Sen. Francis Chukwuma Ibezim, representing Imo North in the National Assembly has expressed profound gratitude to the Almighty God and those who made his stay in the Ninth Senate a memorable experience.
Ibezim was sworn in on April 27, 2021, after a hard-fought battle that climaxed at the Supreme Court, to complete the remaining two years of the tenure of Senator Ben Uwajumogu, who died suddenly on December 18, 2019.
As the Tenth Assembly was about to be inaugurated, the senator thanked Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State for his unalloyed support throughout his tenure.
Ibezim also expressed gratitude to “my brother and friend, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, former Minister of State for Education, for his support and encouragement. I appreciate him so much.
“I also thank the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and my colleagues in the Senate for the cordial relationship we enjoyed, which made it possible for me to achieve the much I did within such a short time.”
He congratulated his successor, Hon. Patrick Ndubueze, and prayed that his tenure would record much more achievements than his.
Ibezim also thanked his constituents in Imo North for their support and prayers without which nothing could have been achieved. He promised to continue rendering service to the people in whatever way he can even after his exit from the Red Chamber.
Indeed, Ibezim has set a trail-blazing record of representation as far as Imo North. Until he came to the rescue, Imo North had not been represented in the Senate for over two years, following the demise of Uwajumogu and the protracted legal tussle over his replacement; hence the zone was left tottering at ground zero.
Nevertheless, Ibezim surprised even his detractors with his zestful approach to the Herculean task set before him. Pressed for time, he plunged into the work headlong and it is self-evident that he is leaving huge, indelible marks, which have brought Imo North from the boondocks to the limelight.
Beyond lawmaking, which is his core assignment, Ibezim attracted so many transforming democracy dividends and infrastructural developments to the zone that one wonders if his successors could match the pace he has set before them.
The list of Ibezim’s highly impactful achievements in the Red Chamber is amazing. He was hyperactive in the race against time, participating in most plenary activities, moving or supporting motions; sponsoring vital bills, and establishing his presence during the Senate oversight functions.
Imo North shall not forget his role in securing several major Federal Government interventions. Over 1000 Imo North constituents benefitted from these palliative programmes, which alleviated their pains and boosted the economy of many households, families, and communities in the zone.
There were also digital training sessions for youths, involving a total of 30 youths from across the zone. The programme was targeted at training individuals to become experts in videography, documentary photography, and video and picture editing. After training, the beneficiaries were also empowered and given work tools and take-off capital. The latest was the senator’s collaboration with the National Biosafety Management Agency and Easytek Security Services to organise a training and empowerment session during which various agricultural and trade tools were freely handed out to the excited participants.
The Distinguished lawmaker was at the forefront of reviving the reading culture in schools through his pet Classroom Libraries Project, using at least 18 primary schools in Imo North as pilots. He sponsored debates among secondary schools in the zone and winners were handsomely rewarded accordingly. He also motivated teachers through cash awards to elicit their commitment and passion for this project. He showed his love for sports and promoted Okigwe youths and their football team to participate in a competition in Enugu, including the Senator Frank Ibezim Football Academy, which supported talented football enthusiasts of the constituency.
Ibezim touched virtually every aspect of the people’s life, including the organisation of constituency-wide health outreaches during which all manner of sicknesses were diagnosed and treated. He was not found wanting during natural disasters, such as the flooding in some parts of Imo North, especially Amauzari in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area. He also saw to it that the yearly flooding challenge around Isinweke-Lowa in Ihitte Uboma LGA was permanently addressed.
Ibezim’s efforts to bring light into the darkness that had bedeviled Imo North were unforgettable. He doggedly pursued the realisation of a power transmission substation, which had been approved for construction alongside Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, and Enugu, respectively by the Federal Ministry of Power in 2003. However, while others were built, Okigwe was abandoned for almost 20 years but Ibezim followed up with the late Uwajumogu’s quest to rectify the anomalous situation in Okigwe, and today the Federal Ministry of Power has approved a mobile unit to restore the abandoned Okigwe 132/33KVA transmission substation to a district station, once the Mbano to Umuahia/Okigwe power lines constructions are completed with three other power-related projects.
In the same vein, Distinguished Senator Ibezim has his imprint on the installation of over 400 solar street lights across major markets, strategic areas, villages, and churches in the zone.
Apart from installing the first solar power plant and accompanying it with the mounting of poles for use by the Okigwe South component of Imo North at Ihitte Uboma LGA, he donated transformers and drilled boreholes for some communities.
Hitherto the beleaguered areas had suffered great darkness and stunted general development, thereby leading to avoidable criminal activities, unemployment, and youth restiveness in the town, but the Ibezim projects are already having a positive turnaround in the area, as economic and commercial activities are on the upswing. The evening markets and other business activities have also returned to major markets in the zone thanks to the Senator’s Solar Street Light Installation Project across all the LGAs.
Ibezim’s effort in reviving agriculture is remarkable. His synergy with the Agricultural Development Programme empowered 128 rice farmers in cultivating 128 hectares of rice and 128 cassava farmers in cultivating 128 hectares of cassava and other cash crops in line with his ambition to make Imo North the food basket of the state.
However, even iIn the very twilight of his tenure, Ibezim toed a different part from other politicians, who would gladly relax. Ibezim has instead embarked on a flurry of activities, such as sponsoring the bills for the establishment of an Information and Communications Technology, ICT, Institute; Federal Orthopedic Hospital as well as concurring with the establishment of Federal Medical Centre, FMC, for the zone, and securing legal teeth for the PRODA in Enugu through the bill you also sponsored.
Ibezim served as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Industry as well as a member of the Senate Committee on Basic and Primary Education and was outstanding on duty.
His call for the upgrade of the Sam Mbakwe Cargo Airport in Owerri during an oversight inspection was unmistakably loud and hit the appropriate quarters. As a result of his laudable roles in oversight functions, the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies presented him with an award at the Nigeria Orientation Assembly Award 2022, in Abuja.
The lawmaker’s signature is boldly etched on landmark projects in the zone. His role in the ongoing construction of a campus of the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, at Ezeoke Nsu, is an open secret. A visit to the almost completed edifice bore witness to this with the towering lecture halls, auditorium, and incubation centres. This is apart from several other projects in other locations across the zone, such as the solar plant that has lit up many communities and revived socio-economic activities that had been in the doldrums.
Ibezim has proven to be a consummate lawmaker. His exemplary representation of Imo North for just two years has set a standard for future representatives of the zone. The constituents are proud of his performance and celebrate his tenacity and success story but wish he stayed longer.
Everything that has a beginning must end someday. However, not done yet, and in line with his promise to keep serving the people even outside the Senate chambers, he has already set up the Senator Frank Ibezim Agricultural Foundation through which he still wants to help his people. To start with, the foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with the Bioresources Institute of Nigeria, BION, for the training of youths in all the local governments of the Imo North Senatorial District on aquaculture at the Federal Government-owned Umuna Fish Farm and Technology Transfer Centre.
The excited Promise Keeper expressed hope that with the three-month course, which is targeted at youths, with a keen interest in fish farming and entrepreneurship, the moribund aquaculture centre would be resuscitated for large-scale commercial activities in the area in line with the aspirations of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
These and a lot more constitute the reason Imo North constituents have voted Ibezim as the best senator the zone has ever produced since the return of democratic rule in Nigeria in 1999. They eulogise him for his prodigious and unmatched service to the people.
However, the humble and selfless lawmaker has said his joy would be complete in seeing Imo North go higher, even without him. That is why, as he hands over the baton of representation to Hon. Ndubueze, Ibezim’s prayer is that the new Senator should exceed him in achievements for the people. What a man!