Former National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief (Dr) Victor Umeh, OFR, was elected by his people on January 13,2018, in the court-ordered rerun of the 2015 Anambra Central senatorial election, to represent them in the Senate. Umeh, a consummate and astute politician, was inaugurated as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on January 18, 2018.

The journey of the ex-APGA helmsman to the Senate was tortuous – full of twists and turns. After the March 28, 2015 polls, Umeh was at the tribunal, to challenge the election of Mrs. Uche Ekwunife of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was upturned on December 7, 2015. Thereafter, it took him over two years of legal warfare to clear the way for the rerun ordered by the appeal tribunal to take place, due to PDP’s refusal to accept the judgment disqualifying the party from participating.

After his triumph in the rerun election, Umeh had told his people he was not going to disappoint them, pledging to work hard to recover the lost ground suffered by Anambra Central, during the period the zone’s seat in the Senate was vacant due to needless litigations. Since he assumed office one year ago, he has left no stone unturned in keeping to his promise to give his people quality representation. Within one year as the Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, he has made a considerably marked impact in the Senate by virtue of his valuable inputs at plenary sessions.

Hardly has there been any sitting in the last one year that Umeh was not seen contributing to the issues of the day by moving and supporting motions and bills, as it concerned Anambra Central, Anambra State, Ndigbo and Nigeria in general. On the home front, he has embarked on several meaningful projects and programmes, aimed at adding value to the lives of members of his constituency.

How else can a lawmaker give his people valuable representation in a legislative house, if not by always speaking on their behalf when issues are being discussed and debated, and ensuring that their problems are well articulated and properly channeled? Umeh has observably proven his mettle and bravery within a short period in the Red Chamber and Anambra Central people appear to be completely proud of him. No wonder they have continued to show their overwhelming and unflinching support for the APGA chieftain, ahead of the 2019 Anambra Central senatorial poll holding on February 16, of which he is seeking to be re-elected.

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), the 26th president of United States of America, “the most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice”. According to John Calvin Maxwell, an American author, speaker, and pastor, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. For the people of Anambra Central, the Ohamadike Ndigbo, has done much within one year as the political leader of the zone to deserve a full term of four years in the Senate. He is believed to have demonstrated sterling leadership qualities such that his constituents are comfortable with his decision to seek re-election.

The outcome of the recent opinion poll conducted by a socio-political organisation, named Anambra Central Senatorial Zone People’s Assembly (ACSZPA), said to be the umbrella body of all the eligible voters in the senatorial district, further showed the total acceptability of Umeh’s return bid to the Senate.

According to ACSZPA, from the poll conducted, Umeh of APGA was the choice of the people of the zone for the senatorial seat. The group advised candidates of the other political parties, in the senatorial race to support Umeh, including his main rival, Ekwunife of PDP. ACSZPA maintained that there was need for all and sundry to throw their weight behind the re-election bid of the APGA stalwart to enable him continue with the good work he is doing, as the representative of Anambra Central, in the Upper Legislative House of the National Assembly. The leader and facilitator of the group, Chief Arinze Anyaorah, said the people of the district considered a lot of factors which included: integrity, pedigree, achievements and programmes of the candidates before settling for Umeh.

At a meeting with President Generals and Women Leaders of all the communities in Anambra Central, Umeh’s transparency and accountability in leadership was highly commended.The leaders in the communities are fully in support of his return bid on account of his effective, bold, progressive and proactive representation, since he became the legislator occupying the seat of Anambra Central in the Red Chamber.

Speaking at the gathering of the President Generals and Women Leaders in Anambra Central communities, Distinguished Senator Umeh, assured the people of a greater commitment and dogged determination to continue to bring the dividends of democracy to their doorsteps if re-elected. He said: “I am sure of myself. I will not betray you people. I am there not for myself but for my people. All I have done are in 10 months, imagine how much will be done in four years when I am reelected. If I stand reelected by February 16th, I assure you that you will continue to hear my voice on important national issues especially the ones affecting Ndigbo and I’ll continue to make sure that everything belonging to my people are brought to them without losing anyone.

“It is better to elect people who are sincerely devoted to the cause of the people than those who will go there and seek for lucrative Senate committees to enrich themselves. I have made my stand known; my appearance and ideologies define me. Whenever they see me in my tall red cap, they know I am a proud Igbo man; therefore, they cannot relegate my people before me. Whenever issues concerning Ndịgbo are being discussed, I must always try my best to ensure the interest of my people are fully represented.”

Umeh’s admirers believe that his accomplishments since January, 2018, have exceeded that of his predecessors in Anambra Central. His allies are of the view that the senatorial zone has never had it so good under the stewardship of any senator in the past.

Some of the listed achievements recorded in Umeh’s one year as a first-timer in the Senate include: full scholarship to 70 indigent students and payment of school fees of many others; training of 161 youths in skill acquisition empowered with starter packs and cash donations to begin their own businesses; distributions of tricycles (popularly known as Keke NAPEP) to some unemployedyouths; construction of Primary Health Center at Oba community; contribution to the bill on the establishment of the South East Development Commission; co-sponsorship of the “Federal University of Education Aguleri, Anambra State (Est, etc) Bill, 2018 (SB, 653)” with Senator Stella Oduah and sponsorship of a bill for the creation of the Theatre Art Professional Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria. Also worthy of note are Umeh’s motions on “The Urgent Need to Include the Eastern Rail lines in the Nigerian Railway Development Project” and “Illegal Confinement of Underage Offenders and Infants In The Same Prison With Adult Prisoners”.

Umeh’s excellent performance in the Senate since January 2018 has earned him several awards and laurels, such as the Anambra State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Man-of-the-Year 2018 Award and the 2018 Best Senator Award in Overall Motion by the Senate Press Corps. Crowned the Nwannedinamba of Adazi-Nnukwu kingdom at the 2018 New Yam Festival, Senator Umeh has bagged about 40 chieftaincy titles – all in recognition of his philanthropic gestures, service to humanity and outstanding positive contributions to the general growth and development of the society.

Michael Jegede, a media professional writes from Abuja