is from Ihitte-Uboma local government area of Imo State, was a business man, industrialist, philanthropist and a renowned politician who used his wealth to provide for the needy, irrespective of personal, ethnic or religious affiliations, as well as, better the lots of so many people by sponsoring and supporting aspiring Nigerians of good conscience who are desirous of service to the people,  like, Dee Sam Onunaka Mbakwe, Chief. Dr Nnamadi Azikiwe and many others who at their time delivered the dividends of democracy to the Nigerian people.

He had his early education in Ihitte-uboma, Imo State and subsequently proceeded overseas to seek higher education and exposure in preparedness of the task that lied ahead of him. On his return from abroad and consequent upon the demise of his lovely father, he took over his father's business to become a prominent industrialist, business tycoon and politician at a very young age.

Like other great men of his kind, the height that Uwajumogu has so far attained and maintained in politics was not attained by sudden flight. Like the zik of Africa, Uwajumogu, while other young men of his age basked in the euphoria of their youthfulness, toiled to support families and to make a difference. At about 22 years, he began funding the Social Democratic Party, SDP and later emerged the youngest political party chairman of SDP and the Imo State coordinator of Chief MKO Abiola’s presidential campaign.

Though he was unsuccessful in several legislative and executive elections he contested during the period  that preceded the fourth republic, it didn't deter him to contest again and again until the mantle of leadership fell on him as the Speaker of the state Assembly and member representing his people of Ihitte-Uboma local government area, in the Imo State House Assembly.

As Speaker of of the Imo state House of Assembly between 2011 and 2015, Uwajumogu made his footprints seen in the landmark and developmental  legislations enacted by his led House in the area of education, security, infrastructure, health care, rural development, youth and women empowerment and so on.

Under his peaceful, harmonious and uninterrupted  4 year tenure in the State Assembly, his led House of Assembly provided  legislations that made education free in the state up to tertiary level, reduced crime, especially kidnapping to the barest minimum, provided for  new school blocks, saw to the  construction of hospitals, , new cities, renovation of dilapidated infrastructure, including  the  Assembly complex.

Also to meet the needs of the state's fast growing population, he initiated the setup of an important House committee that helped the executive facilitate the opening of Owerri capital city, Okigwe town and Orlu, as well as the  construction of very important rural roads

His emphasis on transparency and accountability, laws and motions targeted towards improving the state’s internally generated revenue, investments that will guarantee economic growth and sustain institutions, employment and human capital development and close relationship with other arms of government according to the principles of separation of powers, played complementary role in the setting of the state government policies for the future of the state.

He demonstrated that it costs a leader nothing but the political will to advance the fortunes of his people by taking advantage of the pecks of his office as Speaker of the state Assembly to ward off age-long infrastructural marginalization against his zone and equally addressed the seeming inequalities that had until his ascension as a Speaker apparently restricted the infrastructural development of his zone and constituency.

Today, all the milestones and footprints of those brilliant legislations could be found across the state and the six local governments that make up his zone in the construction of over 15 km of rural roads and the construction of six general hospitals in the 27 local governments of the state.

 Other projects for Okigwe zone includes, .construction of 64 new schools,the Obowu Malaysian market, the attraction of three tertiary institutions in the zone, the Okigwe urban renewal projects, that facilitated the installation of the first ever stainless steel street lights in Okigwe zone and the construction of a cultural centre by the state governor, youth and women empowerment programs, construction and development of new cities, as well as facilitation of appointments, admissions and employment opportunities to deserving Okigwe sons and daughters.

Upon the expiration of his tenure as member representing Ihitte-uboma and Speaker of the Imo state House of Assembly, he was elected into the Nigerian senate on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC). As the Senator representing Okigwe zone (Imo north senatorial district) in the 8th senate, Uwajumogu has clearly demonstrated that leadership is all about service to the people by consolidating on his previous gains to make very huge investments in education and agriculture.

Rather than use the biting recession and the fact that his tenure was cut short by almost 2 years as excuses to jettison his responsibilities to his constituents, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu has in his 8 months stay in the senate proved his mettle as an extraordinary legislator by providing pragmatic innovations and boost to agriculture and agro-allied business in Okigwe zone.

Within 8 months or so in the senate, he has provided a new dimension to legislative representation in his zone, having recorded modest achievements in almost all areas of the legislative space through his enlightened positions on national and local issues during debate. His sincere efforts geared towards improving  the living conditions of the ordinary Nigerian through oversight and his intelligent contributions during plenary and committee sessions has earned him headship and membership of very important committees, like , Customs,Petroleum, Army, Agriculture, Banking and other financial institutions, Ecology and many others, including headship of very sensitive adhoc committees.

Another area senator Uwajumog has fared very well is in the follow up and participation in legislative activities ranging from body presence at plenary sessions, committee meetings, caucus meetings, technical meetings and oversight functions. His brilliant contributions to debates have not only earned him respect and admiration among his colleagues but has produced visible and verifiable dividends for the people of Imo north.

