-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA):
Asaba international airport on Friday was besieged with a mammoth crowd of men, women and youths who came from the Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency, Delta state, to receive Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader of the Federal House of Representatives, as he visited his constituency for the first time, after emerging minority leader of the House.
Rt. Hon. Elumelu arrived at the Asaba airport with eight members of the House of Representatives cutting across PDP, APC, ADC, from across different states and religions in the country.
Addressing newsmen at the airport, Elumelu said members of the House who visited his constituency with him showed that as soon as they are sworn in as members of the national assembly, party affiliations, tribal and religious inclinations are no longer recognized as they now work together for the good of Nigeria.
He said: “We are one family. We have APC, PDP, APGA, ADC, all of us are here, we are one family. From the day we were sworn in, we became one. And the essence of that is for us to build a formidable nation for our people and ensure that the good dividends of democracy get to our people. So we don’t talk about party once we are on the floor and that is what they are showcasing by coming here with me.”
Elumelu, who was highly elated on seeing the turnout of his constituents to welcome him, told journalists, that he was visiting his constituency, in line with the reformist agenda of the Ninth National Assembly part of which is visiting of constituencies regularly for consultations on what he needed to take back to the floor of the house so that, “we can have a better and a united Nigeria.”
He said the crowd that welcomed him at the airport was a testimony of the love the people has for him, adding that it shows they are happy that for the first time they voted for whom they wanted to represent them in the national assembly.
“They are here to showcase their joy and happiness that they did not only vote for somebody with capacity, but for their son who has gone there to get something home for them,” he enthused.
Answering a question on why he visited former military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida in Minna, Niger state, immediately after swearing in, Elumelu said Babangida was the leader of the nation, hence he visited him to pay homage, seek for advise and offer himself for any services or assignments the distinguished leader would wish for him to perform or deliver in the interest of the nation, for the next four years.
On the issue of power probe which the house is demanding in the new assembly, Elumelu said what the people are asking for is not just a probe but they want to know what happened in the power sector and why power has been inconsistent in the nation.
“They want to know why we do not have constant electricity. And of course the house is a vibrant house, you can see them behind me, those are my bosses, they decide what happens on the floor of the house.
“We don’t decide for them, ours is to say what they decide and they have said they want to know what is happening why we don’t have constant electricity in Nigeria. We will do what they want,” Elumelu conceded.
Shedding light on the controversy that surrounded his emergence as the minority leader of the House and the current situation, Elumelu said: “I don’t think there is any more to say. First when you have a parent who feels that you should go to study medicine and you go ahead to study law, there is tendency for them to be upset that you have not taken the line they asked you to follow. But after some time coupled with your humility, by going to ask them for forgiveness, everything will go down well in the end.”
Having emerged minority leader of the House, he said he would run a transparent and open office that would accommodate every member of the House, noting that it is what the members decide at the executive sessions that is brought to plenary for robust debate and deliberation for the good of all Nigerians.
He said: “The function of the leadership of the house is to say what the members have decided. We go into executive sessions, they tell us what they want us to tell the public and what the public should know about and we just say it. So, mine is to bring everybody together, no victor,no vanquished.”
Elumelu, who expressed displeasure over the killings of Nigerians in South Africa and indeed the spate of insecurity in the country, noted that the federal government has a commission on Diaspora and the House of Representatives also has a committee which it has inaugurated, saying: “I believe that as soon as we resume, one of the first things we will look at is that issue and other killings ravaging us in the country. There is no doubt; we have the capacity to handle all these issues.”
He also decried the invasion of the national assembly by the Shi’ites saying the insecurity situation in the country would be on the front burner in the House when it resumes from its recess, even as he stressed that the timely intervention of the Reps, following the invasion by the Shi’ites, led to the release of El-Zakzaky and he was given the opportunity to go to India for treatment.
Speaking on the sidelines of the constituency visit, a member of the House of Representatives from Abia state, Rt. Hon. Darlington Nwokocha who was amongst the eight members that accompanied Rt. Hon. Elumelu to his constituency, declared that the PDP caucus in the House, under the leadership of Elumelu, would carry out a robust opposition that would lead to a better Nigeria.
“Everything you may define as a robust opposition as obtained in the international clime, that is what you should expect from us because we have people that are well experienced, we have people that are fearless, we have people that are constructive.
“We are not going to fight physically, but we will use our intellectual capacity to make sure we achieve anything achievable for Nigerians. And at the end of the day all of us will be glad we did.”
Rt. Hon. Nwokocha, who is the House committee chairman on insurance, described Elumelu as a man with extra-ordinary qualities which attracted the eight members who visited Elumelu’s constituency with him.
According to him: “For you to see this cream of legislators that have come with him, that means he has some extra-ordinary qualities that must have attracted us to this place. If you look at the cream of people that are here, it cuts across regions, Muslims, Christians, tribes, Hausas, Yorubas and every tribe.
“Elumelu is a special breed. He is a man with a very vast knowledge of interpersonal relationships. He is a man that will make sure he feels your pulse at any point in time. He is a man that can guide you aright. His leadership qualities and excellent which I believe every person that wants to grow should emulate.
“I thank God that we are here today. I was thinking that the kind of cordial relationship we have is maybe because we are in Abuja. But today, I can see from the kind of crowd that received us from the airport down to his home that means he is on ground and has a robust relationship with his people even outside his home. So, he is a good man.
“From what I have seen and the kind of projects he has attracted to his place, I pray that the people of this constituency will always send him to represent them in any capacity because it takes a man with great onions to have come up with these kinds of laudable projects. I think the people here will be better off if they continue sending him to represent them.”
Other members of the House of Representatives who joined Hon. Nwokocha on the visit were; Rt. Hon. Jonathan Gaza from Nasarawa state, Femi Bamishe from Ekiti state, Jafaru Ribadu from Adamawa state, Benjamin Mzondu, Benue state, Vincent Ofuwelu, Anambra state and Dr. Okwudili Ezewnakwo from Anambra state.