Kogi poll: What is Omebije up to?

Former Deputy Speaker Kogi State House of Assembly Emmanuel Omebije is among the People Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirants warming up for the primary. How far can he go? A commentator, Joseph Edegbo, examines the prospects and contraints of his ambition.

Ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State, political gladiators in the two dominant political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Peoples Democratic Party,  (PDP, have begun preparations to reposition themselves in readiness for the primaries scheduled for August 26 and September 3 , respectively.

At the last count, no fewer than 30 aspirants have picked the nomination forms of the APC, while 13 others have bought forms to fire a shot at the PDP’s number one position.

One of the early birds among the PDP aspirants is Emmanuel Ogbe Omebije; a suave urbane and charismatic politician from Dekina Local Government Area in Kogi East Senatorial District.

A cypress among pliant shrubs, Emmanuel Omebije, picked his nomination and signification of interest forms from the Wadata Plaza Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, to the delight of unprecedented crowd of party supporters and cheerful admirers.

Unlike many of the aspirants who are unarguably political neophytes, Rt. Hon. Omebije is a trusted and tested political giant who has bestrode the political landscape of Kogi State like a colossus, literally leaving indelible and enviable marks in political brinkmanship and social engineering.

Omebije, an accomplished professional Surveyor, made his foray into partisan politics in 2007, when in a bid to serve his people, he contested election into the Kogi State House of Assembly, representing Okura Constituency on the platform of the PDP.

Having won the election, he diligently served between 2007 and 2011. Still not done, Omebije sought re-election in 2011 and his appreciative constituents rewarded him with another 4- year mandate running from 2011 to 2015.

Like a gold fish that has no hiding place, Omebije’s sterling leadership and administrative acumens, did not escape the sharp lenses of his colleague legislators who nominated and subsequently as well as unanimously elected him as the Deputy Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly for the period 2011 – 2015.

It is instructive to note that during his eight years eventful sojourn at the Kogi State House of Assembly, Omebije was not only a member of several committees but also chaired four strategic committees ; namely; House Services, Special Duties, Works and Housing and the Ethics and Privileges Committees.

Not known for being a bench warmer, the aspirant moved several vital motions and sponsored numerous private bills, all geared towards moving Kogi State forward and impacting positively on the lives of Kogites.

Among the litany of people -oriented bills, he sponsored the following that stood out very poignantly:

(a) A Bill for a Law to provide for the Control of Urban and Regional Planning activities in Kogi State; the Establishment and Function of the Board, planning Authorities and other purposes connected therewith. (2011).

(b) A Bill for a Law to promote the Rights of Disabled Persons in Kogi State and other Matters connected therewith. (2013).

(c) A Bill for a Law to provide for the Establishment of Grimmard Hospital’s College of Nursing and Midwifery, Anyigba, Kogi State.

Also during his tenure as the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Omebije moved the following notable motions:

  1. i) Motion appealing to the Kogi State Government to recapitalize the State’s transport company to make it more functional;
  2. ii) Motion appealing to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCH) to hasten electricity between Geregu power station and the Eastern part of Kogi State;

iii) Motion calling upon the Kogi State Government to forward a Bill to the House of Assembly to give legal backing to the owner-occupier Housing Scheme;

  1. IV) Motion calling upon the State Government and Local Government Councils to check the activities of vandals of electricity cables along the Ajaokuta /Anyigba road;
  2. v) Motion calling upon the State Government to upgrade the status of the Agricultural Training Centre, Ochaja to a Diploma awarding institution;

vI) Motion Commending His Excellency, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, for the massive construction and rehabilitation of township roads and streets in Kogi State; vii) Motion calling on Kogites to lay down warfare and cooperate with the government of Captain Idris Wada; and, viii) Motion calling upon the Kogi State Government to increase agricultural Extension Services and provision of farm inputs to farmers in the State.

Aside from law- making,  Omebije initiated and completed several multi-million naira people-centered Constituency projects in Okura and Anyigba political wards to the eternal gratitude and appreciation of his constituents.

Such projects range from construction of Primary school blocks; Community health care facilities; skill acquisition centres, provision of public toilets ,rural electrification, potable water supply to the construction of rural feeder roads.

