Legislative Houses all over the world are known by three outstanding duties, including law making, representation and over sight functions. Over sight functions could be referred to as the review, monitoring, report and supervision of government agencies, programmes, activities and policy implementation and happenings around various communities and constituencies.
A legislator is expected to among other things bring to the floor of the legislative house, reports of the happenings in his constituency often referred to as Matter of Urgent Public Importance. When such matters are raised, it then becomes incumbent on the House to deliberate on it, carry out investigations where necessary and come out with a decision popularly known as House Resolution. It is this Resolution that is read and submitted to the concerned arm or tier of government to implement.
In line with this unique function of the legislative house, the 7th Abia House of Assembly ably led by its Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji two weeks ago announced the Resolution of the House as it concerns the proposed Dry Sea Port in Ntigha, Isialangwa North LGA. In his words, the Speaker conveyed the message that the House would “apply persuasive action to ask the Abia State Government to do the needful. If there are certain conditions and understanding that have not been met, we would ask the Government to do what ever that is necessary to meet up with them”. The Resolution of the House of course, followed a Matter of Urgent Public Importance brought by the member representing Isialangwa North State Constituency, Hon. Ginger Onwusibe, over the INLAND CONTAINER DEPOT also known as Dry Sea Port proposed to be built in his constituency by the Federal Government.
The intervention of the Abia State House of Assembly under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, the dream of realizing a Dry Sea Port in Abia State is gradually coming to fulfillment. The contractor handling the construction of the Sea Dry Port in Ntigha, Isialangwa North Local Government Area is now poised to begin work immediately at the site.
Following the House intervention, the Abia State Governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu on Wednesday received the Federal Government Concessionaire for the Dry Port Project at Ntigha along side the EASTGATE DRY PORT PROJECTS LIMITED at the Governor’s Lodge Abuja led by the Chief Executive Officer of EASTGATE, Bill Nkemdirim, who came to the Governor to formally introduce to him the company that would handle the actual construction of the project and the company is Messers China Tianchen Engineering Corporation. The delegation informed the Governor that every arrangement for the construction works have been concluded and that they are ready to start work at the site. The delegation with the Chinese Team of construction experts expectedly had visited the project site for pre-construction preliminary evaluation as planned.
Of course the Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu expressed deep delight at this development and assured them that his government would provide every necessary support to ensure that their work is seamless. It is important to note that when realised, this Dry Port project would be a powerful catalyst to the economic development of Abia State and indeed the entire South East region. This is because, upon completion, businessmen who engage in import and export would not have to go beyond Abia State to enjoy port services as containers to and from the region would now be discharged at the port, for onward movement to their final destinations.
Legislature being an institution which represents the common and collective interests of the citizens through the law making and particularly oversight is what the State House of Assembly is doing.
Recall that while raising the matter of urgent importance in the hallowed chambers of the House, Hon. Onwusibe stated “Mr Speaker, Isialngwa North is the ancestral home of the Ngwa community, I have their mandate to bring this matter that is very important not only to them but the people of South East. It is about the Inland Container Depot, it is an equivalent of what we know as Dry Seaport, it is a port of final destination”.
He continued “Some years ago, the Federal Executive Council approved its establishment in the Six Geopolitical Zones, one of it, is the one sited at Ntigha, the foundation has been done. Whereas the deed of exchange of the land has been executed and compensation to the tune of N98 million has been paid to the land owners. Whereas the State is yet to comply with necessary deliverables; whereas the contractor has applied and has several times visited that site, our people are worried over the delays to its establishment’. I pray this honourable House to use persuasive measures to ensure that the Abia State government provides necessary deliverables to enable the project take off” the lawmaker asserted.
Certainly, the project would turn around the economic fortunes of the State and the entire South East region as it would be the first Dry Port in the region. This achievement of course is in tandem with the inaugural speech of Mr. Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, where he maintained that “this 7th Abia State House of Assembly shall be vibrant and result-oriented… this 7th House shall provide very sound and strong oversight functions signifying that the era of disobeying Laws and Resolutions passed by the Abia State House of Assembly is over. Similarly, the era of the non-implementation of the directives and visions of the Executive, headed by our Governor, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu is now over”.
Hence, the Speaker and members of the 7th House of Assembly deserve commendations for starting well and for realizing their aim for raising Matters of Urgent Public Importance.
This Dry Sea Port is just one of them. When the ad-hoc committees come up with their investigations on several other Matters of Urgent Public Importance, the State would rejoice the more because, the Resolutions of the House would certainly be for the good of the people of the State.
Congratulations to the State House of Assembly!
Abia people expect more of these and would not be disappointed as the members of the House have shown that they are poised to perform.
Promise Uzoma Okoro is the Special Assistant on Media to the Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly.