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Senator Igwe Nwagu: The Change Ebonyi Need in 2015

Senator Igwe Nwagu: The Change Ebonyi Need in 2015

By Jerry Uhuo
It is a general aphorism that the birth of great men is usually characterized within certain events that prove to the Community and the world that an unusually great man has been born. And that lends credence to the popular saying that “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them”. The history of the world is replete with stories of great men and women who were born and dedicated their life to that of service to humanity and eventually left their names on the sands of history and they are remembered not for their houses, cars, industries or other primitive material acquisitions. They are remembered for their impacts in human capacity development and inspiration to others in the society.

Great men like Pythagoras, Socrates, Jesus Christ, Luther, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Kemal Attatuck of Turkey, Pandit Nehru of India, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and even our own Obafemi Awolowo were men who relied on hard work, good planning and ideological purity to achieve their ambition- serving the society they were born into. To be great is to serve and be remembered for service to the society. Senator Igwe Paulinus Nwagu is a man that God has destined to be great through service to humanity. Born in 1959 to the family of Igwe Nwagu, a great farmer, philanthropist and community leader, Sen. Nwagu began early as a child to demonstrate his leadership skills in his community. It was not long that his outstanding qualities as a leader began to manifest to the public as a servant of the people.

He had gone into the business world after his secondary education only to discover five years later that his calling was not in business but in politics because his life is that of service to humanity. He joined politics in 1989 as a founding member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and was elected Ward Councilor representing Oriuzor Ward II in the then Ezza Local Government Area. A position he held till the Military dissolved all political parties in 1993. During the period under review, he was appointed Supervisory Councilor for Education in the same Ezza Local Government, a position he held for a period of six months following the introduction of presidential system of government in the local government council for the period of one year, 1990-1991.
He joined United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) as foundation member and became State Vice Chairman of the party from 1996-1998.He later joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as a foundation member in 1999, contested Chairmanship of Ezza North Local Government Council and won, and held the position till 2002. His political career got a dramatic boost when he was elected into the Federal House of Representatives in 2007. As a member of the House, he was Chairman, House Committee on Police Affairs and Chairman, House Committee on Rural Development. He served as member of House Committees on Environment, Youth and Social Development, Public Procurement, Petroleum Down Stream and Disaster Management.
His steady progress in politics saw his emergence as a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2011 (after God earlier protected him from the assassin’s bullet in 2009) representing the good people of Ebonyi Central Senatorial District in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
With a combination of divine love, burning desire for public service and humility, Senator Paulinus Igwe Nwagu has emerged as one of the political leading lights of his generation. His courage to always speak truth to power, sincerity of purpose and desire to use politics as a contact point to fulfill his mission to his people is kept alive not because he has extra ordinary qualities not found among his political peers, but rather because he has demystified politics and its paraphernalia and remained connected with his people at all times- a political skill and mass mobilization strategy that has earned him the sobriquet- A Grass Root Politician of all time!
One distinguishing factor of Sen. Nwagu is the fact that he places the people first in everything. This is captured in his philosophy of life as he put it himself: “My philosophy of service is routed in the belief that the greatest asset a nation has is not her physical resources, but her people. Therefore, people have remained the centre piece of my leadership service at all times and space. I am therefore convinced of the fact that to serve the people one must develop and earn their trust based on commitment to their common good. For me service is about keeping faith with the social contract with the people, and making oneself accessible to them at all times. My humble beginning in life taught me never to ignore people, their views and concerns for such are the building blocks and opportunities to articulate their interest and build them into a social and political action plan that must be pursued with vigour and forthrightness. All I have achieved for my people so far in my political career is based on these simple but very effective political leadership skills that have proven very successful in my continuing journey in public service and community development”.
This philosophy is reflected in his service delivery in all political offices he has held since becoming a Ward Councilor in 1990: here are few examples:
As a Ward Councilor and Supervisory Councilor for Education, his motivation to serve was driven by the need to bring government closer to his people. Before then, not many leaders in his constituency saw the need to effectively interpret what government meant to the people. His Oriuzor people were alienated from the government and he brought government closer to them at the rural levels. By so doing he provided a platform to listen to his people and articulate their concerns into his demand from the local government authorities which he pursued with all his strength and recorded the following achievements among others:
(1) Prompt and effective supervision of all primary schools in Ezza Local Government Area.
(2) Regular and timely school attendance by teachers and pupils.
(3) Regular and timely payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances
(4) Availability of teaching materials both at primary and secondary schools.
(5) Regular maintenance/construction of basic infrastructures in all primary schools within the Council Area.
(6) Regular and effective participation of all schools in sports activities at the local government area and state.
As Council Speaker and Deputy Speaker at the Legislative level, Nwagu maintained stable legislature throughout his three year tenure. He also ensured that development projects were evenly spread across the Local Government Area, particularly in his own community. That was how he received the Chieftaincy Title of Ekwueme I of Oriuzor by his Royal Highness, Late Ezeogo Samuel Onyeka Mgbada.
As a Council Executive Chairman, he deplored his executive leadership skills to ensure that policies enacted by the legislature were fully and effectively implemented. He fought for the Strengthening of Traditional Chieftaincy Institutions:
He set a committee to reconcile all feuding Traditional Rulers and other stakeholders as a means of returning and maintaining Peace in the local government council. He initiated payment of monthly allowance of N20, 000.00 to all traditional rulers. He bought 504 Peugeot station wagon (best line) cars for the Traditional Rulers to enable them perform their duties effectively.

