There is no whiff of doubt that the senator, representing Kaduna Central, Kaduna state, Uba Sani, has confounded his critics and dazed his admirers. With two earth-shattering motions that dominated the Nigerian democratic space for weeks, the man has shamed his critics and excited his constituents.
It all happened within his first 100 days as lawmaker representing Kaduna Central. It is a no mean feat because he has now created a brand new image for his constituency, as a firebrand lawmaker.
Before now, Kaduna Central was in the news for bad reasons and for four years because a representative was dabbling in all areas with no relevance to the expectations of his constituents, just to remain in the limelight.
It still beats me hollow, how Senator Uba succeeded in dismantling decades of repression by the traditional hierarchies of political power in Kaduna Central to work his way into the hearts and minds of Kaduna people. Familiar bigwigs, otherwise known as ‘godfathers’ of the old order, were confounded by Senator Uba’s ability to roundly defeat their acolytes at the polls.Moreover, the masses of Kaduna Central have already proved that they were at the polls with a one-track mindset: to flush out incompetence and they did it successfully.
Back to Senator Uba Sani’s triumphant entry into the Senate.On the first day of his resumption of oversight functions, he moved a motion capable of saving the image of the Senate, arising from a scandalous physical assault on an innocent young lady in Abuja by a lawmaker from Adamawa state. Deeply touched by the damaging consequences of the colleague’s unruly behaviour, the Senate had no choice but to wield the ‘big stick’ on the young lawmaker who did the assault. Within minutes, Uba’s motion and Senate’s response dominated national and international news space. It went viral. Indeed, the lawmaker attracted international attention and he became endeared to women liberation groups at home and abroad. Such was the extent of the impact of that motion. He very quickly became an icon of honour for women in search of a legislative voice on violence against women in Nigeria.
Few weeks later, another engaging national issue cropped up, this time in Wurma village, within Senator Uba Sani’s immediate constituency of Igabi local government area of Kaduna state. Measles epidemic claimed the lives of over 100 children and was on the verge of becoming a national epidemic. It took Senator Uba Sani’s swift action by way of a motion at the Red Chamber to avert its spread.
A look at the motion and the Senate’s position would reveal the kernel of the issues that formed the fulcrum of the upper legislature’s approval in the first instance. This motion was probably the first in the 9th Senate that attracted a minute’s silence for deceased children. Secondly, it got relevant officials of federal government agencies like the NPHCDA Disease Control Agency and a host of others to be alive to their responsibilities, as Senate gave them the matching orders to the affected Kaduna community. This bill also attracted national and international attention as could be gleaned from how it went viral on specialised healthcare news websites at home and around the world.
The lawmaker and former civil rights activist was also a leading light among senators who co-sponsored motion on upgrading the National Eye Centre in Kaduna. This is even as hope keeps rising, regarding the $350m dWorld Bank loan reportedly sabotaged by some displaced Kaduna senators during Saraki era, on grounds of personal political convenience and the desperate bid to politically emasculate Governor Nasir Elrufai.
Before now, Senator Uba Sani’s critics told us not to expect anything concrete from him by the time he settles down for his oversight functions. Those who are familiar with the lawmaker’s surprise element simply smiled at those critics. Today, he has not only proved those critics wrong but also confounded his political rivals and dazed the people of the Senatorial zone.
He broke record setting up standard constituency offices in the seven local government areas that make up the Senatorial Zone. He employed young, able-bodied and intelligent youth graduates to man those offices. He then proceeded with Ward Contact Offices, providing jobs for an extra 25 or so youth and women.
To many people in Kaduna state today, Senator Uba Sani’s second name is the political, economic and social messiah of the residents, especially less-privileged. He never stopped his empowerment efforts, especially through the Uba Sani Empowerment Foundation for the Less-privileged.
The skill acquisition training programmes of his Foundation have been sustained and expanded, in contrast to what obtains in other climes – where on winning elections a politician would stop institutionalised empowerment and abandon the electorate.
Even while the Senate went on recess, the lawmaker traversed the seven local government areas of Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone with strong messages of hope and gratitude to the people of his constituency. He broke record as the first lawmaker in the political history of the state to launch a ‘thank you tour’ while most of his colleagues were resting. I learnt he has also introduced Town Hall Meeting as a means of strategic engagement with his constituents. This is yet another pioneer effort.
It is obvious that soon after the ongoing recess by this month, Senator Uba Sani will make even more democratic ‘sparks’ at the Senate chamber, going by his blueprint for legislative action and the impact he has made so far. As the Hausa saying goes, a good Friday begins with a promising Wednesday.
Dambatta, a Kaduna-basedmediaconsultant, writes via [email protected]