Permit me to begin this account of my stewardship for the second legislative year which ended yesterday 10th June 2021 by thanking the almighty God for his mercies. Despite the challenges of Covid 19 and its accompanying lockdown as well as continued litigation I am able to report that our people were well served by my office. I must also thank the entire people of Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu Federal Constituency for the overwhelming support that I enjoy.
Last year I commenced a practice of giving an account of my stewardship annually. I will continue doing this throughout my years of service to our people. Maintaining office hours both at the Constituency office in Ughelli and at the National Assembly complex has enabled me to enjoy a feedback mechanism that has been helpful.
I will begin this account with core legislative duties-
BILLS AND MOTIONS
In a year that saw reduced number of House sittings due to Covid-19 restrictions, I presented a total of twelve Bills and three motions. This is in addition to regularly contributing to debates on the floor of the House. In all, my efforts are geared towards improvements in the living standard of our people as well as the protection of lives and property. This I believe is the primary duty of government. Bills I presented during the legislative year under review include; Federal Medical Centre Ovwian Establishment Bill, National Infrastructure Development Bill, and amendment Bills affecting the following- Bank Employees Act, Films and Video censors Board Act, Legal Practitioners Act, Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act etc. I am thrilled to have played my role in the House in ensuring concurrence in the passage of the Bill for the establishment of the Federal Polytechnic Orogun which has now been signed into law by Mr. President. Many thanks to our indefectible leader, His Excellency Most Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege Deputy President of the Senate who not only sponsored this Bill but achieved this historic feat and many others for our people.
The second reading of the Bill for the establishment of Federal College of Nursing and Midwifery OtuJeremi passed second reading during the period under review. My contribution to the debate on the Water Resources Bill went viral and aided the House in its final decision. I was part of the group of honorable members that advocated for justice for alleged killings during the EndSARS protests. During the year under review my voice was strong and clear on the need to sack the non-performing security chiefs, practice community policing and fiscal federalism, moderate government borrowings, and reform local government elections.
I continue to participate in various Standing and Ad-hoc Committees of the House traversing the nation on oversight duties. Like I promised during the campaigns, I can’t be a sleeping or docile legislator. And this has paid off well for our people especially in the House Committee on Power where I serve as Deputy Chairman. I have used the clout of the office for the benefit of our people as outlined below.
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT RECONNECTING COMMUNITIES TO NATIONAL GRID
In addition to benefiting communities during my first year in office, the following Communities that had been off the national grid for over seven years were reconnected as a direct result of my efforts. These include Okolor, Ekrota and Okperhenre in Udu local government area as well as Otor-Edo and Owhawha in Ughelli South local government area. As at the time of this writing, Okwemor, Otegbo and Egbo-Ideh Communities are set to be reconnected. I have also facilitated rehabilitation of vandalized power infrastructure and withdrawal of court cases towards restoration of power supply in Olomu clan Agbaghare and Imode Communities. In no distant time these communities will enjoy the benefits of my efforts. The case of Steel Township has been a hard nut to crack as the residents and the serving Disco haven’t shifted grounds on matters of huge indebtedness and vandalisation. I will however not give up on restoring electricity supply to the famous Steel Town.
SUPPLY AND INSTALLATION OF TRANSFORMERS
During the year under review I facilitated the supply and installation Transformers at the following locations (four per local government area)
UGHELLI NORTH LGA.
1). New Agric layout phase2, Agbarho town.
2). IwhremarhoAro town.
3). Uduophori street Otovwodo town.
4). Imoniyame street Ekredjebor.
UGHELLI SOUTH LGA.
1). Move ahead street, Otokutu town.
2). God’s Grace church Road, Otokutu town.
3). Jofajo layout, Usiefrun town.
4). Ator street, off Okwemor Road opp Okwagbe Secondary School, Okwagbe town.
1). John Togo street off Usiefrun road Orhuworun town. 2). Old Egiegi road, Ujevwu town.
3). Smart Darah street off Utuama L/O Udu Rd.
4). Ovwian Community Entrance Junction.
SOLAR STREET LIGHTS
During the year under review I also facilitated the supply and installation Solar Street Lights at the following locations;
UGHELLI NORTH LGA
1). Agbarho market/palace rd
2).Agadama town Uwheru clan.