In the area of infrastructural development, Nwagu started and completed construction of a modern Local Government Secretariat at Ebiaji, Ezza North Council Head Quarters. The project was commissioned by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 8th December, 2000 and the only government project in Ebonyi to have been commissioned by a sitting President in Nigeria since return to democracy in 1999. There were several other projects ranging from health centres, Clinics, General hospitals, bridges, schools etc
On worker’s Welfare, he realized that a motivated workforce is as important in development as a visionary leader. Therefore, he promptly paid workers’ salaries and allowances including payment of the most celebrated living wage in the country. It is on record that Ezza North Local Government Council under Nwagu’s leadership was the first to pay a living wage throughout Nigeria. This wage payment earned him the popular chieftaincy Title of Enyiwauzor I of Ebonyi State conferred on him by the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE). The conferment attracted the then President of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees Comrade Adams Oshiomole who later became Governor of Edo State.
In Sports Development, Nwagu paid serious attention to it which led to the formation of Ebiaji Lions Football Club, a Division three Club in Ezza Local Government then .
In education, Sen. Nwagu introduced Students Scholarship and Bursary and continued on the project even as a Member of the National Assembly and he has since through the programme:
Awarded scholarships to students of the local government origin in higher education.
Maintained yearly payment of bursary allowances to all indigenes who were in tertiary institutions which was increased from N3,000.00 to N5,000.00 (three to five thousand Naira).
and paid school fees for about 1000 students who were in pre-degree programmes in Ebonyi State University form his local government
Awarded overseas scholarship to 3 indigenes of Ezza North Local Government Area
Disbursed Bursary to over 200 students of Ezza North/ Ishielu Federal Constituency
Distributed over 40 laptops to students of Ezza North/ Ishielu Federal Constituency in 2009/2010 academic session.
Awarded scholarship to 45 youths in different disciplines in higher institutions of learning since 2011 till date.
In both the House of Representatives and Senate, Sen. Nwagu is outstanding in many areas. He sponsored bills and co-sponsored many others. He was effective committee member and maintained effective supervision of the Nigeria Police which he chaired the Committee both in the House and Senate. Several employment opportunities were created for qualified Ebonyians, particularly in the Nigerian Police Force and Federal Civil Service. As part of Youth Empowerment, he provided materials to help some of them to be self-reliant: He distributed 156 motorcycles to youths of Ezza North /Ishielu Federal Constituency from 2007-2010; Provided Health Services to two thousand (2000) people in Ezza North/Ishielu Federal Constituency 2009; Trained over 402 youths on Information Communication Technology (ICT) with equipments distributed to participant; Distributed Tricycles (KEKENAPEP) and 60 motorbikes to youths in Ebonyi Central Senatorial District in 2012; Distributed 20 motorcycles and one Mitsubishi bus to the youth for vigilante services; Sponsored 5 youths to pilgrimage in Israel 2012 and replicated these things in 2013 and 2014 to many beneficiaries. He attracted as part of his constituency projects hospitals from the Primary Health Care spread around Ebonyi Central including Ikwo, Ezza South, Ezza North, Ishielu worth over N2 Billion naira. He also attracted schools and Information Technology Centers some of which are sited at the Federal University Ikwo and Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki from the National Communication Commission and Millennium Development Goals.
Sen. Nwagu is a man with proven record of accomplishments in his political life. He is a man who has no discrimination of people. He sees Ebonyians as people of one family. He is the only Senator I know who has no personal investments in material things. All his investments are in human beings. He has no hotel of his own, he has no factory, he has no shops etc. His concern is that Ebonyi man or woman who wears slippers on one leg and bare-footed on the other due to poverty should live a better life. He feels for that Ebonyian whose house is leaking and those widows who have nobody to take care of them. He thinks of those youths who are out of school because their parents cannot afford school fees for them. He is concerned about those young men and women who have graduated from the Universities and Polytechnics and have neither jobs nor any support system to be productive on their own.
The man is preoccupied with how to change the story of Ebonyi for good in terms of road infrastructure, education, agriculture, human capacity building, housing and wealth creation. This man has seen it all from grass root and he understands what every Ebonyian passes through every day of his/her life. He is not a visitor. He was born and brought up in Ebonyi. He started his education from Central School Oriuzor, Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State in 1973 where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1978. He enrolled for his Secondary Education in Osumuenyi Boys High School, Nnewi, Anambra State from 1978-1983 where he obtained his West African School Certificate (WAEC). He attended Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) and got his first degree in Political Science (B.Sc Hons) in 2002. His pursuit for academic excellence continued as he proceeded to the Ebonyi State University where he obtained his LL.B (Hons) degree in 2009. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2012 after his graduation from the Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja Campus. Like the popular saying goes, “Great men are not born great, they grow great” and as Mahatma Ghandhi added, “The greatness of humanity is not being human but in being humane”. Nwagu is truly humane.
Sen. Nwagu has over 50 Honours and 150 Chieftaincy titles. My fellow Ebonyians, from December 8th 2014, let us cast our vote for this man as delegates of the PDP so that he will carry the party’s flag for the 2015 elections. On February 28th, 2015, we must come out and cast our vote for him. He remains today the most experienced politician in Ebonyi State. He is a man with democratic credentials, a man with political sagacity, a man of vision and mission. A man of commitment and dedication and a man with passion and burning desire to change your situation for good. He is the man who can bridge the gap between promises and performance. He has done it before and he will continue to do it better for us. Let us vote true change in Ebonyi State. He is indeed a Fountain of Unity in Ebonyi.
Dr. Uhuo is a Political Scientist and Stakeholder in Ebonyi project