Ndudi Godwin Elumelu: A Rare Icon In The Delta  

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 By Ozioma Odita

 

As the polity gets hotter by the day with the entry of many gladiators into the 2023 political race, there are certainly some aspirants to watch out for, in the political space, given their antecedents as tested and trusted democrats whose achievements can always be reckoned with. In Delta State, south of the country is one of such personalities whose name has become a household phenomenon in North Senatorial district of the State. It is no other person than Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, who represents the people of Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives.

Elumelu by his deeds in the past two terms and in the present dispensation wherein he holds the position of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) House Minority Leader, has displayed some good attributes of a people’s representative. Besides his affectionate disposition towards attracting dividends of democracy to his people of Aniocha/Oshimili, he has remained a vocal voice in the league of those who seek to enthrone good governance in the country via their contributions in the Lower legislative chambers.

With the commissioning of several projects executed in different communities in his Aniocha and Oshimili areas of Delta State sometime in 2021 for people of his Constituency, it became quite evident that the lawmaker is not in the class of pedestrian politicians whose campaign promises often die soon after they assumed office. It was heartwarming that Elumelu could walk his talk not because anybody had put him under pressure, but certainly out of his conviction that being an elected representative of the people is a call to service in the lives of those one represents and not for primitive accumulation like the average Nigerian politician would want to do. He has only shown himself as a progressive politician.

 The boldness with which Elumelu returned to the Lower Chambers in 2019 for the third time four years after his first two terms were interrupted by his foray into the Delta State Governorship race in 2015 was simply a confirmation that he is not a pedestrian lawmaker but the people’s representative with a progressive disposition. Otherwise, the fact that he yielded his seat to someone else for four years was enough to permanently redirect his attention to something else.

With a pedigree that largely hinges on humility and robust followership in his Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency over the years, Elumelu symbolizes hope in Nigeria’s political space that is greatly dominated by ego-centric personae whose sophistry in double-speak and abandonment has become legendary. Like any mortal, he may have his political weak points, but he is obviously not in the class of those who would do anything to betray their constituency. He has clearly shown himself as a rare icon in Delta State.

Starting from his first term at the National Assembly as a lawmaker, his representativeness has continued to re-assure his constituents that they did not make mistake in choosing him to represent them. In 2007, he made history in the House of Representatives when he became the Chairman of Grade A Committee (namely the House Committee on Power) as a first time Member of the House. He was chairman of the Committee between 2007 and 2010. This feat is yet to be repeated by any legislator over the years.

He later chaired the House Committee on Health and also served as Member in the Information, Climate Change, Interior, Water Resources, Science and Technology, National Security and Public Safety Committees of the House.

With an enriched academic and professional background and years of corporate activism as a professional insurance executive, Hon. Elumelu has brought some finesse and dynamism in the legislative arena as he robustly navigates the various challenges that throw up in the different committees he belonged to, in the past and even in the present dispensation. The deftness with which he was able to shame his traducers who almost destroyed his political career by laying fathom accusations against him and his committee colleagues when he chaired the Committee on Power was an exercise in astute leadership which remains historical in the corridors of power.

The Minority Leader whose urbane disposition has gone a long way in attracting some large followership across sexes, religions and social leaning leaves an imprint of a progressive politician who sees beyond the achievements of today but a proactive projection into the future. This is perhaps why he is rated one of the outstanding philanthropists of his time particularly in his native Delta State. Many communities in his Aniocha/Oshimili constituency reckon with him as an amiable and notable philanthropist with an avowed commitment to improving the conditions of humanity especially the poor, underprivileged and widows. His youths’ and women empowerment programmes have torched lives in virtually all the wards in Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency and beyond.

This attribute obviously accounts for the many traditional titles and awards he has garnered over the years from those communities, organizations and institutions which had at one time or the other benefitted from this philanthropic gesture. He holds no fewer than seven traditional titles with no less than fifteen awards for distinguished humanitarian services even outside his constituency.

