Tuesday, 24 November 2015

When “home front” rose for Senator Udoma

When “home front” rose for Senator Udoma
The much expected nomination, screening  at the Senate and subsequent inauguration of Senator Udoma Udo Udoma into the Federal Executive Council by President Muhammadu Buhari has come and gone but the memories live.  The rest are the stories. 

Apart from the fundamental formality or routine expectations in changing circumstances, so many persons too well known by their track record would not need any introduction on the crowded lofty podium of history.  That seems to be the sweet dilemma of this piece in trying to introduce Senator Udoma Udo Udoma.  He therefore needs an introduction because of his recent added responsibility which has made it almost imperative, to help us follow his footprints without unnecessary questions.  Otherwise, in Nigeria in particular, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma would have needed no introduction.  On the other hand, President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent nomination and the subsequent hassleless screening of Senator Udoma by the Senate has necessitated a follow-up of a man whom Nigerians have always known for the good, hence, reasons for the fresh feathers added to his cap.

Udoma Udo Udoma, popularly known and addressed by his late father as “Ete”, born into Ayanti’s family some 60 years ago, hails from Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.  He is the 3rd son of late Honourable Justice Sir Udo Udoma, an eminent jurist of Nigeria’s first class stock who unarguably keeps a singular record of being the only Nigerian to have served as an Acting Governor-General and Chief Justice in a foreign land, Uganda to be precise.  In synopsis, Udoma’s academic credentials show that he holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Jurisprudence, Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master of Arts Degree in Civil Law, all from the prestigious Oxford University.
Udoma Udo Udoma as a Public Servant and as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a Senior Partner of Udo Udoma and Bello Osagie law firm.  He holds the record of being: 

• Pioneer Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
• Chairman, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC)
• Chairman, Union Bank Plc
• Chairman, UAC
• Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE)
• Udoma is a two-term Senator.  He was elected Senator for the Akwa Ibom South Constituency at the start of the Nigerian fourth Republic on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). 
• Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Due to his outstanding performance, he was reelected for an indisputed second term on the same platform in April 2003.  At the Senate, he did not play a second fiddle role.  He meritoriously served in certain positions and several committees, which include:
• Chief Whip
• Chairman, Committee on National Planning, Revenue Mobilization and Poverty Alleviation
• Chairman, Appropriation Committee
•Vice Chairman, Privatization, Drugs and Narcotics, and as member of several strategic committees
• Leader of National Assembly Delegation on Debt Relief which successfully got reprieve for Federal Government of Nigeria. 

His outstanding track records, eloquence and mastery of Senate Rules and the Constitution of Nigeria, makes him the envy of other Senators, past and serving.   Other scenarios that still linger on were his strong respect and support for the constitution than for his insatiable personal ambitions. 
On the marble are his opposition to former President Obasanjo’s infamous third-term bid, as well as his unwavering support to Obong Attah on the celebrated issue of Onshore-Offshore Oil Dichotomy. 

During his well-watched screening at the Senate, Senator Udoma categorically made known his reasons for deciding to answer the call of Mr. President.  He hinted that after careful consideration, he decided to accept the nomination based on the fact that he is impressed with the personal example of President Muhammadu Buhari, his integrity, abhorrence of corruption and determination to run a transparent and accountable administration.  The distinguished Senator added that he sincerely believes, with all humility, that he has something to offer. 

The Man - Senator Udoma is independent-minded and has a reputation of great integrity, character and self-worth. He is unanimously agreed to be emulated in terms of integrity, meticulousness, organisation and excellence.
The inauguration of Senator Udoma as Minister of Budget and National Planning which held on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 was followed by a reception organized by some of his close associates and stakeholders of his home base- Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency. 

Speaking at the reception in Abuja, a member of the Akwa Ibom State Executive Council who oversees the Rural Development Ministry, Rt. Hon (Barr) Ekong Sampson, enunciated the sterling qualities of Senator Udoma and pointed out that those under his tutelage have a lot to learn from his personality and are unwilling to pass out from his school of thought.  Barr Ekong who was Chief Legislative Assistant to Udoma then as senator added that working with the now Budget and National Planning Minister could be likened to passing through University because of the Senator’s intellectual depth and moral rectitude. Barr Ekong stated without any reservations, his delight over Mr President’s choice of Senator Udoma as Minister, noting that Senator Udoma is well respected and experienced, and has served the country in many capacities without any blemish. He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his discreet decision to have selected Senator Udoma to work with him in repositioning Nigeria. 

Also speaking, Dr. Umanaette Udo, former Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom State and Managing Director, Sun Centre, described Senator Udoma as God sent and a true Nigerian. He described him as one you can hardly find fault in adding that at private, corporate and government levels, home and abroad, he is cut out for excellence.  He thanked Buhari for not looking for the usual praise-singers or sycophants but the one who is ready to render service and stressed that his choice of Senator Udoma is not mistaken. 

Also speaking at the reception, the member representing Ikot Abasi State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Honourable Uduak Odudoh described the Minister as a former legislator whose superlative performance at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly - Senate, is worthy of emulation.  He further urged the newly appointed Minister in this high spirit to urgently look into the dwindling economic fortunes of Ikot Abasi and restore them.  The House Member particularly mentioned the dilapidated state of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) and its devastating effect on the lives of its constituents and urged him to use his good offices to breathe back life into ALSCON. 

Other speakers at the event who also poured encomiums on the Honourable Minister were Barr Inam Ukotak, Barr Solomon Etuk, Justus Ntuk and representatives from his native town- Elder Etebom Ukofia and Elder Bruce Ukoekong.  

In his response, the Hon Minister thanked the people for organizing a party to receive him and stated emphatically that he is challenged by the quality of the audience and advices given to him and affirmed that though he is, by virtue of his new position, obliged to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Mr President who appointed him, he is also obliged to his people.  Driving home his commitment, he referenced his late father’s philosophy that, whatever situation and position one may find himself, one should not forget to protect the interest of people.  He mentioned that though he was challenged while at the Senate on the Onshore-Offshore Oil Dichotomy saga, which he fought to the later, he is also challenged now, given his new office and promised to live up to expectations.
Notable among the dignitaries that were present at the ceremony were Hon Emmanuel Obot, Obong Unwana I of Uyo; Hon Dan Akpan; a former Member, House of Representatives, Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency; Hon (Arc) Ufot Udoinyang; immediate past Chairman of Ikot Abasi Local Government Council; Dr Umanaette Udo; Hon Aniefiok Udoekong; Hon Ufok Frank; Elder Archibong Umoh; Essien Enang; including the leadership of Akwa Ibom community in Abuja and others. 

The in-house Federal Constituency reception was hosted by Rt. Hon (Barr) Ekong Sampson.

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