Senator Uche Ekwunife, CON: A Pragmatic Ambassador for State, Region and Country

By Tony Ezike

It is uncommon in the history of Nigerian politics for the recessive gender to assume the dominant role, in spite of the sociopolitical challenges associated with the lofty ideals and aspirations of women involved in the power play, traditionally reserved for their domineering male counterparts.

Interestingly, ambition and resilience has transited courageous women to high pedestals in defiance of the popular belief that their place in leadership should be at the dictate of men in authority, which sometimes comes with unbearable terms and conditions.

However, the barrier breaking Amazon, Most Distinguished Senator Uche Ekwunife (Iyom) Ph.D has raised the hopes for both prospective and practicing female politicians in the country, considering her exceptional service and achievements in both public and private sector administration.

Senator Ekwunife’s academic credentials includes but not limited to a background in Business Education and Accounting, and a PhD in Public Administration from Atlantic International University, Hawaii, USA, in 2021.

Senator Ekwunife in her corporate experience is a Chartered Accountant, a member of professional bodies like the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), and Honorary Senior Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (HCIB).

Before entering politics, Ekwunife had a successful banking career, rising from the position of Branch Manager to Area Manager of the Bank, controlling seven branches, as well as Head Private Banking Sector at UBA. At this point she has started empowering and giving scholarships to young people and other people in need.

Like a wildfire, she ravaged all doubts, closed the gender gap and ascended to successive ranking positions in the banking sector, before delving into partisan politics where she emerged as Member representing Anaocha, Njikoka, Dunukofia Federal Constituency at first attempt; a position she held for 8 uninterrupted years with massive support from her constituents.

As if that was not enough, the vibrant go-getter advanced her political career by contesting for, winning elections, and proceeding to the hallowed chambers of Nigerian Senate, where she encountered and overcame resistance and litigations from mostly male contestants.

It is pertinent to mention that she did not only emerge the Chairman House Committee on Environment and Deputy Chairman Public Accounts at the House of Representatives, but was also among the first-class lawmakers that established the framework for sustainable constituency projects, being the first legislator to construct road infrastructure in her constituency.

The successful execution of that road infrastructure raised awareness amongst her colleagues who consequently agreed to formalize constituency projects for lawmakers, to compliment the efforts of the executive arm of government in their various constituencies.

At the 8th Senate, Senator Ekwunife became the first lawmaker from the South-East zone to emerge as Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream; a strategic position which could have advanced the course of her constituents, state and region if not for frivolous election litigations that ousted her from office in just few months.

Her resilience once again took her to the ballot where she contested and won convincingly, clearing up majority votes from each of the seven council areas that make up Anambra Central senatorial district, where she scored seven over seven (7/7) of total constituency votes.

At the 9th Senate, Ekwunife emerged as the Chairman Senate Committee for Science, Technology and Innovation; a position which unlocked the Senator’s inherent potentials, exceptional administrative ingenuity, and admirable leadership proficiency.

Although her attempt to advance to the 10th Senate was marred by widespread speculations of unreasonable claims, partisan and high-level institutional conspiracy, Senator Ekwunife remained undaunted as she moved on in high spirits, delivering her campaign promises far beyond the electoral seasons.

Besides her human capital development schemes, Ekwunife’s meteoric delivery of constituency projects made it difficult for her constituents to catch up with the number of interventions in community development, as well as other critical sectors which she presented intelligently, attracted and domiciled in Anambra State, as part of national projects designated to serve the South-East zone, with great opportunities for job creation and regional integration.

The ultramodern Skill Acquisition Center already completed and well-equipped at the prestigious Nnamdi Azikiwe University is one of her landmark achievements, considering its crucial importance to vocational training of students in many skill areas, ranging from Fashion Designing, Confectionaries, ICT, Hairdressing, Welding, to other lucrative business packages.

The Sheda Science & Technology Complex (SHESTCO), which is one of the biggest zonal projects she attracted is a multidisciplinary research and development establishment in Science and Technology situated in Nri, Anambra State is already functional, as many people from the South-East region have become gainfully employed and doing amazing jobs in the institute.

It is the first of its kind in the South-East zone and a viable parastatal under the Nigerian Ministry of Science & Technology. It is a multidisciplinary research and development establishment, with head office in Kwali Area Council, about 70 km from Abuja, Nigeria.

The Bioresource project in Abagana which she attracted from the National Bioresources Development Agency under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is sitting on a twenty hectare land, located at Umudunu village Abagana, Anambra State. The Centre will create both direct and indirect jobs with multiplier effects and will as well develop the numerous activities in the Agricultural sector particularly.

Another multi-million naira project she attracted to the South-East zone is the Biotechnology project located in Awka-Etiti, Anambra State. This project, just like the other national establishments that she facilitated is potentially designed for massive employment, research and zonal collaboration of sister states that are direct collective owners of the project.

Others are completed, functional Health Centers in many communities, Solar Powered Street Lights, Classroom Blocks, over 35 3-Bedroom Bungalows built for widows and less privileged citizens, among many other interventions too numerous to mention.

Senator Ekwunife’s recent appointment as Director General South-East Governors Forum has raised the bar for regional administration of the revered office, following her human capital upliftment initiatives covering critical sectors. The South-East Youth Leadership Development and Values Reorientation Programme held on Friday 5th July, 2024 in Enugu State was yet another confirmation of the Senator’s unwritten pact with humanity and the South-East in particular, as it delivered viable insights on purpose discovery and the road to self-reliance for the region’s teeming youth population.

Most of Senator Ekwunife’s legislative Bills and Motions in both chambers of the National Assembly have practically set a viable framework for a paradigm shift and effective sectoral transformation of selected MDAs, including other renowned institutions in Nigeria. The results of her visible achievements has been so effective and overwhelming that she became popularly addressed as Madam Project!

Although the list is endless, the Most Distinguished Senator Uche Ekwunife CON is not relenting in improving on her achievements, and breaking barriers.

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