OPINION: Why It Has To Be Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonnaya Nwifuru

The candidature of Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, as the lead figure for the Gubernatorial race of Ebonyi State in the upcoming 2023 general elections, has developed intentionally over the years. Suffice to say, that nature has a brilliant way of packaging a content, to be delivered whenever she deems fit. It makes for a more interesting spectacle, when there is a human consciousness with some level of comprehensibility about the will of nature. Such has been the story of the rise of Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, from an absolute zilch to a convivial headliner; darting a story of Divine punctuations. 

Far from such beliefs, his beguiling personality, unrivalled experience and stellar achievements have shot him up in the strata of the game. 

Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru was born and bred in total humility. His family upbringing was one wrapped in hard work – a pointer to his nimbleness and decisiveness in delivering on any assignment given to him, with pure excellence. And so, his level of focus has never been in doubt, because he knows his roots. The knowledge of where he hails from and his journey from nothingness, makes it so easy for him to connect effortlessly with all manner of people. He has worn all conceivable gram of ‘pinchy’ shoes and felt the pains himself. So, he knows where it hurts, why the pain should be assuaged and how to get it done, with every sense of love and duty. 
Over the years in leadership positions, he has brought these innate qualities of his to bear, exemplifying distinction in loci of trust. He began with the generally touted negligeable ‘Ex-Officio’ position of his then party in the year 2008. He raised the stature of the office from a squashy clay to an enviable height. Owing to his spectacular performance, he earned the trust of the party and his people to serve as an Honourable Member of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, representing Izzi West State Constituency, in the year 2011, defeating an incumbent Speaker in the process. During that period, he was elected the Deputy Chief Whip cum Chairman House Committee on Lands, Survey, Urban Development and Environment. 

Again, he performed beyond expectations, earning another quality shot to represent his people again in the year 2015. This time around, his colleagues fell in love with his wholesome personality and elected him the Honourable Speaker of the 5th House of Assembly in Ebonyi State. He was prudent, humble, selfless, contented, jovial, hardworking, meticulous and humane in all his legislations and dealings with his peers. He understood that they were all colleagues, elected equally to represent their people. Being the Speaker for him, was a privilege by God to superintend over the affairs of his friends, brothers and colleagues – first amongst equals. 

And so, when the gavel came calling for a handler in the 6th Assembly in the year 2019, he was again elected by the Honourable Members to lead in Law making, thereby making him the only 2-time Speaker in the Legislative history of Ebonyi State. During these years, he touched lives with his humanness in legislation. The Laws he signed in dotted lines where human interest legislations, to make Ebonyians better and develop the State sporadically. Indeed, in legislation, he has become an institution for studies. Such prowess spurred his colleagues from the 36 States of the Federation to elect him National Vice Chairman South East (Chairman South East) Conference of Speaker of State Legislatures of Nigeria, since 2020 till date.

He did not stop at that. He always had an eye for developing humanity on all fronts, evident in his favourite dictum – “My Business In Politics Is Development.” In education, he has since 2014 had in his scholarship scheme, over 100 University Students from across the State. The scheme has graduated many Medical Doctors, Lawyers, various professions, with others still in the pipeline. In addendum, any girl child from his village who gets a university admission is automatically enrolled into his scholarship scheme. These are personal touches to his overall legislation to improve the Education sector in Ebonyi State. It is a key sector which he intends to make priority when he takes reign as the Chief Servant of Ebonyi State, to revamp it from primary to the tertiary level.

In the health sector, he has an avalanche of free medical outreach programs, which he has sponsored over the years. He typified true leadership in many occasions regarding saving of lives, most recently and notably – during the attack on the Izzi speaking people of Benue State, by herdsmen. His over ten (10) powerful pieces of legislation in the sector has brought about unprecedented leap in the health sector in Ebonyi State. Yet he is not satisfied. His other priority is to make Ebonyi State, a go-to-place for medical attention and education, especially with his intention of building or re-establishing Ebonyi State Teaching Hospital. 

In security, he has practically set in motion, the end to many communal crisis in the State – Ikwo/Izzi, Ezza/Ezza-Effium, Mbamini Nkaleke, Mkpuma Akpatakpa and many others. His legislation brought about the services of Ebubeagu security outfit in the State – a project he is set to strengthen and refine for quality security service delivery in the State, in conjunction with other security agencies. His strides in this sector is simply because he underscores the importance of a peaceful society, as an icon of peace, himself.

In human capital development and management, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru is one person who is known across board for his undiluted love to raise men and women to financial freedom and stability. He not only dols out cash, cars and other materials for businesses and welfare, but mentors many young people in such areas. He has in store, a program for young people, not just to empower them, but to entrench attitudinal change in them, for a better society. He has promised to extend this program to Civil and Public Servants in the State, and ensure prompt and adequate salary payment, gratuity and pension payments, trainings and promotions, in exchange for efficiency and productivity from the service.

In ease of doing business, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru is a businessperson, who has a penchant for quality control. He has a mission to partner with the private sector in raising factories and industries in the State, such that every graduate from the State’s University will have a gainful employment. He is set to do away with irrelevant chains in taxation to allow businesses to thrive. He is set to maintain the brilliantly built infrastructures, cost effectively and extend same to the rural areas of the State. All his plans for Ebonyi State will be technology driven. Ebonyi is going to become a smart city. Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru has gone on to effect positively, many other sectors – Women and childcare, water resources, Agriculture and many more. 

Indeed, his touch of positivity, dream for growth and plan for implementation is clear and solid. These will be made bare when he unveils his manifesto which will simply be rooted in the yearnings of the people. It is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf, that with his level of experience, personality, track records and plans for Ebonyi people, he is surely the right man to take over baton of leadership from the superlative Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi (FNSE, FNATE). 

Ebonyians cannot wait to have him on board. 

In wrapping up, it is fair to allude that the rise of Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru at this thought-provoking point in the political history of Ebonyi State is simply beyond human comprehension. In an attempt to humanly unwrap his journey to this point, a clear print of the Divine is spotted. More importantly, those natural dots have been well observed by the figure under the spotlight. He has carried himself so brilliantly, living out great colours that are reserved for proper leaders and rare breeds of human. In truth, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru is the most competent to take the wheels as the next Chief Servant of Ebonyi State, to the Glory of God and the good of Ebonyi people. 

Leo Ekene Oketa 
Chief Press Secretary to the Honourable Speaker.
Tuesday, October 11, 2022.

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