Satisfied that he had served his people meritoriously at the Kogi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Omebije felt there was the need to up the political ante by moving a step higher to the level where he could be in a vantage position to provide good quality representation that would further rub off positively on his people. Thus, in the run-off to the 2015 general elections, he contested at the primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ticket of the Federal House of Representatives, which he, however lost.  Unlike other politicians who would jump ship at the slightest opportunity, Rt. Hon. Omebije, a faithful, loyal and committed party man, stuck with the PDP, even in the face of relentless and mounting pressures to abandon the party and decamp to the ruling party, the APC.

It is perhaps, a mark of this commitment and in realization of the need to change the present sorry State of affairs in Kogi State that Rt. Hon. Omebije decided that the time is ripe to throw his hat in the ring by picking the gubernatorial nomination form of the PDP, to slug it out with other aspirants during the party’s primaries scheduled for September 3, 2019 and ultimately, during the governorship election on November 16, 2019.

Omebije’s political philosophy, which is premised on the mantra of “A Better Kogi is Possible,” is driven by a desire to provide governance that puts service above self; with a focus on people/purpose driven performance as well as community based development.

In the blue print containing his vision for Kogi State, the PDP Governorship aspirant declared that “I am putting myself forward because our dear Kogi State needs to be delivered from the clutch of collapse and the mismanagement of the present crop of usurpers “.

Omebije’s vision for Kogi State as the Governor,  is further anchored on the following benchmarks: (a) To provide a true and viable social democratic system with an all- inclusive style of governance , devoid of tribal, gender or sectional considerations, in order to decisively deal with all socio-economic vices that have gripped the State over time.

(b) To build people as the main and prime resource of the State and compliment same strong structures and institutions devoid of personal interests and considerations, where the greatest good for the greatest number is paramount; (c) To create and lead sustainable pragmatic innovations , economic regeneration platforms ,Industrialization, entrepreneurship, due consideration and premium for education, agriculture, women and youth empowerment and job creation through private led Initiatives.

The PDP Governorship aspirant hopes to build people as the main and prime resource of the State with strong structures and institutions devoid of personal interests and considerations based on his principle of servant leadership.

Omebije who believes in good governance as one of the core values of modern Democracy, hopes to bring his wealth of experience to bear on the governance of Kogi State by enthroning a participatory consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective, efficient. equitable and all inclusive system of government that observes the rule of law and has zero tolerance for corruption. He also promises to promote a system of governance that accommodates the views of the minorities and the voices of the most vulnerable in the society in decision making.

Given the humiliation which workers in Kogi State have had to endure under the outgoing anti- people government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Rt. Hon.Omebije, if given the mandate, hopes to dramatically change the narrative by creating a labour friendly atmosphere where priority will be given to the prompt payment of the salaries of civil servants who constitute the engine room for the implementation of government policies and programmes.

A man of many parts, Rt. Hon. Omebije has cut a niche for himself in the annals of the surveying profession where he distinguished himself as a Licensed Surveyor and was subsequently recognized by the Nigerian Institute of Surveyors with a prestigious award for his contributions to the surveying profession in Nigeria at the Northern Surveyors’ Forum in 2010. An accomplished surveyor, Rt. Hon. Omebije has floated and successfully managed a number of topnotch companies; among them, Cedar Investment Limited, Abuja, as Managing Director/CEO, from 1996 to 2006; Undelete Consult Limited, also in Abuja, as Chief Surveyor (2003-2007), and Farcajo Properties Limited, Abuja, as Managing Director/CEO (2005-2007).

Beyond the shores of Nigeria, Omebije was equally honoured with the True Leadership Award by the Mission for Africa International, Clinton Mississippi, United States of America in 2012.

Omebije, a youth enthusiast, was also honoured with a National Certificate of Credence by the Kogi Youth Parliament, 2013, for positively identifying with the aspirations of the youths in the State through numerous youth empowerment schemes.

In his patriotic desires to put Kogi on the map of oil producing states, Rt. Hon. Omebije, singlehandedly travelled to London, United Kingdom, were he obtained the map of the old Kabba and Ontisha Provinces from a library there. This effort, to a large extent, restored normalcy to the erstwhile lingering boundary dispute between Kogi and Anambra States in the Aguleri area.

Omebije has adequately paid his political dues and therefore deserves to be given the mandate to govern Kogi State on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) come November 16, 2019.

Indeed, the Governorship cap of Kogi State rightly fits RT. Hon. Emmanuel Ogbe Omebije. And as the saying goes: He who the cap fits, Let him wear it!!!

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