Senator Hope Uzodinma can be said to be one of the few gems who hit the ground running. Growing up, he became a rallying point for his peers in Omuma and environs
His love for humanity is only comparable to his love of country. An unrepentant nationalist, Senator Hope Uzodinma who is the Imo State Governorship Candidate for the 2019 election is a year older. He believes so fervently in Nigeria that he does not brook any thought of disunity. A pan-Nigerian of note, the APC Governorship candidate will go the extra mile; make the extra sacrifice, to promote national unity, tolerance and accommodation. But he is also a firm believer in equity and social justice. His friends cut across race and religion. They come from the North, the South, the West and the East.
Exceptional in many ways – full of human compassion, loving, caring, humble, deeply intelligent , thorough and diligent to duty, honest, quick to forgive, yet doggedly principled and resolute in national unity, cohesion and integration – that is Senator Hope Uzodinma.
Those who are close to him readily acknowledge that he is a slave to two things; philanthropy and hard work. Senator Uzodinma can be philanthropic to a fault. Often he is prepared to go hungry just to lend a helping hand to the underprivileged. This explains why, despite his remarkable success in business and politics, he has no tangible estate to his credit. He invests virtually all his sweat and wealth on fellow human beings who are his “estates”, spread across the length and breadth of the country. Hope is ever ready to spend his last kobo on philanthropy which explains why he popularly referred to as the hope of the hopeless.
The list of the beneficiaries from his philanthropy “ministry” is expectedly long and unending. It can stretch from Abuja to Abu-Dhabi and beyond.
He defines a workaholic better than all the dictionaries and encyclopedias combined. At work he brings to bear uncommon tenacity and consummate clinical efficiency. Never encumbered by the natural divide of night and day, Uzodinma works round the clock, almost 24 hours. Challenges at work only make him more resilient.
Born to the Royal family of Chief Michael Uzodinma, Igwe of Ozuh Omuma, and Ezinne Rose Uzodinma, (Nee Nneoha) in Oru East L.G.A of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma can be said to be one of the few gems who hit the ground running. While growing up, Hope became a rallying point for his peers in Omuma and environs. A devout Catholic, Uzodinma is married with seven children. He is well educated and vastly travelled.
Destined to be a people’s man, the young Uzodinma showed some astonishing signs at a tender age, leading him into politics. Naturally, however, nature’s path as carved by destiny must be walked by those whose lot it is to follow such path. Thus, instead of searching for white collar jobs, young Uzodinma moved to the then Nigeria’s capital-Lagos, where he launched himself into Oil and Gas Servicing through his company, SMIEC Chemical Engineering & Construction Company Limited which he used to execute many projects for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). His political career did not start with the Senate. As early as 1993, he was appointed Chairman Imo State Marketing Board. In 1996, he emerged the President of Nigerian Amateur Wrestling Association under the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports. In 2003, he became the Chairman of Nigerian Mass Literacy and Non-Formal Education Commission. It was from this position that he ran election for the Senate under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
As a youth, Uzodinma was the youth leader of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in Imo State. That was in the second Republic. In the 1990s, Uzodinma featured prominently as a stalwart of the Defunct UNCP. He has attracted so many projects and democracy dividends to his Imo West Senatorial District since becoming Senator in 2011. His Education Foundation has sponsored over 400 students to graduate level. More than 1000 youths and rural women have benefitted from his empowerment programs. His empowerment programme for Imo West has remained unrivalled. Little wonder that Imo West and indeed, Imo State has remained crime-free because the teeming youth in the area that would have taken to crime and other vices are gainfully engaged, courtesy of his empowerment programme.
At the chambers of the Senate, he has successfully sponsored no less than 10 motions and 10 bills between 2011 to date. It was under his watch as Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation in the 7th Senate, that the nation’s airports witnessed tremendous remodeling that changed the landscape of many airports in the country and brought them close to international standards.
As Chairman of Customs Excise and Tariffs Committee in the 8th Senate, he ensured that massive leakages at the ports and revenue leakages in the import-export chain are being checkmated through detailed oversight functions. Billions of naira has been saved for the Federal Government through and the ports are becoming more vigilant thereby significantly taming the monster of smuggling. More importantly, the stepping up of the oversight functions of the Senate committee on Customs, Excise & Tariff under his watch, has led the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to ensure service delivery.
Midway into the 7th Senate, a reputable National Newspaper, ThisDay, named him one of the ten (10) best senators for the Legislative Year 2011-2012. Quite remarkably, midway into the 8thSenate, a no less respected institution, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, has named him the Senator of the year 2017. That is progress, earned and well-deserved, you will agree.
With generosity and solicitude, Uzodinma has served humanity variously. As a practical and reputable philanthropist, he single-handedly provided all the electricity transformers for the upgrading of electric power supply from the then Power Holding of Nigeria (PHCN) to his native Omuma community. He solely maintains the entire Omuma town water generating sets. He funded the tarring of all access roads around Omuma town and the Omuma Market square.
He best qualifies for what Dr. Michael Iheonukara (M.I) Okpara, Premier of the then Eastern Nigeria in the first republic popularized when he, said “Some men are born noble while some attain nobility by dint of hard work”. Uzodinma falls in this category and has walked himself into the hallowed club of noble men of his time.
His entry into the exclusive league is not without some price. He in a way, falls into the character mould of the late Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim, the Presidential candidate of the defunct Great Nigeria Peoples Party, (GNPP), who in the maddening rush for power in the Second Republic, opted for “politics without bitterness” as his guiding principle.
Abdul writes from Lagos