Inaugural Speech Presented By Distinguished Senator Princess Stella Oduah OON.
Members of our great senatorial district, family and friends who have gathered here today to witness this moment – welcome.
I accept with humility and respect the honour you have conferred upon me today. I thank you for giving me the privilege of serving you a second time in the 9th National Assembly. Each year as we know brings a chance for a renewed focus on the people, the values, and the places that matter most to us.
Each new term also brings with it lessons learned from triumph, opportunity, challenge, and defeat. And with each new term, we have gratitude for God’s grace and mercy and are honoured, humbled, and energized to have the support and confidence of our people.
Four years ago, I spoke to you of a new beginning and we have accomplished that. I have taken the opportunity you gave to me and fought for your rights in the recently past National Assembly. I kept you close to my heart as your representative and ensured that I brought home projects that not only serve you, but also serve your children and the future generation.
Dear members of my constituency, I do not view a second term as a chance to warm the seat, but to think and act boldly as we work together to take on our toughest challenges, reform all moribund sectors, create jobs, provide adequate security so that you can sleep with your two eyes closed and create opportunities for jobs and businesses that will make our community prosper.
As we begin on this second journey, I implore you all to join me in the quest to make the senatorial district of Anambra north an envy of other senatorial districts. I believe that as leaders, we are only as vibrant and proactive as those who give us the platform to serve them. I intend to have a more localized tenure this time around. I will be on ground to listen to your stories and understand your perspectives. You cannot lead a society or a community as a whole without placing yourself in the footsteps of the mother living in daily fear of what her children will eat, of a father whose salary has been delayed, young children unable to go to school for one reason or the other, a young man with no job and an elderly person denied the pension due to him or her. As the Holy Bible says in Galatians 6: 2, ‘Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ.”
Let us mark this day with remembrance of how far we have come as a people. At the dawn of our country’s birth, as we stood on a cusp of a new era on the first day of October 1960, images of our founding fathers were beamed across the world, having overcome perilous journeys across the continent and overseas to pursue the dream of nationhood. The words of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe rallying the people were recorded:
“…We must continue to march resolutely even if not joyfully towards the accomplishment of the dream of becoming a nation on the African continent filled with hate-free, fear-free and greed-free people, who shall be in the vanguard of a world task force, whose assignment is not only to revive the stature of man in Africa, but to restore the dignity of man in the world.”
I ask you, by virtue of our relationship, to help in the task of restoring the dignity of man in our immediate societies. Our political decisions are only as sound as all voices that make them — the youth, the elderly, businessmen and women, artisans, the clergy, activists, writers and petty traders. Leading our great constituency as a whole, requires good people with all viewpoints wrestling not with each other but with each problem and making decisions in the best interests of all of us, not just an insulated few.
And, over these four years, I have also gotten to know you even better, the over one million members of the various communities of Anambra East, Anambra West, Ayamelum, Ogbaru, Onitsha north, Onitsha south and Oyi that make up our great senatorial district. I know that you are a fiercely independent and industrious people. Our values are similar. So are our dreams. I imagine that we will lock arms to confront whatever challenges lay ahead of us in the coming years. I count it a great honour to serve a people such as you.
As a law maker, I ensured I used my legislative powers to push the Federal Government to look inwards towards the need of our people through sponsoring of very peculiar solution laden bills and motions, notable amongst them being;
The south East development bill and another demanding the establishment of river port in Onitsha to aid business activities in the zone.
These two are just a few as I have thirty five motions and eleven bills, all majorly centering on the betterment of our zone, her youths and women who statistically are the most populated in our zone.
My efforts to develop our constituency across all the sectors of the economy yielded great infrastructural results,
I have within the last four years made relentless efforts lobbying for projects which have been greatly positive, chief amongst the projects are the construction and completion of four road projects, completion of earth works on eleven rural roads, mega street lighting projects on major streets across Anambra North, Installation of motorised and hand water pumps in selected areas across Anambra North.
