Uwajumogu’s legislative ideologies on Political representation – Onwuasoanya FCC Jones

UWAJIMOGU’S FINE LEGISLATIVE IDEOLOGIES ON POLITICAL REPRESENTATION : A SYNOPSIS OF MY PERSONAL INTERACTION WITH CHIEF BENJAMIN UWAJIMOGU

Knowing what I think about the government of the present administration in Imo State, it becomes difficult for some people to understand why I am favourably disposed to one of the most influential stakeholders in this administration, the third most powerful official of this government in the person of, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajimogu. I agree and disagree with people based on principles and never on personal grounds. I am also concerned about the ability or inability of a public official to deliver on the demands of his or her office. There is absolutely no doubt that Chief Benjamin Uwajimogu has delivered excellently on his dual duties as a legislator and the leader of a legislative assembly.

A timeless treatise on the yardstick for grading a legislator came from Edmund Burke, in his 1774 speech to the electors in Bristol. According to Edmund:
“…It ought to be to the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business; unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs, and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interests to his own. But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgement, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice, to you, to any man, or to any set of living. These, he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the Constitution. They are a trust from providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

 

SPKR1Anyone who has dispassionately followed the politics and political life of Chief Benjamin Uwajimogu, especially within the last three years when he became the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly will have no doubt that his political ideologies are almost perfectly tailored to the concepts postulated by that respectable political sage. Uwajimogu does not in any way try to hide his convictions in order to please some interests. He has continued to follow his sound judgement in all the decisions he has taken during the period of his legislative leadership in the House. He remains at all times real to his nature and straight to the ideas that are essentially of utmost interest to the generality of the people. Chief Uwajimogu has proven overtime that he can only support and pursue political programmes and agenda that are tangibly beneficial to the ordinary man on the street. While he does not deem it right to hurt the genuine and innocuous interests of some powerful and vested interests, he sees it as a betrayal to the people he represents, if he fails to use his powers and connections within the ambits of the law to ensure that the people are not persecuted or denied their equal rights through the oppressive tendencies of the powerfully rich. To many people, he is an emancipator and to others, he remains God’s answer to the prayers of the ordinary masses. Benjamin Uwajimogu is an indispensable brain box of the present administration in the State. For whatever good policies and actions taken by this government, look deeply and you will see the hands of Speaker Uwajimogu in it.

His political ideologies are hinged primarily on the utilitarian principle that political representation is the activity of making citizens’ voices, opinions, and perspectives present in the public policy making process. This is achieved through his deliberate investment of concerted efforts towards ensuring that through the political power given to him by the people that the interest of the people remains sacrosanct in any action taken or not taken, in bills sponsored or supported, in projects executed or conceived, in proposals made and not made. There is no doubt that the pursuit and defence of the peoples’ interests and welfare are the prime inspiration behind Uwajimogu’s political ambitions and realignments.

He is in full grasp of what qualities, the people desire in whoever is representing them. He has the antecedent of having successfully managed various businesses he has interests in; there is a retinue of people he has been able to mentor to enviable greatness, hence, his enviable reputation as a fair and balanced leader.
Some people who are not very well informed about the workings of government and the legislature have wrongly accused the amiable Speaker of being too acquiescent to the Governor, just because he hasn’t allowed trouble makers to have their way in polarizing the House and instigating them against the Governor. In contrast, the continued peace and understanding which the present House of Assembly enjoys with the executive is a huge credit to the leadership of this sixth Assembly of the House, at whose helm is Chief Benjamin Uwajimogu. There is no enlightened soul who will refute the fact that the truest test of leadership is the ability of a leader to achieve an atmosphere of peace and harmony within the group he is leading and between that group and other groups that may be pronged to some conflicts with the group he or she leads. It is a universally accepted truth that the presence of conflict is mostly due to the absence of credible and efficient leadership. Therefore, the ability of Speaker Benjamin Uwajimogu to hold the various interests in the House together, and in extension sustain an unprecedented cohesion between the legislature and the executive is immensely praiseworthy, the ills of the executive notwithstanding. It is important to understand that for whatever reservations we may have against the Governor, things would have been worst, if not for the visionary leadership in the House of Assembly.

It is wrong to hold his personal relationship with the Governor to be a sin on his own part. To him, his friendship to the Governor is not subject to any kind of discussion, neither is he ready to negotiate it with anyone. He sees in the Governor, qualities that he can identify with. He believes in the governor’s styles and perceptions about issues. That is personal to him and no one has a right to quarrel with him on why he should be friends with the Governor. What would have been a problem is if this personal relationship he shares with the Governor had affected governance in the State, negatively. Conversely, the Speaker argues that he has used his personal relationship with the Governor to primarily contribute what he can to the development of the people who elected him, to the development and prosperity of Okigwe zone and in extension to the entire people of the State in general.

