Oghene Emma Egoh is a member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing Amuwo Odofin Federal Constituency of Lagos State, at the House of Representatives. He speaks on why he is seeking a re-election and the failure of APC to deliver on its promises. He also spoke about his achievements so far, experiences in the House and on other topical issues.
What are some of your experiences as a member of the House of Representatives?
The National Assembly is an interesting place where our job description includes making laws, engaging on oversight functions, appropriation of budgets and other functions. I would say that my experience in the House of Representatives in the past few years as a member has been so exciting and valuable. The major highlight was in 2015, when I was chosen by other members to represent the House in the United Nations inter-parliamentary conference overseas, with hundreds of lawmakers in attendance from different parts of the world. The event was a great opportunity for me to gain in depth knowledge on how lawmakers functions from different parts of the world, while sharing with them our experiences in the art of making laws in Nigeria.
The second highpoint was in 2017, when I was chosen by the entire press corps at the National Assembly as the Legislator of the month in that year. It was very exciting. Another very important experience was when the nation stood at standstill due to unconstitutional ultimatum by leaders of some youth groups in the North calling on Igbo to leave the North. This drew a lot of tensions and condemnations across the land and beyond. But having looked at what might be the likely consequences; I immediately summoned courage and moved a motion on the floor of the House condemning the ultimatum given by Arewa youths. I made it clear that the Nigerian Constitution guarantees every Nigerian the right to live and own property in any part of the country, freedom of religious and social- cultural association, freedom of expression or hold views, and others. I further called on the Inspector General of Police and heads of other security agencies to arrest the leaders of the groups and deploy security in the North to ensure that no Nigerian would be molested or attacked by anyone. It was exciting that everyone in the House unanimously voted in support of the motion. Thank God, with the quick deployment of the police and other security agents the looming crises was averted. This, in my mind is one of the ingredients of good representation. Looking at the few years I have spent in the House, I would say that I have contributed meaningfully with other colleagues in advancing the legislative functions.
What informed your decision to seek for a re-election?
As a member of House of Representatives for few years now, I have come to understand the dynamics of making quality laws for the benefit of the society. Also, I have come to understand that the process of succeeding as a lawmaker requires a lot of learning to gain more experience. The more years you spend in House, the more you learn, and the more you learn, the more experience you become. These no doubt adds up to the quality of representations that comes from you, and quite significantly impacts on your ranking as a legislator in the House.
All over the world, legislators are like wine, the older they are in the House, the better they are. For a better understanding, the more time the legislators spend the more experience they would become on legislative matter. And the more experienced they are on legislative matters, the more quality services they would offer to the nation and their respective constituency. Today in Nigeria, there are instances of some federal lawmakers who have spent 16 years in the House and their constituents keep bringing them back because of their experiences and quality of services to their people. It takes a little bit of time for one to learn in the House, but the older you are in the House, the higher ranking you get, and that makes easier for you to get better positions, in terms of being appointed as committee chairman and other positions of leadership in the House. Above all, it is natural that when a student does well in a class, he gets promoted to the next class. Likewise, I tend to believe that having performed well during my first term, there is the need for members of my constituency to return me back to House for another term to enable me to do more. I want to come back, in order to continue to offer quality services to members of my constituency, and by extension continue in making good laws and people oriented services to Nigerians.
What are some of your achievements so far?
I would say that since my stay in National Assembly I have continued to ensure that I bring developments and empowerments, aimed at improving the quality of lives in my constituency. Few of these numerous impacts include the successful struggle to ensure that the all important road in Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, connecting all the markets in the area is rehabilitated to enable traders and customers move freely. The condition of this particular road has worsened over the years, and has grossly affected the vehicular movement of goods, as well as traders and customers, for too long. But due to my unrelenting efforts, contract for the rehabilitation of that road has been awarded by FERMA, and the contractor is now waiting for funds to commence work. Sometime ago, when I heard that plans were already concluded to convert part of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex to serve as truck park, I quickly tabled the matter before the House of Representatives. I spoke against the plan because such would create unimaginable traffic gridlock and nuisance within that corridor, thereby adding to the already chaotic traffic situation along Lagos- Badagry Expressway. I am happy that other lawmakers supported me and the House moved a motion to stop it, thereby saving our people from unnecessary hardship. In the past few years I have been in the House, I have used my position to touch so many lives, by conducting several free medical outreach programmes, free empowerment programmes, free skills acquisitions trainings for youths, women, free tutorials for school children and donation books, uniforms and other items.
How would you assess the APC- led government at the centre?
Honestly Nigerians are very much disappointed that the so called ‘change’ promised by the APC in 2015 is nowhere to be seen, even as the nation is set for another election. I am of the opinion that the APC have short changed and deceived Nigerians since 2015, and today the people are wiser and cannot be fooled again. Truly Nigerians are yet to see and feel the impact of the change. APC has failed Nigerians, and must be shown the way out.