By  Francis Ede

The name “Ideke” rang a bell among the good people of Enugu State long before 2023. He is the same person as Barrister Okey Ezea, who ran a company named “Ideke Shipping Ltd.” He was elected senator during the 2023 general election on the platform of the Labour Party (LP). 

The great man that now represents the Enugu North senatorial district at the National Assembly was a two-time governorship candidate on the platform of the Labour Party and later All Progressives Congress (APC) in previous elections. 

Ideke could be said, without any iota of doubt or equivocation, to have endeared himself to the people of Enugu North district and indeed the greater number of the people of Enugu State by his brand of politics which recognizes, from the outset, like Karl Marx, that man must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing before he can pursue politics, science, art or even religion; and that, above ideology and party divide, these basic necessities of life must be provided before state institutions and other state enterprises and engagements can stand.

A man of indomitable spirit, resilience, doggedness, profound thought and intellectual assuredness, he is unmistakably ready for the job with a good dose of ideas and firm principles. Someone told this writer that ‘for once the people of Enugu North senatorial district have been lifted out of the trivialness and dust of politics into the region of truth and manhood’.

 A man of direct speech, he fights for the right causes. And he fights with passion and great tenacity. It is therefore these attributes and his authentic love for his people that have given him the capacity to overcome whatever had tended to block or obfuscate his vision for the greater good of the people of Enugu North.

Suffice it to say that his election as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria last year was remarkable in so many ways. Firstly, his victory was so resounding that an elated President Muhammad Buhari used that staggering defeat of the then governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as a pointer that that election was largely free and fair because it provided such striking upset. But what the then President Buhari seemed to have overlooked was the near-frenzied resolve and delight of the people of Enugu State to bring about a revolutionary change in the affairs of the state by rejecting the people and the political party that have been superintending over our affairs for more than two decades without any tangible results.

 Secondly, that massive win at the polls was a show of love, solidarity and payback time for Ideke by the people of Enugu North. Ezea had staked almost all he had in serving them and in pursuit of their interest and wellbeing amidst the contending interests of other social/political blocks in the state and the nation at large. 

It was a daring and courageous manoeuvre by the people of Enugu North as they strived to outwit the then incumbent governor Ugwuanyi. The incumbent governor was not only a candidate in that election but was also bent on using all the instruments of coercion available to him to subvert the surging will of the people to bring about the much-needed change by voting for Barr. Okey Ezea. Several times, Ezea had been shortchanged in the elections he contested.

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Distinguished Senator Okey Ezea has since ploughed on to the job of bringing the dividends of democracy to the people of Enugu North in addition to playing a major part in the work of the National Assembly, that is, making laws for good governance of the nation.  

He said in a media chat recently that, by the month of November 2023, he had already pursued to its logical conclusion the award of contracts for some roads in the zone that he inherited from his predecessor, Sen. Chukwuka Utazi. 

‘The moment we were inaugurated, I wrote letters to the agencies involved, and even went with Sen. Utazi to meet with them. We share the same objectives; let the projects be executed for the benefit of Ndi Nsukka,’ he said.

The contracts awarded in November include for the construction of a 2.5km asphalt of Nkpologu–Umulokpa road in Uzo-Uwani LGA. It was dated November 10, 2023, and awarded to Ferotex Construction Company with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as client. The contract sum is N481. 7m.

Another one also awarded on the same date of November 10, 2023, was to Servizio Global Ltd for the construction of a 1.1km asphalt of Abbi to Nrobo rural road at a sum of N239.9m from the same Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Other projects, he also said, would be awarded soon.

Sen. Okey Ezea was also in the vanguard of the call for the rehabilitation of the Makurdi–Obollo-Afor–9th Mile expressway that has been neglected for over two decades. His moving speech and plea on the floor of the Senate to the Federal Government to urgently do something about the bad state of that road has already yielded a positive result, as work has already started from both the Makurdi and Ninth Mile sections of that very important road. 

Even with all the controversy that is trailing this year’s national budget, where project envelopes attracted by members of the National Assembly to their various constituencies are generally mistaken by the uninformed as cash awards, Sen. Okey Ezea, though a first-time senator, has endeavoured to secure some laudable projects in the budget for the communities in Enugu North. When executed, they will bring smiles to the faces of the people of the zone.

On April 6, 2023, the people of Enugu North Senatorial District invited their friends and well-wishers and indeed the general public to a well-deserved ‘Thanksgiving and Grand Reception’ for this beloved son of the zone where encomium was poured in torrents on Sen Okey Ezea for for doggedness and strive for the good of his people. Meanwhile, Ideke keeps on striving with all his might and strength to bring only the best of what this democratic dispensation has to offer to their doorsteps. Truly, Ideke is working, and his people truly appreciate his good works.

• Ede writes from Enugu

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