5th March, 2014
By Michael Jegede
On 21 February, 2014, the award of ‘Lawmaker of the Year 2013’ was conferred on Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, at the annual Hallmark Newspaper Awards ceremony held at the Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Ndoma-Egba, a great philanthropist and astute politician who has been a leading light in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, was honoured for his numerous initiatives in the Senate that have assisted a lot in the nurturing of our nascent democracy. The prestigious awards banquet equally saw some other prominent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour, receiving honours of achievement, with Dr. (Amb.) Tokunbo Awolowo Dosunmu as the chairperson of the day.
As stated by the management of Hallmark Newspaper, in his award citation read at the well-attended occasion, Ndoma-Egba, born on March 8, 1956, “Was first elected to the Senate in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007 and 2011; and has served in various standing and ad-hoc Senate Committees. He was Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Affairs in the 5th Senate and Deputy Senate Leader in the 6th Senate and currently Senate Leader. He chaired the senate Ad-Hoc Committee on the Petroleum Development Trust Fund and has sponsored 24 bills including the Freedom of Information Bill (FIB) which is now an act of the National Assembly, and several motions.
“He was a delegate to the United Nations 50th General Assembly, Leader of the Nigerian Delegation to the Association of Senates, Shooras and Equivalent Councils in Africa and Arab World (ASSECAA) and is currently a member of and Leader of the Nigerian delegation to the Pan African Parliament which sits in Midrand, South Africa.
“He is widely travelled and highly regarded. He is humble, unassuming and has a keen sense of humour and history. He was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2004, the first and only one so conferred from the National Assembly, and hold two National Honours; Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) and Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). He holds several other honours including the Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Award, and titles.
“Your Excellency, Madam Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is in recognition of the superlative performance of Senator Ndoma-Egba and the quality of leadership he has shown in the hallowed chamber of the National Assembly that the Editorial Board of Hallmark Newspaper chose him as the Lawmaker of the Year 2013.”
I can say unequivocally that this Hallmark award of Lawmaker of the year 2013 so bestowed on the Senator, representing the good people of Cross River Central Senatorial District on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is absolutely in order. It is indeed a justification of his rating in previous assessment reports on the performance of Senators on the floor of the Senate chamber.
For instance, a Daily Trust analysis of the Senate’s Mid-Term Assessment Report in July 2013 showed that of the 342 bills introduced since the commencement of the seventh Senate on June 6, 2011, the Senate Leader sponsored 24, placing him on top of the chart where 34 out of 109 Senators had no single bill to their credit.
Seen as a quite simple, easily approachable and detribalized lawmaker whose door is always open to all and sundry, the three-term Senator has likewise not disappointed his people in the area of constituency projects. He has used his good office to attract a reasonable number of developmental projects to his senatorial district since he joined the Senate in 2003. Some of such projects include: the Africa Development Bank sponsored -Enugu-Abakaliki-Ikom Trans-Africa Highway corridor, the World Bank intervention on the Ikom-Ogoja Road, the Specialist Hospital in Ikom, the Calabar -Oban-Nsan-Ajassor Road and the catalogue of MDG projects.
Also, the award-winning legislator has made significant impact in the lives of his constituents through his highly praised scholarship scheme with about 600 recipients so far; his computer literacy programme with close to 6,000 graduates as beneficiaries; his intervention in public transportation coupled with his manifold water supply schemes, drainage and erosion control works, solar panel street lights and rural electrification projects across the six Local Government Areas (LGAs) of his senatorial district. Just recently, the Senator, bothered about the difficulty farmers go through in accessing loans and their continuous sticking to obsolete farming practices, organized an outreach programme, where free agricultural products worth several millions of naira were distributed to farmers across the six LGAs in Cross River Central. This kind gesture coming from the amiable parliamentarian ever willing to put smiles on the faces of the people, would go a long way in helping the beneficiaries to enhance production in their farming business ventures.
A PDP chieftain from Nasarawa State, Alhaji Yusuf Ayitogo, hailed the Hallmark award given to Ndoma-Egba, describing it as a well-deserved honour for a man highly respected for his monumental achievements as a legislator. Ayitogo is the National Vice Chairman of PDP (North Central). According to him, the Senate Leader has demonstrated his in-depth knowledge of the workings of the legislature by the number of bills and motions he has so far sponsored in the chamber.
Hear Ayitogo: “I commend the Hallmark Newspaper for deeming it fit to honour Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba with the award of Lawmaker of the year 2013. The newspaper made the right choice for the award in the person of Ndoma-Egba. Nobody in this country who has been monitoring the activities and proceedings in the Senate would argue that this gentleman does not deserve the award. The Hallmark newspaper was right in its judgement. The award cannot be said to be out of place. As a member of PDP, I am very happy that Ndoma-Egba, a very loyal member of our great party is really doing us proud. I wish him the very best as he continues to justify the confidence reposed in him by his people.”
Commenting on the Ndoma-Egba’s Hallmark award, Hon. Michael Ogbodo, an aspirant for Ogori/Magongo Constituency seat in Kogi State House of Assembly in 2015 said: “I was not surprised at all to hear that Senator Ndoma-Egba emerged the 2013 legislator of the year. Even before I came to the National Assembly in 2011 as a senior aide to Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, representing Kogi Central Senatorial District, I have keenly watched the contributions of Ndoma-Egba to debates on national issues. His contributions are invariably very deep and insightful and always gearing towards the side of the people. I think he rightly deserves such an award without anybody questioning it. This kind of award is very necessary to always encourage people like Ndoma-Egba who have made sincere efforts to add value to the system.”
•Jegede, a media practitioner, wrote from Abuja