Hon. Emmanuel Orie: Six Months In The Saddle
Outside Ohaji/Egbema, his local constituency, Honourable Orie is anything but a household name. A graduate of University of Abuja and a new entrant in the Imo political arena, he commands no battalions and strikes few public poses. But if the obviously marginalized constituency finally breaks away from relegation and settles into socio-political revival with visible developmental indices in the next four years, it will be in no small measure thanks to him.
As the House Member representing Ohaji/Egbema constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Orie has spent the last six months investigating into the slow pace of development in the constituency and has for the time being held culpable the moribund state of electric power supply that threw the constituency into darkness for the past five years.
As House committee Chairman on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Affairs, he is on a vantage position to supervise all projects of the commission in the state. Not only can he look into public complaints about poor performance and underdevelopment he can also start investigations on his own. He has been doing both with determined independence.
Evidently, the abandoned gas turbine project at Egbema is entering a new phase on the path to linking the constituency to the national gas line as work commenced last month after series of consultations with Nigerian Independent Power Project (NIPP) and the contractors. Earlier, the protracted power outage in communities in the constituency has been fixed and electric power restored. Constituents from the over 20 autonomous communities have testified to this development and collectively feel the change is rewarding.
But Hon. Orie has done more. Some months back during the rains, the Ohaji end of the Owerri-Port Harcourt Road that is currently undergoing dualisation was impassable and as such a nightmare to travellers from different parts of the country. The situation appeared dicey seeing that the road rehabilitation effort is a federal project.
As Deputy Chief Whip of the House and a committed representative, he avoided the usual biased excuse and defeatist stance that is common with local and state politicians when it has to do with federal projects, and went ahead to hold meetings with Arab Contractors and successfully talked them back to work. As at the time of writing, work is ongoing on the project and travellers are plying the road freely without having to make dangerous detours into the bush.
To kick-start his pilot youth/women empowerment programme, Hon. Orie recognizes the pivotal position of good health in all human endeavor and so in collaboration with the Catholic Church in Umuokanne, the headquarters of Ohaji District, he launched what he described as free medical checkup for all. Also, consultations are ongoing with the oil companies operating in the oilfields of Ohaji, Egbema, and Oguta to establish corporate presence in the state so as to create jobs for the teeming youths of the oil producing communities.
Like most of his senior colleagues in the local youth wing, Ujunwa Nometa, an executive of the Ohaji Egbema Students Association (OHESA), Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo values the House member and the role he plays. The youth wing’s appreciation for Hon. Orie’s performance is helping to persuade the constituents to abandon their old distrust of house representatives for at least a wary acceptance.
Being about the youngest in the house, he has effortlessly become a darling of the social media where he airs his views positively and with great deal of creativity regardless of the barrage of criticisms often hauled at him by political opponents. One eloquent attestation to his outstanding innocuous approach to social media came in the form of an award in July 2015 from the Social Media Searchlight Concept, owners of Imo Social Media Awards.
Hon. Emmanuel Chigoziri Orie has a vision which he strongly believes would steer his course and shape the political future of his constituency. Guided by his convictions he remains resolute, dogged, and poised to go down in history as an achiever and as a representative with a clear difference.
In his determination to carry everybody along, he has chosen to be open to the media and to anyone who wishes to be updated on his achievements. This write up is an account of his stewardship for his first six months as a Legislator. It is no doubt revealing. In a constituency where so much has been hidden for so long, these revelations are liberating.
Chigozie Chikere is a Lecturer and lives in Lagos. E-mail: [email protected] , Phone: 08039504536