So far, his Senate representation has provided massive employment opportunities for the unemployed Imo north Indigenes seeking federal jobs, as well as, facilitated several rural electrification projects, water projects, and construction of major federal government roads and Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) projects across the zone.

It is instructive to note that this fine legislator parades proactive and developmental ideas. His legislative acumen, prowess, sound principles and philosophy of equal stake in the Nigerian project has yielded in different spheres of the southeast development. A case in point is his insistence while in a committee meeting that a policy that marginalized the southeast in the area of building of demonstration farms in all geopolitical zones by the SEEDS Agency be reversed to accommodate southeast.

Another case in point is his call for the completion of all abandoned federal government projects in his senatorial district, which has today yielded visible and tangible results for the people of Okigwe zone and Ndi Igbo , as work has resumed in the Okigwe Silo project,  Onuimo cassava processing plant, Okigwe axis of Enugu-Okigwe- P.H express road, some rural electrification projects at Uzunomi, Ihitte-Uboma and three other local governments,while  several NNDC road construction projects are receiving attention.

Like never before, Okigwe zonal graduates and Non-graduates are being linked to the National grid through federal jobs and opportunities in civil service, as well as, various federal government programs and schemes like N-power,etc, while  several progressive young men,  businessmen and contractors are getting connected to the National grid to better their lives and that of their families.

Also on several occasions Senator Uwajumogu has boldly stood up in the defense of his constituents. for instance, when an indigene of Okigwe zone, late  Desmond Anunugwo of Umukabia, Ehime Mbano local government area died in EFCC custody,it only took the direct intervention of  Senator Uwajumogu to make the matter a national issue.

There is no doubt that Senator Uwajumogu's five years legislative participation  in Okigwe zone has played a big role in laying the  foundation that will see to the total transformation of the once disadvantaged   zone in the area of citing of higher institutions of learning to an educational hub . However, his agro revolution  is ongoing and is generating  skilled  and unskilled employment for women and youths of Okigwe zone, while he has remained accessible and true to his social obligations to his people.

He has assured that Okigwe zone and Imo state will not be left out in the citing of physical projects and empowerment programs. This is as he said that his input in the 2017 budget will see to the attraction of projects in the health, power, agriculture, housing, works and other key sectors.

Blessed with a special ability to identify political as well as electoral assets, there is no denying the fact that Uwajumogu joined other great leaders to put together a great political party the cleared more than 85 percent of elective positions in Imo state and won power at the federal level.

Senator Uwajumogu is surely worried about the current state of federal roads and other infrastructure in Okigwe zone, about the level of youth unemployment, about the non-availability of a standard federal university, about the non-availability of industries and the dormant nature of the existing ones, about diseases, about hunger due to the present economic realities, about his constituents welfare, about the security of his constituents, etc.

It is not certain whether all his worries are  battles he can win in his first term in the senate, but  one thing is crystal clear, in the coming months, he will come up with relevant bills and motions, as well as, workable strategies that will surely address some of his worries in his first term.

Indeed, Okigwe zone needs great men of ideas, experience, sound economic and political philosophies, and structured leadership vision to bring its dream of development and growth to realization in a highly challenging environment such as ours. If senator Uwajumogu continues with his manifest genuine and inspiring representation towards a better and developed Okigwe zone, surely there is hope of a better future.

From his days at Nigerian Shippers Council which afforded him the opportunity to criss-cross the 36 states of the federation, to his days as the number one lawmaker in Imo state and now, the senator representing okigwe, Odokara Ome, stood out as a model of excellence, selflessness and hard work by spurning the attraction of graft, corruption, wickedness and nepotism to deliver for his people.

Obviously, nobody, even his ardent critics can deny the fact that senator Uwajumogu, earned a place in history as one of the most spectacular legislator who effected monumental  changes in the evolution of Okigwe zone. He is a delight any day, any time no matter the aspect of his life that one is beaming his searchlight on. A fine legislator that is imbued with the forgiving spirit, coupled with his milk of human kindness and fear of God,

Conscious of his place in history and the humanity of his political exploits throughout his 52 years on earth, Uwajumigu has remained a humble and accessible leader. In my six years of working with him, I have not come across any individual that has a bad story to tell from an interaction with him. His humaneness, kindness, philanthropy, fear of God disposition and his calmness in the face of provocation remains a quintessential aspect of his total person.

At 52, it will be a good limerick to join his numerous admirers, including those, like me to shout, happy birthday to this selfless leader who placed high value on his people and zone above self-interest. It is also important that those who genuinely love him, and this zone, which he manifestly believes in and eloquently campaigns to develop, to continue to give him a critical and constructive support, being only a mere mortal with numerous surmountable faults.

Happy birthday boss.

Chukwuemeka Ahaneku

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