President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday declared that regionalism will not take Nigerians anywhere and therefore urged them to unite as one in tackling the challenges currently facing the country.
Lawan made the remarks during a valedictory session held in honour of late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, who until his death in December 17, 2019 represented Imo North Senatorial District on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Many Nigerians have been calling for restructuring in view of the escalating security challenges facing the country, thereby leading to the formation of regional security outfits to assist the Police in protecting the lives and property being lost to insurgency, armed banditry and kidnappings, among other crimes.
But Lawan, who presided over the session, assured that the National Assembly would continue to work for the unity and development of the country, which the late Uwajumogu always preached and practiced during his lifetime.
He added said the National Assembly will remain united and focused, ensuring that the citizens get the best deal and not focusing on regions.
“We will continue to work and ensure security and also ensure that Nigerians live where they want to leave. This was what the late senator advocated for. Regionalism will not take Nigerians anywhere. We need unity,” Lawan said.
He assured that the Senate will participate in the burial rites of Uwajumogu, adding that he will lead the delegation to ensure that they give him that respect.
Senators who spoke at the valedictory session, expressed grief over the demise of the Uwajumogu, who was a former speaker of Imo State House of Assembly during the first term of Rochas Okorocha as the state governor.
Speaking, the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said: “Late Senator Uwajumogu was a distinguished colleague who excelled in every facet of his senatorial duties, whether to his constituency or in his Committee’s duties as well as his usually articulate contributions to Senate Debates. He was usually very articulate but quiet and reserved.
“Late Senator Uwajumogu came to the National Assembly to make legislations that would sustain economic growth and political stability in Nigeria, and the evidence is there to show that he made his mark in ensuring the attainment of those goals through the sponsoring of the following bills: Occupational safety and health Bill, 2020 and Whistle blower and witness protection Bill, 2020.”
Also, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said, “sudden death is one of the things that tells us how much mortal we are. Every man’s life end in death but the most important is how man pass through life with details.”
Abaribe noted that Uwajumogu affected life and was a big man with a big heart, adding that he was generous and accommodating.
He said: “We will miss him. Not only his family, but Imo state and the Senate will miss him. It is how you live your life that you will make your mark. Benji had made his mark.”
On his part, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, who described the late Uwajumogu as his compatriot in rebellion, added that “I will chose to celebrate Big Ben. We had almost identical trajectory. We both came into the Senate after much litigations. We bonded together, we did everything together. There is no way the history of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege will be written without the name of Ben Uwajumogu. He was my compatriot in rebellion.
“When I was threatened with suspension, Senator Uwajumogu, then Senate Leader were among those that defended me. He survived a very rugged political terrain in the Southeast.”
The former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu said, “as the remains of Senator Uwajumogu lies outside there, some of our compatriots are already struggling to take over his seat.”
He noted that in the 17 years in the Senate as a Senator, he had cause to pay tribute to so many colleagues that died.
He listed about 14 senators that have died in his 17 years as a Senator in the red chamber.
Deputy Leader of the Senate, Ajayi Boroffice (APC Ondo North), described the late lawmaker as harbinger of good news for the political firmament of this country.
Minority Whip, Philip Aduda (PDP FCT), said that this life is vanity, adding that “life in itself is meaningless but if you plan for it, it becomes meaningful.”
Senator Rochas Okorocha (APC Imo West), described Uwajumogu as a great leader, great politician, lover of people, one that lived his life building bridges.
“Ben was the Speaker for four years in my rescue mission administration in Imo State.
This is a wake up call for all of us alive today that to every beginning there must be an end.
In death, there is no political party. It is a wakeup call to think deeply that it is not how far but how well you have lived with people,” he said.
He added that no one knows when he will die, which makes it inexplicable part of life.
Senator Francis Onyewuchi (PDP Imo East), said, “he was a stabilizing factor in the Imo State House of Assembly in the administration of Owelle Rochas Okorocha. He has served the good people of Imo State in good stead.”