By Shedrack Onitsha
When Rt. Rev. Hon Francis Ejiroghene Waive threw his hat into the ring to contest for the House of Representative position to represent Ughelli North, Ughelli South, and Udu federal constituency on the platform of the All Progressive Congress APC, many people did not take him seriously.
On that faithful day of January 26, 2018, at Otu-Jeremi, Ughelli South Local Government Area amidst an unprecedented crowd of All Progressive Congress (APC) faithful, clergies, supporters and Christians from different denominations numbering over 6,000 from the constituency, it was with mixed feelings as most people asked what would have pushed an accomplished banker, refined clergyman and newspaper columnist to want to step into the murky waters of politics, particularly in Delta State where most politicians see might as power and ability to unleash terror on the people guaranteed electoral victory. With the strong belief that “Politics is a dirty game,” many people were of the opinion that it should be left for those that can play dirty, and by that yardstick, Rev Waive will not survive; and so, many people at first, did not give him a fighting chance.
Waive changed that narrative with his emergence as the candidate and his clear victory at the polls was a clear show of the love for him by the people as displayed with their voters’ cards. He has also proven with his actions on the floor of the green chambers that it is those that play politics that are dirty and not politics in itself and certainly, “evil triumphs when men of goodwill seat down and do nothing.”
During his declaration, he promised that he was going to play an unusual style of politics as things would be done differently and that after his time at the House of Representative, the constituency would no longer have a representative in the green chamber who would see the job of lawmaking as a status symbol, economic benefits, political access and relevance. Hence, they idle away when issues of national importance are being discussed, promising that “my people will see me in the House, hear my voice loud and clear championing their case both those of individuals, communities and the entire constituency.”
The Urhobo nation seems to have gotten it right in 2019 with the calibre of men elected to the House of Representative, with what Rt. Rev Hon. Francis Ejiroghene Waive and the likes of Hon Ben Igbakpa have done so far at the Green Chamber and DSP Ovie Omo-Agege at the senate. Obviously, the Urhobo nation has finally found its voice in the comity of nations.
Bills and Motions by Rt. Rev Hon. Francis Waive:
Rt. Rev Hon. Francis Ejiroghene Waive, though, a first-timer, he was, however, very active in the politics leading to the emergence of the leadership of House Representatives. So, to close political observers, it wasn’t a surprise that few weeks after inauguration into office, he emerged as the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Power and in his one year in office, he has performed creditably well in attending sitting and contributing to debates on national issues. His voice has been audible, that each time he speaks; his colleagues pay rapped attention to his presentation on the floor.
He sponsored the bill for the establishment of Federal College of Nursing and Midwifery in Otu-Jeremi which has scaled through 1st reading and also worked for the concurrence of the Bill for the establishment of the Federal Polytechnic Orogun sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege at the House of Representatives which is now awaiting Presidential assent.
He has also moved several motions on the floor of the house which were passed. Perhaps the most popular are; On 18/07/2019, a motion on “commendation of the Federal Government on the Warri-Itakpe Rail project while urging for its expansion to Abuja and an expansion overhaul of the rail infrastructure in the country for economic development”; on 28/11/2019, a “motion for the investigation of illegal disposal and burning of seized badges, boats and vehicles in the Niger Delta Region”; on 06/02/2020 “the motion on the need for the Nigeria Police Force to implement Community Policing in their postings;” on 25/02/2020 motion on “the call on the armed forces to halt incessant attacks on Avwon, Agadama, Ohoror and other Communities in Uwheru Kingdom of Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State”
Traceable Impacts on Constituents:
Recall that Waive had also, called on the federal government through FERMA to fix failed roads in Delta, particularly the Adeje axis in the Sapele-Effurun road, and the Ughelli-Asaba, Warri-Agbor expressways and Sapele-Eku roads which he said were dilapidated due largely to lack of consistent maintenance over the years. His call yielded result as the Adeje axis in the Sapele-Effurun road is now motorable.
Waive also employed his position as Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Power to interface between stakeholders’ in the power sector, especially management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) leading to an appreciable improvement in power supply, especially to his constituents in Ughelli North, Ughelli South, Udu federal constituency and other parts of Delta State.
While negotiations and work are ongoing, it is important, for the purpose of accountability and reassuring our people, that we take a look at the account of his stewardship, though, it is obvious, too early to judge his performance. Our people deserve to know and Hon. Waive has generously provided a few vital details of work and progress below.
In his quest to improve power supply, he appointment Hon. Moto Oghenetega, a well known and experienced consultant in the field as his Special Assistant on Power and BEDC issues, and have spent colossal amounts of money, time, efforts and contacts to achieve results for our people. And in order to get it right, a total of 74 communities within and outside the Federal Constituency were visited in order to get first-hand information on their power challenges and what needs to be done.
After the initial interface, his efforts and other community leaders led to Afiesere community been reconnected after two years of blackout, haven prevailed on TCN to replace the transmission substation bushing. The 15MVA in Ughelli which was in a waterlogged area and couldn’t function and consequently forced the managing of 7.5MVA relocated to a better place. The direct result of this is improved power supply in Ughelli through his efforts.
Patani has also been reconnected through his efforts, including clearing the 33KVA line from Ughelli to Patani, while Bomadi bulk prepaid metre was facilitated by him under the Ughelli business unit.
Kiagbodo which was without light for over 5 (five) years has been reconnected. This happened after the State Government’s collaboration with him, same also with Owhodokpokpor-Ogor which has been reconnected after one year without light.
The Palace of HRM Matthew Igbi Edirin, Owhawha 2, the Okobaro of Ughievwen Kingdom was not left out as the palace was provided with electricity for the first time, while Agbowhiame and Erhuwaren communities which have been in darkness in the past 7 has been reconnected.
Ujevwu town which has been in blackout for four years has had their light restored while Okolor is billed to follow in a week or so. But for Hon Waive’s timely intervention, the entire Udu and Ughelli South local governments would have gone into total darkness as Egini T-Off by Ubogo market was almost washed off by river that overflowed its bank.
He equally secured employment in DISCOS across the country for a number of youths from his constituency who are Electrical Engineers.
Through his efforts, the breakers in Agbarho and Effurun were replaced by TCN and this has greatly improved power supply in those areas, same for people living at Ufuoma Street at Ekete Inland, while efforts are on top gear to create another 33KVA fielder line from Transcorp Ughelli to Udu.
As promised during his campaigns to interface with relevant government agencies, about 150 constituents have been processed awaiting disbursement of the Central Bank’s SMSE’s loans. This is in addition to some who opted for and got Motorcycles, grinding machines, generators etc. Not to mention providing for celebration during the yuletide and COVID-19 palliative.
The likes of Austin Ohwofaria, Efe Otavworuo and Rume Otidi who on January 2017 called on Rev Francis Waive to run for House of Reps in order to replicate the indelible footprint he left as President of the Students Union Government during their University days at Ekpoma, were not wrong after all.
According to them, “the constituency has suffered very poor, selfish, primitive and inept representation at the National Assembly since 1999, and our people need a voice with clout, courage, selflessness, vision, humility, uprightness and result-oriented, people-based servant leadership.” Looking back in the last one year, I believe they will nod their head, and say “We Got it Right.” Because Rt Rev Hon Francis Ejiroghene Waive (MHR), one year in office has been that of a promise made, and a promise kept!
Shedrack Onitsha, A journalist and a Media Consultant, writes from Ughelli, Delta State.