Twelve years ago this month, the 5th Senate was inaugurated with Senator Adolphus Wabara as Senate President and I was sworn in as Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, after my election to represent the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State. I was assigned Committees and made Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals with Senator Cosmas Niagwan of blessed memory as Chairman.
Upon the assumption of the Senate Presidency by Senator Ken Nnamani following the resignation of Senator Wabara I was appointed Chairman of the newly created Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, making me the official spokesman of the Senate.
It became my lot to develop a framework and strategy for engagement with the Media, Civil Society and the public at large. It was a challenging, yet exciting assignment. I received a lot of support for which I am eternally grateful from Rt. Hon. Abike Dabiri who was already playing a similar role marvelously in the House of Representatives.
I was also, though a new Senator, appointed to Chair the Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the affairs of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) right in the middle of the sensational disagreement between then President Olusegun Obasanjo and his then Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Those were very difficult times indeed.
I was re-elected to the 6th and 7th Senates and became Deputy Senate Leader and eventually Senate Leader. I have had very rare opportunities, opportunities far beyond what I deserve, including being elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) from the National Assembly, giving me the distinction – the first and only one so far to have been so elevated from outside legal practice and academics.
My country Nigeria and my constituencies have been most generous to me. The opportunity to represent a people is the highest privilege that a people can give anyone. My people not only gave me multiple opportunities but, also every support any one could dream for.
My country on the other hand gave me opportunities to express and exert myself to the limits of my endowments, with the People Democratic Party (PDP) providing the platform for these great opportunities.
I was part of the Leadership that gave the Senate its most stable era in the history of our democratic episodes. The Senate President, Senator David Mark, Nigeria’s longest serving Senator serving out two unprecedented terms, along with his Deputy all through, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who become Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament and earned academic P.hD in law, while on that busy seat, and a Deputy Senate Leader becoming Senate Leader. Most significantly, it was a scandal free Senate.
I led the successful campaign for the election of Rt. Hon. Bethel Amadi as President of the Pan African Parliament, headquartered in Midrand, South Africa. It was an assignment that took me to many African Countries as Special Envoy of the then President and Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, being with presidents, Heads of Government, and National Parliaments, It was a great honour to me by my country.
I was also President of the first ever, Africa Legislative Summit held in Abuja in November 2013, a Summit that brought together the Heads of Legislators all over Africa. I was leader of Nigeria delegation to the Association of Senates Shooras and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab world (ASECAA) in Sanaa, Yemen and Pan African Parliament Midrand South Africa.
I was also a delegate to the 50th United Nations General Assembly. I was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria while in the Senate giving me the distinction of being the only one in that category.
A parliamentarian is one most misunderstood public officer. While parliament oversights, the executive, the parliamentarian is oversighted directly by the public at large, and this is unusually scathing inquiry. He or she (the parliamentarian) is often held responsible for duties or failures that are constitutionally not for parliament and is always the ready scape goat for society’s failings. The comfort though, is that no Parliament anywhere in the world that can win a beauty contest. Paradoxically, Parliament, in our case the National Assembly, remains the symbol of democracy.
As I take a bow from the Senate after twelve (12) glorious and eventful years, I do so satisfied that I did my best and gave my best, introduced 39 bills including the Freedom of Information Bill now an Act of the parliament and motions.
I recently inspected 76 projects I had attracted to my constituency. I leave humbled and thankful for the opportunities given me by a grateful constituency and a kind nation, and the People Democratic Party which unfortunately buckled under the weight of its Governors and internal contradictions.
I leave with gratitude to my wife and young children who sacrificially encouraged me inspite of deprivation from the demands of office. Above all to the Almighty, I give the glory of my fulfillment and contentment and that I leave without blemish and with my name intact. In Nigeria, what more can you ask for?
Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba OFR, CON, SAN is Senate Leader of the 7th Senate.
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