With legislative interest that largely hinges on human development and the prudent utilization of national human and material resources to promote welfare of Nigerian citizens, particularly in the Power, Health, Water and other vital infrastructural sectors and removal of all impediments which hamper the achievement of this goal, Elumelu’s driving objective is to contribute to nation building based on peaceful co-existence and sustainable progress in Nigeria that will leave a lasting legacy in the sands of time. In trying to achieve this objective, he has remained a vocal voice in the Green Chambers over time even before he emerged the Minority Leader of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

As a Member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu has made impactful contributions by way of sponsoring several Motions and Bills for the improvement of quality of life of his immediate constituency and people of Nigeria in general. He minces no words when it comes to legislative advocacy for what is right even though he may not have been the sponsor of a particular Bill or Motion.

It is on record that since he began his Third Term in the Lower Chambers in 2019, Elumelu has sponsored no fewer than nine Bills some of which have passed through the First Reading.  These include the Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Bill, 2019, Lobbyists (Registration & Regulation) Bill, 2019, Federal Audit Service Commission Bill, 2019, National Health Insurance Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2019, Maritime University, Okerenkoko Establishment bill, 2019 and Electoral Act (Amendment) bill, 2019.

Others are Data Protection Bill, 2019, Federal University of Technology, Asaba (Establishment) Bill, 2020 and Chartered Institute of Health Insurance and Managed Care of Nigeria, Bill, 2020. He also sponsored a Bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for the alteration of the First Schedule Section (3) Part 1: State of the Federation to provide for the creation of Anioma State and other related matters.

He also has a good number of motions to his credit and one of them is the Motion on the need to investigate the alleged sleaze, misappropriation and non-profitability of the Nigeria Communication Satellite Company (Nigcomsat) Limited. Another is the motion for the need for Federal Government to grant operational right to Bayelsa Airport.

He has continued to make robust contributions both in his capacity as Minority Leader in the House and in his personal capacity. Sometime in 2020, his voice was strident in condemning the attempt by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to undermine the position of the national lawmakers in the distribution of 774,000 employment opportunities earmarked by the federal government at the ratio of 1000 per local government since Nigeria has a total of 774 local government areas.

The Elumelu-led Minority caucus had alleged that the jobs allotment was in favour of certain interests in the APC to the detriment of job seekers.   He called for more transparency and a review of the criteria being used for the jobs allotment.

Though, the APC disagreed with the position of the lawmakers arguing there was no iota of truth in the claim, yet the caucus believed there was such a ploy and went ahead to reject the 30 job slots allotted to each member of the House for their respective local government areas under the public jobs scheme.

The caucus in a statement described the allotment of 30 out of the 1000 slots per local government, as grossly unfair and unacceptable since they are the true representatives of Nigerians.

Elumelu had insisted that “the 30 persons allotment to be supervised by a member in each of the local government areas, cannot by any criteria, said to be a true representation of the people they are mandated to represent.

Similarly, the Minority Caucus under the leadership of Hon. Elumelu has refused to compromise its position by joining forces with those who see the need to replace the nation’s Service Chiefs in 2020 in the face of the endless spate of terrorism in the North East region of the country.

Following the attack on the convoy of the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum by suspected bandits on July 29, 2020, Hon. Elumelu had condemned the attack and restated the call for the sack of the service chiefs due to the rising cases of insecurity. The Governor had reportedly accused the military of being unable to forestall the attack. Elumelu in his statement said that the incident has reinforced the urgent need to review the country’s security architecture even as he went ahead to urge the Presidency to implement the recent resolution of the two chambers of the National Assembly charging President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the service chiefs.

Though with great passion to serve people of his immediate Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency, yet Elumelu leaves no one in doubt about his pan-Nigerian disposition as he does not leave any stone unturned in dealing with issues of national importance. This largely plays out in the manner he brings issues to the floor of the Green Chambers particularly when the health or welfare of the citizenry is at stake.

Hon. Ndudi Elumelu’s large heart, jovial, lively and modest life style have combined to place him on a distinguished platform that gives him out as a man of value who in spite of all his robust credentials as a seasoned corporate guru, tested politician, democrat and legislator par excellence, has remained humble. He does not flaunt his credentials and achievements as some pedestrian personae would want to do in the public space.

This may obviously be the reason the Delta State Governor; Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa during Elumelu’s 55th birthday in April, 2020 described the lawmaker as a courageous leader with sterling accomplishments. The governor had recalled Elumelu’s contributions in the legislature, especially in the power sector probe of some years ago. The Governor had further described Elumelu as an outstanding lawmaker and a politician with leading light and a role model to upcoming politicians.

 

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