By Chuks Eke
The outgoing Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial zone, Senator Uche Ekwunife has rendered the account of her stewardship at the Senate to members of her constituency.
The senator who addressed the members during a town hall meeting convened by her in Awka, said she is leaving the Senate as a proud politician, after performing very well, adding that she was not quitting active politics yet because she was rather too young and active to retire.
Ekwunife also backed the fuel subsidy removal by President Bola Tinubu, saying that all the presidential candidates had during their campaigns said they were going to remove it.
She, however, called for the upward and immediate review of workers’ minimum wage to enable them meet up with the challenges the subsidy removal would throw up.
She said, “I am in support of the fuel subsidy removal. Incidentally, all the presidential candidates said they will remove the fuel subsidy immediately.
“But the President must look into the minimum wage. It must be reviewed and enhanced as a matter of urgency for public servants to meet up with the challenges the subsidy removal will throw up.
“I also hope the money that would be saved would be used to provide basic infrastructures.
“This is my fourth and last town hall meeting as your senator. The next town hall meeting I will call, will be in my personal capacity. I am here to give account of my four years journey because I held the position in trust for millions of my constituents.
“I am a fulfilled politician, and I am leaving the stage proud as a politician. Mine was not about occupying office and bearing the name of a senator, but service, and service to the people, and that was what we did.
“I sponsored 30 bills and moved 18 motions. I was the senator who stood on the floor of the Senate and spoke about the non-representation of the South-East in the board of the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC and former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed an Igbo son as a non-executive member to represent the people of the South-East.
“We did roads in all the communities that make up the seven local government areas of my constituency. In Human Capital Development, we trained women and youths on skills, development and capacity building. We also trained Presidents-General of communities, present and past, and trained traditional rulers too”.
“There was entrepreneurship training for youths. We facilitated employment for over 600 of our constituents. I worked hard to ensure that many projects are put in the 2023, and before the third quarter of this year, many of those projects would be completed. I sacrificed my personal gains, just to ensure I served you well.”
Ekwunife, who recontested the senatorial election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP but was defeated during the last February 25, 2023 senatorial election by the Labour Party candidate, Senator Victor Umeh, described her defeat as a result of blackmail by her opponents.
On why she did not challenge the outcome of the elections, the outgoing lawmaker said it was unnecessary, especially “for one who refused to view politics as a do-or-die affair”.
“I decided not to challenge the result, let me go and rest. Politics is not a do-or-die affair. Once your objectives are to serve the people, why are you fighting to serve them? You must not win all the time. Politics is like market, as you are coming back, others are going.
“I feel bad that many people tried to pitch me against Peter Obi, as if I was contesting the election against Obi.
“I was blackmailed by my opponents, to the point that every remark I made during the election was twisted against me. They even went as far as forging my letter head, and issuing out fake press releases with them”.
“In Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, during the flag off of the presidential campaign of the PDP, I was called upon to speak, and when I said that Nigeria needs a strong President, who can stand for the over two million Nigerians, and not a kindergarten president, they went to town that I was referring to Obi as kindergarten president”.
“That event was televised live, and I did not mention anyone’s name. How could I have been referring to Obi? How did they know that out of the 18 presidential candidates, that it was Obi I was referring to?”
“On election day, they circulated bulk SMS, quoting me as insulting Obi, just to blackmail me and pitch me against Obi,” she recalled.