Hon. Nnenna Ukeje: : I ‘ll provide leadership with human face.”
A former House of Representatives member, Hon. Nnenna Ukeje, says she will continue to speak on critical gender, security and other national issues, if she returns to the lower legislative chamber in 2023.
Ukeje, who represented Bende Federal Constituency (2015 – 2019), on Saturday, April 9, declared her interest to return for a second term in the house on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
She spoke on her ambition in an interview with newsmen in her country home in Alayi, Bende Local Government Area of Abia on Wednesday.
She said her desire to return to the house was borne out of her passion to speak for the people and also “provide leadership with a human face”.
According to the former legislator, leadership has been so removed from the people, since she left office in 2019.
Ukeje said: “I chose to go back to the House of Representatives becasue the legislature is the bastion of democracy.
“Unless we have a strong legislature, our democracy is not going to grow.
“The executive arm has an over-reaching power and unless we have a strong legislature, the people will suffer.
“It is necessary that we have strong people in the legislature, otherwise, we will have a strong executive and weak legislature.
“My people want somebody who gives service in leadership.
“I want to be collating people’s voices and taking them to the executive.”
Ukeje said that her first term was remarkable because she devoted her time and energy championing the cause of the women and national security.
In her constituency, she said that her joy was all about the employment she provided to the jobless youths as well as the social amenities and infrastructure she attracted to the remote rural communities.
She said her exit from the house left her helpless, having denied her the platform “to say what was needed to say” at certain critital moments of our national life.
She expressed disappointment that many commentators on the nation’s worsening security situation failed to identify the nexus connecting insecurity and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country.
Ukeje, who was the House Committee Chairperson on Foreign Affairs, said that many people were commenting on banditry and kidnapping without linking them with the increase in the importation of small arms and light weapons into the country from the neighbouring countries.
She further spoke on the huge prospects of women getting into more elective positions in 2023.
She said that she was greatly impressed with the number of women that has continued to express interest to run for one elective position or another.
“I belong to a female PDP platform and it is amazing to see the number of women that are picking the expression of interest forms on a daily basis,” Ukeje said.
She said that there was a strong need for an interventionist approach to shore up the number of women in the nation’s political space.
She regretted that the number of women legislators dropped in the country dropped from 24 in 2015 to 11 in 2019 and described the development as “a national pandemic”.
“This can be reversed either by fiat, legislation or deliberate government policies as done in other African countries, including Rwanda,” Ukeje further said.
She denied the notion that women constituted their own political witch-hunt through envy and pull-her-down syndrome.
“It is men that calibrate and reinforce the idea,” she said. She opined that the challenge faced by Nigerian women had to do with stereotypes, which made political leadership an exclusive preserve of men.
“We need to do away with the stereotypes because if we continue to suppress and leave about 50 per cent of our potentials behind, Nigeria will never grow,” Ukeje said.
The aspirant expressed the optimism that she would get the party’s ticket to run, adding that PDP was poised to
take over the constituency from the All Progressives Congress (APC).