Forsetalling the Rollback of Federal Presence In the Ndokwa Nation, By Ossai Ossai
Mr. Speaker, I kindly urge you to use your good offices to save Ndokwa nation from youth restiveness, insecurity, high rate of unemployment and absence of federal presence by standing on the Federal Polytechnic Kwale, Delta State (Establishment), Bill 2019 already graciously considered and passed by House of Representatives months before the conception of this Senate ‘replica bill’.
His Excellency, Mr. Speaker, you may recall that the House of Representatives recorded the first reading of the Bill for “An Act to Establish Federal Polytechnic Kwale, Delta State, 2019 (HB. 296)” on July 25, 2019, and unanimously passed it into law on November 14 of the same year, after due legislative considerations. And accordingly, it was transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.
Surprisingly, Mr. Speaker, on December 12, 2019, this Bill passed by the House came up in the Senate Order Paper for concurrence but was unfortunately stepped down at the behest of the distinguished senator who had sponsored a ‘replica bill’ for “An Act to Establish Federal Polytechnic, Orogun, Delta State: SB 34”, which has just been sent to the House for concurrence.
Mr. Speaker may note that the Federal Polytechnic, Kwale, Delta State (Establishment ETC), Bill 2019, graciously passed by the House under the leadership of the Rt. Honourable Speaker, seeks to create a middle manpower degrees-awarding institution that will provide for full-time courses in technology, applied science, management and other relevant fields of studies, to be sited in Kwale, Delta State, which is approximately a 25-minute drive and 30 kilometres to Orogun, in the same Delta State.
Furthermore, this Senate Bill for “An Act to Establish the Federal Polytechnic Orogun, Delta State, is of the same subject matter and similar in nature, form, shape, content and also shares proximate location with that of “Federal Polytechnic Kwale, Delta State” already passed by the House of Representatives: consequently, this runs contrary to the spirit of House Order 12, Rule 14 on “Bills of the Same Subject Matter”.
We also have reasons to believe that the other Bill was orchestrated and deliberately crafted to deny my federal constituency (Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency of Delta State) the only opportunity we have to feel federal presence since Nigeria gained independence in 1960, following the action that took place in the floor of the Senate.
Additionally, it may interest the Rt. Honourable Speaker to also note, for the records, that the Delta Central Senatorial District, where the distinguished sponsor of this ‘replica bill’ represents is currently hosting six well known and established federal and state tertiary institutions, including:
a. Federal Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, Delta State, which is a federal National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) middle manpower degrees-awarding institution;
b. Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, (FUPRE), Delta Central, a high manpower federal government degree-awarding institution, backed by the sponsor of this same bill before the House and established in his Senatorial District;
c. This same Senatorial District is also home to the famous Delta State University, another high manpower producing institution;
d. Delta State Polytechnic Oghara is equally located in the same Delta Central Senatorial District, where the sponsor of this ‘replica bill’ represents;
e. The same district of the distinguished sponsor of this ‘replica bill’ proudly enjoys the presence of another higher institution: The Delta State College of Education, Mosogar, Delta Central.
f. His Excellency, Mr. Speaker ‘as if fairness and equity has embarked on a journey of no return’, the same Delta Central and in fact the federal constituency of the distinguished senator also hosts a well-established and functional College of Health Technology, Ofouma-Ughelli, Delta State, the same area being proposed in this new bill.
Mr. Speaker, Kwale, the proposed location of the Federal Polytechnic, Kwale, plays host to about 15 oil exploration companies, including the first indigenous Independent Power Plant (IPP) that transmits over 485 megawatts of electricity into the national grid that powers the Aso Villa (the seat of power) but it has no light, no single federal institution, and no federal presence, except for a federal prison yard.
Moreso, Mr. Speaker, Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which we all pledge allegiance to, clearly provides that, “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies”.
Also, Section 15(4) of the same Constitution further stipulates that the state (as represented by this House of Representatives under your able leadership), “shall foster a feeling of belonging and of involvement among the various people of the Federation, to the end that loyalty to the nation shall override sectional loyalties”.
Your Excellency, the mere feeling that a ‘prison yard’ is the only federal presence in my constituency is not only traumatic but runs contrary to the letter and spirit of sections 14(3) and 15(4) of the very operational compass that navigates our legislative activities and responsibilities to the Nigerian people. However, my people believe in your experienced leadership and your demonstrable courage/boldness to enthrone equity, justice and fairness. I, also believe, because we believe in God who is the maker of all things.
In light of the foregoing, Your Excellency, Mr. Speaker, I kindly urge you to use your good offices to save Ndokwa nation from youth restiveness, insecurity, high rate of unemployment and absence of federal presence by standing on the Federal Polytechnic Kwale, Delta State (Establishment), Bill 2019 already graciously considered and passed by House of Representatives months before the conception of this Senate ‘replica bill’.
• That this Senate ‘Replica Bill’ be withdrawn in line with the Rules of this House (Order 12, Rule 14), principles of equity/justice and in the interest of equity and the spirit of joint task in nation building.
• In the alternative, Mr. Speaker, that this bill be stepped-down for consideration by the House, whilst you may consider and approve the constitution of relevant committees of principal officers with the exclusion of the bill sponsors (in the spirit of natural justice as captured by the legal maxim: Nemo judex in causa sua) so as to exhaustively and equitably address this issue.
Ossai Ossai represents the Ukwani/Ndokwa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.