Of Hallmark award and Senator Ndoma-Egba

By Michael Jegede

On February 21, 2014, the award of 'Lawmaker of the Year 2013' was
conferred on Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba,
at the annual Hallmark Newspaper Awards ceremony held at the Civic
Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Ndoma-Egba, a great philanthropist and astute politician who has been
a leading light in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, was
honoured for his numerous initiatives in the Senate that have assisted
a lot in the nurturing of our nascent democracy. The prestigious
awards banquet equally saw some other prominent Nigerians who have
distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour,
receiving honours of achievement, with Dr. (Amb.) Tokunbo Awolowo
Dosunmu as the chairperson of the day.

As stated by the management of Hallmark Newspaper, in his award
citation read at the well-attended occasion, Ndoma Egba, born on March
8, 1956, "Was first elected to the Senate in 2003 and was re-elected
in 2007 and 2011; and has served in various standing and ad-hoc Senate
Committees. He was Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Affairs in the
5th Senate and Deputy Senate Leader in the 6th Senate and currently
Senate Leader. He chaired the senate Ad-Hoc Committee on the Petroleum
Development Trust Fund and has sponsored 24 bills including the
Freedom of Information Bill (FIB) which is now an act of the National
Assembly, and several motions.

"He was a delegate to the United Nations 50th General Assembly, Leader
of the Nigerian Delegation to the Association of Senates, Shooras and
Equivalent Councils in Africa and Arab World (ASSECAA) and is
currently a member of and Leader of the Nigerian delegation to the Pan
African Parliament which sits in Midrand, South Africa.

"He is widely travelled and highly regarded. He is humble, unassuming
and has a keen sense of humour and history. He was conferred with the
rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2004, the first and only one so
conferred from the National Assembly, and hold two National Honors;
Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) and Commander of the Order of
the Niger (CON). He holds several other honors including the Kwame
Nkrumah Leadership Award, and titles.

"Your Excellency, Madam Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
it is in recognition of the superlative performance of Senator Ndoma
Egba and the quality of leadership he has shown in the hallowed
chamber of the National Assembly that the Editorial Board of Hallmark
Newspaper chose him as the Lawmaker of the Year 2013."

I can say unequivocally that this Hallmark award of Lawmaker of the
year 2013 so bestowed on the Senator, representing the good people of
Cross River Central Senatorial District on the platform of Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP), is absolutely in order. It is indeed a
justification of his rating in previous assessment reports on the
performance of Senators on the floor of the Senate chamber.

For instance, a Daily Trust analysis of the Senate's Mid-Term
Assessment Report in July 2013 showed that of the 342 bills introduced
since the commencement of the seventh Senate on June 6, 2011, the
Senate Leader sponsored 24, placing him on top of the chart where 34
out of 109 Senators had no single bill to their credit.

Seen as a quite simple, easily approachable and detribalized lawmaker
whose door is always open to all and sundry, the three-term Senator
has likewise not disappointed his people in the area of constituency
projects. He has used his good office to attract a reasonable number
of developmental projects to his senatorial district since he joined
the Senate in 2003. Some of such projects include: the Africa
Development Bank sponsored -Enugu-Abakaliki-Ikom Transafrica Highway
corridor, the World Bank intervention on the Ikom-Ogoja Road, the
Specialist Hospital in Ikom, the Calabar -Oban-Nsan-Ajassor Road and
the catalogue of MDG projects.

Also, the award-winning legislator has made significant impact in the
lives of his constituents through his highly praised scholarship
scheme with about 600 recipients so far; his computer literacy
programme with close to 6,000 graduates as beneficiaries; his
intervention in public transportation coupled with his manifold water
supply schemes, drainage and erosion control works, solar panel street
lights and rural electrification projects across the six Local
Government Areas (LGAs) of his senatorial district. Just recently, the
Senator, bothered about the difficulty farmers go through in accessing
loans and their continuous sticking to obsolete farming practices,
organized an outreach programme, where free agricultural products
worth several millions of naira were distributed to farmers across the
six LGAs in Cross River Central. This kind guesture coming from the
amiable parliamentarian ever willing to put smiles on the faces of the
people, would go a long way in helping the beneficiaries to enhance
production in their farming business ventures.

A PDP chieftain from Nasarawa State, Alhaji Yusuf Ayitogo, hailed the
Hallmark award given to Ndoma-Egba, describing it as a well-deserved
honour for a man highly respected for his monumental achievements as a
legislator. Ayitogo is the National Vice Chairman of PDP (North
Central). According to him, the Senate Leader has demonstrated his
indepth knowledge of the workings of the legislature by the number of
bills and motions he has so far sponsored in the chamber.

Hear Ayitogo: "I commend the Hallmark Newspaper for deeming it fit to
honour Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba with the award of Lawmaker of the
year 2013. The newspaper made the right choice for the award in the
person of Ndoma-Egba. Nobody in this country who has been monitoring
the activities and proceedings in the Senate would argue that this
gentleman does not deserve the award. The Hallmark newspaper was right
in its judgement. The award cannot be said to be out of place. As a
member of PDP, I am very happy that Ndoma-Egba, a very loyal member of
our great party is really doing us proud. I wish him the very best as
he continues to justify the confidence reposed in him by his people."
Commenting on the Ndoma-Egba's Hallmark award, Hon. Michael Ogbodo, an
aspirant for Ogori/Magongo Constituency seat in Kogi State House of
Assembly in 2015 said: "I was not surprised at all to hear that
Senator Ndoma-Egba emerged the 2013 legislator of the year. Even
before I came to the National Assembly in 2011 as a senior aide to
Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, representing Kogi Central Senatorial
District, I have keenly watched the contributions of Ndoma-Egba to
debates on national issues. His contributions are invariably very deep
and insightful and always gearing towards the side of the people. I
think he rightly deserves such an award without anybody questioning
it. This kind of award is very necessary to always encourage people
like Ndoma-Egba who have made sincere efforts to add value to the

Michael Jegede, a media practitioner, wrote from Abuja