UGHELLI SOUTH LGA.
1). ObiAyagha town.
2). OtuJeremi town square.
1). Express Junction Ovwian.
2). Orhuvworun roundabout
BLOCKS OF CLASSROOMS
During the year under review I also facilitated construction of blocks of new classrooms across the constituency.
UGHELLI NORTH LGA.
1). Block of 12 classrooms and 4 toilets at Eseophe Primary school Ughelli.
2). Block of 6 classrooms at Agbarho Grammar School Agbarho.
UGHELLI SOUTH LGA.
Renovation of a block of 6 classrooms.
Block of 4 classrooms at Evwirhe Primary School Aladja
As the impact of the lockdown became evident on livelihoods, I donated foodstuffs (several bags of Beans, Garri etc) worth millions of naira to women across the constituency. I also made huge cash donations to each of the 3 Local Government administrations in the constituency to support their efforts in assisting worse hit families.
My efforts during the past year yielded fruits when Relief Materials worth several millions of naira were delivered publicly in several articulated trucks to victims of the Herdsmen attack in Uwheru Clan Ughelli North LGA. Items delivered include 600 bags of cement, 600 bundles of zinc, 257 bags each of rice, beans and garri, 257 pieces of wax print and guinea brocade, 514 pieces each of mattresses and blankets, 170 packets of zinc nails, 85 bags of 3 inches nails, 50 cartons each of toilet soap, detergent, maggi seasoning, 30 kegs of tomatoes paste, 30 kegs of vegetable oil etc etc.
I am grateful to the management and staff of the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) who also responded to my plea for victims of the floods in Ughelli North and Ughelli South LGAs. Because of Covid restrictions, distribution of these items were done through LGA Secretariats as communities affected were invited to collect their portions observing Covid protocols. I missed the emotional thrill of personally distributing these items to flood victims like I did to those affected by the Herdsmen attack.
LOANS AND GRANTS
I am glad to report that well over three hundred persons from my constituency have received cash disbursement in ongoing FGN/CBN COVID & SME loans and grants through my efforts. I appreciate the Consultants that I engaged for a job well done. I appeal to beneficiaries to use the funds properly to improve the quality of their lives and meet the attendant obligations. I request all those awaiting disbursement to be patient while those who have not sent in their applications to do so without delay.
Again to improve the living standard of our people, I engaged a number of empowerment programs during the year under review. Over three hundred beneficiaries smiled home with various cash sums while six persons got vehicles, twenty eight got motorcycles, thirty eight got sewing machines, fifteen got laptops, three got generators, 2 got grinding machines and 1 refrigerator. Let me reiterate my appeal to our people that empowerment can’t get to everyone at the same time. Just some patience and it will one day be your turn. During the period under review, we converted monthly stipends of all 70 Appointees into tangible empowerment thereby putting paid to monthly payments.
The scarcity of employment opportunities remain a huge challenge. But during the year under review I was able to secure some slots for young graduate engineers in the DISCOS and other placements in some agencies. As the economy improves I shall ensure that our unemployed graduates are gainfully employed.
I am glad to report that I got some slots for a few of our constituents and they have undergone screening awaiting airlift to the HolyLand as soon as Covid restrictions are lifted. I hope to get more slots as international travel picks up.
Apart from regularly paying school fees, house rent, hospital bills and marriage or burial support (which today has sadly become the main duties of legislators. And of course attending several ceremonies), I made donations to corporate organizations within the constituency during the year under review from donating cash towards repairs of Police vehicles and purchase of computers to Police formations, I also donated to other agencies of government.
THANKS THANKS THANKS while acknowledging that there is a lot more ground to cover, I continue to need your support, prayers, cooperation, suggestions and goodwill. I can’t end this address without appreciating the kind support and leadership of His Excellency the Deputy President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Most Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Obarisi of Urhoboland.
Together we will make the difference for our people.
Rt. Hon. Rev. Francis Ejiroghene Waive (MHR)
Honorable member representing the entire people of Ughelli North, Ughelli South, Udu Federal Constituency, House of Representatives Abuja
11th June 2021.