Uwajimogu’s ability to ensure unprecedented harmony between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary is one of the greatest confirmations of his sterling leadership ability. Taciturn and sangfroid, Chief Benjamin Uwajimogu is that kind of leader who can take strong and effective decisions without caving in to any kind of pressure. He listens to even the smallest of people and takes corrections where necessary, but he is his own man, who analyzes whatever decision he takes and stands strongly by it, whenever and wherever. He has the special insight to be able to look farther the road and see beyond what is presently popular. He sees tomorrow, while a majority of our present day leaders dwell on today, he takes steps to ensure that his people, our people, are not taken unawares by the realities of an uncertain tomorrow. Not just for himself, nor his personal political goals, but for the sake of his people and the ordinary people everywhere, he steadily peeps into tomorrow and intensively works to towards ensuring the best bargains for them against that tomorrow. his decisions are not always centred on the building of ties for or strengthening political allegiances with Parties or organizations for personal or selfish aggrandizement, he joins political Parties, rejects political Parties and take other decisions, based on what is on the table for his people, he considers what his people can reap from his presence or association with particular Parties or organizations, to him, the interest of the people is paramount and he does nothing outside ensuring that he protects it. He is motivated by the general good.
In a no holds barred interaction, I had with one of my friends who hasn’t got much, financially, but is seeking election to the House of Representatives. I tried to understand what his motivation really is, and he confessed to me that ‘’of all ventures realizable in life, politics remains the shortest path to instant wealth, hence his decision to invest therein.” To people who think like that criminally minded felon ‘friend’ of mine, contesting in elections is an investment that is expected to yield fast and self-aggrandizing returns. But ask Benjamin Uwajimogu the same question and he will tell you that he has been able to make so much money as a private citizen, that he does not think his third generation will experience the worst kind of poverty, this, even his worst enemies will not contest. To him, political power provides an unusual opportunity for him to represent the people, serve them, think for them and dedicate your efforts to doing those things that will better their conditions and brighten their future. To him, political representation is public work, and the only personal gain that come from it, is the blessings from God and those humans who appreciate your efforts.

Uwajimogu’s kind is simply rare in our kind of country. We may find a handful of them in more developed shores where a good number of those holding political offices, understand like, Uwajimogu that they are simply holding such offices on behalf of the people and should approach the responsibilities of such office with unmitigated deference to the people. Uwajimogu has shown himself to be one of the rare African politicians with clear selfless and commendable political ideologies that reasonably serve the interest of the people. He takes up the responsibilities that come with political offices with unalloyed determination and a rare focus on delivering the dividends of democracy to the people who elected him. His interest is vividly not on getting his personal share of the ‘National Cake’, but on ensuring that whatever may be the share of his people from the proverbial national cake gets to his people.

He is a calm and calculated fighter. You may not see him on the podium, wearing berets and punching the air, but he can fight and pull the most daring struggles to ensure that the masses are not short-changed. His, is a political ideology based on using his position to fight for the general interest of the people, his convictions are based on equity, truth and justice. He can take the bullets for the people. In one of the small gatherings he addressed, where I was present, he took his time to ask each youth in that gathering what they do for a living. This is in consonant with his principle of seizing every opportunity to render help, to serve the people, on whose goodwill he got the political power he has. He has undertaken numerous empowerment programmes for both youths and women, and sponsored several others for skill acquisition and other programmes that will help them to stand on their own and become more productive to themselves and the society at large.

One of the best leaders you can find anywhere in the world is the convinced leader. Uwajimogu is a convinced man, he does not prevaricate. He sits down, thinks and analyzes before taking decisions and once he has taken that decision, be sure it is for the interest of not just himself, but the entire people he is representing and the generality of humanity. He does not look back, neither is he deterred by criticisms. However, he likes to keep the records straight and he is turned off by lies and blackmails. While his intelligence is not in doubt, he does not think he knows it all, he believes in brainstorming and he sieves the suggestions and picks the best out of them all. Like a responsible leader, he does not believe in passing the bulk, he takes the blame, wherever things go wrong and look for ways to make amends.

With the foregoing, it should have become obvious to the discerning reader, that this whole long story has just been about one thing: the people. Uwajimogu’s political ideologies are centred on the people. He is primarily concerned about how best to deliver the best services to the people, how to solve the people’s problems, how to put smiles on the faces of the people. His is a masterful ideology that I recommend to all politicians. Truth is, if a quarter of the people who are in political positions anywhere in this country should uphold these beautiful ideologies and work with them, Nigeria’s problems would have been solved by more than half. Politics is all about the people and anyone with political authority who thinks about the people, may be misunderstood by cynics, but will definitely win the love of the real critics.

IMO GA ADI MMA OZO!

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