Victor Umeh: A transformational leader at 58 -By Dr. Ikenna Chukwuka.


Senator Victor Umeh

It was George W. Carver who said: “when you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” 

Senator Victor Umeh. is a political juggernaut, astute administrator, sagacious legislator, shrewd professional and eminent philanthropist who came to national limelight when the leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was foisted on him on December 15, 2004.

Born on July 19 1962, Umeh is an embodiment of patriotism, progressivism and spirituality. His leadership of APGA was a turning point in its 18 years history. He changed the narrative, expanded its frontiers and electoral fortunes making it a beautiful bride in Nigerian politics – the third leg in the nation’s political tripod.

In his determination to reposition and restructure APGA to be a formidable political party of the future, over 40 suits was instituted against him by reactionary forces fronting party members. He emerged victorious.

Today, APGA is well entrenched in the nation’s political lexicon and horizon, an eloquent testimony of his transformational leadership when he served as its national chairman from  December 2004 to June 2015 due to elongated leadership disagreement in the party.

One significant achievement of Umeh’s leadership was his quest for tenure interpretation of Mr. Peter Obi’s governorship who assumed office on 17th March 2006, barely one year to the next gubernatorial election in Anambra State as INEC wrongly declared the People’s Democratic Party’s candidate, Dr. Chris Ngige, the winner of the 2003 governorship election in Anambra state.

 In a landmark judgment on 14th June 2007, the Supreme Court declared that Obi’s tenure commenced from the day he was sworn in as governor thus started staggered gubernatorial polls in Nigeria that has enriched our emerging democracy.

 APGA has been in power in Anambra state since 17th March 2006. as Peter Obi handed over to Dr. Willie Obiano, the incumbent governor on 17th March 2014, under Umeh’s watch.

His superlative performance as APGA boss motivated the people of Anambra Central Senatorial District to demand that he run for Senate in the 2015 general election. Umeh obliged. After unprecedented legal tussles he was sworn in as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 18th January 2018, barely 17 months to the end of the 8th Senate.

Since time was of the essence, Umeh swung into legislative action conscious of the fact that the people of Anambra Central counted on his vibrant, robust, progressive and transformational representation. 

He was appointed the Vice-Chairman Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity; member Committee on Finance; Trade and Investment; Environment; Land and Housing; Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and, Culture and Tourism.

A man of enormous intellectual capacity and legislative sagacity, Umeh justified the confidence his people and the Senate leadership reposed in him. 

He sponsored and cosponsored several bills and motions including the motions on “The Urgent Need To Include The Eastern Rail Lines In The Nigerian Railway Development Project, ” Illegal Confinement of Under-aged Offenders And Infants In The Same Prison With Adult Prisoners,” and Co-sponsored with Senator Stella Odua, (Anambra North) the “Federal University of Education Aguleri, Anambra state (Eat, etc) Bill 2018 (SB, 653).”

In barely one year Umeh became the voice of the voiceless in Nigeria, speaking out on crucial national issues and advanced the cause of oppressed and marginalized citizens. For the first time, the people of Anambra Central were proud of their representative in the Senate.

Ohamadike as he is also called attracted over 70 projects to his Constituency, secured employment for many youths and empowered his people in a way no Senator had ever done since 1999, wondering if they ever had a Senator in the current democratic dispensation before Umeh.

He has been executing Constituency projects and implementing 2019 campaign promises to his people long after he left the 8th Senate in June last year. It is unprecedented in the history of Anambra Central, a giant step forward to total transmogrification of the Constituency. The welfare of his people is his passion and heartbeat.

A grassroots politician, Ohamadike is a gift to Anambra Central in particular and the nation in general. He participated in the 2014 national conference where he highlighted the plights of Ndigbo and persuaded fellow delegates to address them.

 A bridge builder, his handshake across the Niger was a tunic that changed the narrative in that crucial conference with the Southeast extracting substantial promises from delegates that would have fully reintegrated Ndigbo in Nigeria after the civil war. 
 Unfortunately, the present administration jettisoned the report of this pivotal national dialogue that would have restored Nigeria to greatness as the giant of Africa.

Senator Victor Umeh received numerous awards, honours and chieftaincy titles in his selfless service to God and humanity. He is a Catholic Papal Knight of St. Sylvester and was conferred with Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by President Goodluck Jonathan, on 29th September 2014.

An ardent follower of the great Ikemba Nnewi, Eze Igbo Gburugburu and APGA National Leader, the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, whose courage and political philosophy were springboards in Umeh’s pursuit for lgbo total emancipation, national reintegration, unity, equity and prosperity of all Nigerians. A mission, like his mentor, he is willing to lay down his life to achieve in the quest for a strong, virile, progressive, egalitarian and decent democratic society.

Umeh is an embodiment of selfless devotion to others. He believes that in all forms of government the people are the true legislator as power resides in them.

 He returned to his Constituency every weekend to interface with the people, know their needs and went back to the Senate to present them. Umeh built a formidable consensus with other Senators which resulted to over 70 projects that were executed across communities in Anambra Central, aside empowerment programmes and scholarships to indigent students up to doctorate degree level.

In the words of Peter Drucker, “effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” 

Ohamadike’s scorecard in the 8th Senate is a classical example of a servant-leader on a rescue mission to transform his Constituency, made law for the good of the nation, became a voice to marginalized citizens, resisted oppressive government policies and actions and made life meaningful and prosperous for fellow compatriots.

 It was effective, efficient, dynamic, visionary and purposeful representation. A star in the East of the Niger, Umeh’s political prospect is high as he intervenes in crucial constituency, state and national issues. He is a change agent in the quest for a better Nigeria.

Ohamadike is married to Lady Prisca Chinenye, a perfect soul mate and competent partner in the service of the fatherland and they are blessed with children.

Dr Chukwuka, a public affairs analyst sent this piece from Awka, Anambra State


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