Hon. Chris Azubogu: An Engineer As A Legislator
I knew Hon Chris Azubogu was doing quite well as a lawmaker representing Nnewi North/Nnewi South/Ekwusigo Federal Constituency both in the legislative arm of lawmaking and the physical developmental arm of attracting appreciable democratic dividends to his constituency.
And he already had my nod to continue based on his very evident achievements as a lawmaker of note.
But one day I read Sharon Oparaocha’s report on a project termed Nnewi Automotive Industrial Park. I was invited to attend that first Roundtable but other engagements prevented me.
I had thought it was one of those seminar stuffs of talk, talk, talk with some literature pamphlets to take home. But after reading Sharon’s detailed report, I thought again.
Knowing Hon Azubogu as one always open and willing to discuss issues concerning his constituency with his constituents, I placed a call to him to enquire more. It wasn’t really a project that could easily be explained over the phone.
So he invited me to pop in either at his Abuja office whenever I visited the capital city or at Nnewi whenever he visited home. We eventually met at Nnewi.
For over 30 minutes, this University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Alumnus took time to educate me on what the Nnewi Automotive Industrial Park is all about.
He showed me papers signed by the president regarding the priority of the project, I saw enough drawings, I saw all copies of legal documents of the 80 hectares of land acquired and duly compensated from Akwa Ihedi, Unubi and Uga communities.
But above all I was tutored on what the project represents in terms of general development within the constituency and beyond.
The huge job opportunities, the related business opportunities, the expected revenues to both State and Federal governments. As he was explaining my mind kept flashing to Sabmiller in Onitsha and its Hero brewery.
I know what the berthing of the South African company in Anambra State has done for development in areas of mass employment and unbelievable business opportunities both directly and indirectly.
And the interesting thing is that this Automotive industry will bring more to Anambra State than the Sabmiller Factory is currently doing. And particularly the Nnewi-born representative of the constituency has enough skills and craft to see the gigantic project to completion.
It needed a quintessential goal-getter to get the project at the level it was and presently is. That was the day I made up my mind to not only wish an Azubogu return to the Green Chamber but also took it upon myself to be in the forefront of the fight to get it actualized.
It was while he has responding to my barrage of enquiries that he said, ‘’Emmy, I am representing our constituency as an engineer, not as a lawyer.’’ (Yes, he calls me Emmy.)
Some people may not quite understand …while lawyers may even feel offended because if you asked them they would quickly throw back, ‘’what business has an engineer with lawmaking?’’
And I’d ask, ‘’what is law if not to make the society better? And who makes the society enjoy basic amenities that enhance comfortable living if not the engineer?’’
While studying Civil Engineering in the university, I met a lot of intelligent and interesting lecturers but perhaps, the most intelligent was Dr. Osadebe, who took me from Statics in first year to Design of Structures in third year.
The Bulgaria-trained Structural Engineer would always tell us, ‘’while other folks admire women, you guys should admire structures.’’ Till today I still admire structures more than women. But it didn’t end there.
My roommate from year two, Arinze Chukwuemeka, who studied Mechanical Engineering, equally narrated that their own Head of Department, Dr. Ajumobi told them, “when you see a beautiful car, don’t just admire it…think more of how to improve the model as an automobile engineer.’’
And more from Dr. Onuorah who lectured us on Highway Design and Construction, ‘’all these bushes you see are opportunities for you. As Highway engineers you’re going to build roads through them.’’
Yet another, this time a Ghananian by name Dr, Kwameh took us out one day to a very thick bush in Awka. I still suspect it was today’s Ngozika Estate.
While on a practical survey work as part of the course, Geodesy, Dr. Kwameh told us amidst protests from us that we were venturing into a dangerous terrain…that all the bushes everywhere should give us joy that there’s work waiting for us on graduation because those bushes would eventually become houses.
So an engineer is trained to see opportunities of making the society look better. Whenever I see bad or untarred road, what comes to my mind is an opportunity to get them tarred.
When I see people in villages taking buckets to the stream, what my mind tells me is an opportunity to put pipe-borne water for them to use at their respective homes.
When an electrical engineer sees houses in darkness his worry should be how there should be electricity.
So, it doesn’t surprise me that all Hon Azubogu sees in our constituency are not problems but opportunities. Roads, Boreholes, Cold rooms, Health centres, other structures, empowerments, etc are opportunities to make life worth living.
And the big dream of the Nnewi Automotive Industrial Park goes in line with the opportunity to turn forests into opportunities.
This time around, an industrial opportunity to develop the society and bring huge investment/employment/business opportunities to people all over the state and even beyond. It needs four more years of Hon Azubogu to get this actualized.
All aspirants, for love of our constituency, should support this Engineer lawmaker to effectively berth this automotive industry.
For those who think it’s another while elephant project, I say think again. This is for real and Hon Azubogu is the real deal to make it happen.