Our efforts also made possible the renovation of four different police stations in Anaku, Okpoko, Atani and Iyiowa and the construction of new mini stadiums at two locations in our constituency.
I was resolved to ensure an enhancement to access to education of the common Anambra North Youth. In view of this, I initiated an all encompassing scholarship scheme which opened up doors of training in certified skills and other degree awarding institutions. It is my pleasure to announce to you that the scholarship scheme has so far touched the lives of over 1,500 young men and Women in Anambra North.
I have complimented the efforts of our localised primary health care centers in delivery of free medical services.
Through our various three phased free medical outreach, we had a total of 283 eye and hernia surgeries, over 5000 eye glasses and another 10,000 receiving free check up and prophylactic treatments.
Human capital development;
'I have always believed in the principle that Human capital resource remains the most important natural resource. My desire to convert both the mental and physical strength of our teeming youths was unwavering, I championed a campaign which targets 'ONE YOUTH ONE SKILL' across Anambra North
In our campaign, over 10,000 Young girls where trained in different vocational studies while over 500 young men trained in ICT, 493 other constituents were empowered with vehicles, tricycles, motorcycles, salon and barbing kits, kiosk, agric grant, sewing kits and generating set, all these are to generate wealth and improve the conditions of living of our people.
Despite these huge efforts, we still have developmental gaps which we will confront decisively in this current dispensation.
For this second phase, our goals are few yet difficult;
1. To consolidate on all my unfinished legislative business of the 8th senate, to ensure the final passage of the already initiated awaiting bills.
2. To develop a wider scope of engaging our Youth through meaningful skills and implement my road map for total reduction if not eradication of cultism ravaging our lands.
3. To engage our communities based on specific need assessment and provision of infrastructural development.
4. Re-organise our farmers into units for easy access and provision of technical know-how and farming aids.
5. Finally to continue in my various existing and new empowerment programs to alleviate poverty especially amongst out rural dwellers.
We are excited to lead our dear state in the creation of ' ONE YOUTH ONE SKILL INITIATIVE' and we are thrilled to grow 'The Anambra North Girl Child Skill Emancipation' program and the 'War Against Cultism' program.
Our work is not done until we save the lives of Anambrians felled by deadly drugs. That’s why we have laid out a roadmap to address the drug epidemic among youths and have devised prevention strategies to make the initiative a success.
Our work is not done until every member of our constituency boasts of a good life and enjoys the basic amenities of a progressive society.
It is not over until our children are provided quality education and each of us has access to quality healthcare.
Together we prevent our society from going backwards or being counted among stunted, underdeveloped societies. We will take on these hurdles together and together we will celebrate our victories and milestones.
I got into politics because I knew it was the way to help the most people the fastest, and I wake up each and every day, still, thinking of how we can help more Anambrians achieve the prosperity that surrounds us. I have been fortunate to serve our country as aviation minister and now as a twice-elected senator. When people meet with me and tell me about their hopes and dreams for our state, their interactions with government or the job they think I’m doing, I usually end the conversation with this question - can I count on you to work with me?
Inherent in the question is the promise that I will wake up every day committed to working on the serious issues and making the best decisions for members of Anambra north Senatorial District as a whole. I need you to keep pushing because I am counting on you to help me lead, to speak for us, to represent us, and to make us proud. So today, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart for working with me, for trusting me, for pushing me.
To everybody who has worked for me in the National Asembly, those of you who work with me on constituency projects in Anambra and every single member of my constituency - I say thank you. And I also say - we will continue to make you proud.
It gives me great pleasure at the end of this speech to request the pleasure of your company at a Thanksgiving celebration in honour of my reelection into the 9th National Assembly on Saturday the 29th of June at the Onitsha Sports Club at 12 noon. This victory belongs to you, and you alone. Come distinguished friends, let us give thanks and celebrate together.
May God continue to bless each of you.
May God bless the Anambra North Senatorial District
May God bless Anambra state.