Who is Senator Andy Uba? Where is he coming from? What does he want? Why is he generally seen by friends, kinsmen, business and political associates as a good man? How do we deconstruct an alloy out of common properties? What makes Andy Uba so people-friendly that only a few antagonise him? Yet, a critical articulation neither makes similarities into identities nor rigorously maintains distinctions. It is more akin to the weaving together of heterogeneous threads into a new product than to the scholarly and disinterested comparison of homogeneous masses whose distinction is highly respected. The alloying of the two distinct entities into a new compound requires an account of the materials used, but merely to enable the location of common properties that facilitate the making of the alloy.
To attempt a critical articulation of answers to the above posers, we must eschew primordial sentiments and probe into the personality of the subject matter. Born into the family of Nze and Dame Philip Uba of Uga Community in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State on December 14, 1958, Andy Emmanuel Nnamdi Uba was like a typical covenant child whose life was cut out for great things. He started his early education in Enugu. On completion of his secondary education at Boys High School, Awkwunanaw, Enugu, young Andy Uba proceeded to the United States of America to study at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography & Urban Analysis. He lived and worked in the United States of America for many years. Between 1985 and 1992, he worked for the Golden State Mutual Insurance Company in California. By 1992, he had established a chain of health clinics that conducted series of evaluations on workers’ compensation claims in various parts of the United States.
In 1998, while still in the United States, the urge to contribute to the socio-economic and political developments of his country compelled him to join the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It was his profound ethical disposition, sound philosophical beliefs, deep sense of loyalty, compassion, and dedication to his fatherland even as a committed member of the diaspora community that endeared him to the former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Consequently, he was appointed as Special Assistant on Special Duties and Domestic Affairs to President Obasanjo. He held the position till December 2006. He thereafter contested and won the 2007 governorship election in Anambra State but was compelled to relinquish the position by a court order due to his enormous respect for the rule of law. But in April 2011, he won the Anambra South Senatorial seat and yet again, a court ruling nullified the election and ordered a re-run, which he contested and won by landslide. From the 7th Senate, he has remained a notable player in the nation’s political calculus.
His contribution to the success of the 7th Senate was exceptional and worthy of note. Senator Andy Uba served as Chairman Senate Committee on INAC, charged with the responsibility of amending existing electoral laws to achieve free and fair elections nationwide. He and his Committee worked tirelessly and assiduously engaging INEC, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders. The 2015 general elections which was generally free and fair, was the outcome of his committee’s ability to secure a comprehensive amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act which gave more stability to the administrative structure of INEC thereby making the umpire more independent. A critical observation on Andy Uba would reveal an ample and vivid portrait of a man in his middle age: a powerfully attractive personality - witty, affectionate, energetic, and positively generous- emerges in his actions, in his conversations, in his photographs and in the way he walks. Just have an encounter with him and you would appreciate an intimate key component of his personality. The qualities that distinguish Andy Uba from most of the characters or pretenders who are clamouring for the plumb job in Anambra State include: his swooping range of fashionable attires; his comely humility; his suave and urbane composure , and his financial war-chest. At this material circumstance, Anambra does not need a beggar or a god-son whose eyes would be fixed on the collective till. But his most compelling trait is the passion he evinces and enkindles for his people.
In spite of the antics of his detractors and political opponents with loose mouths who circulated that Senator Uba is a benchwarmer who had never sponsored any motion or bill on the floor of the red chamber since he became a lawmaker in 2011, facts emanating from the Senate prove the bookmakers wrong. Without going into details due to space constraints, it is on record that Sen. Uba singlehandedly sponsored 12 motions and co-sponsored 15. Whereas he singlehandedly sponsored 24 bills, he co-sponsored 15 bills while three bills are on the floor, to justify his relevance in the National Assembly. Between 2011 and now, Senator Uba has served on 13 Senate Committees respectively, including the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of which he is Chairman. Others are Committees on: Finance, Special Duties, Millennium Development Goals, Rules and Business, Lands and Housing, 2012 Senate Retreat (Ad-hoc), Removal of Fuel Subsidy (Ad-hoc), Public Accounts (Chairman), Health, FCT, Poverty Alleviation, and Marine Transport. Some of the bills sponsored by him include: The Nigerian Postal Commission Bill, 2016; the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, 2016; the Nigeria Ports and Harbours Authority Bill, 2016; A Bill for an Act to establish the National Transport Commission; a Bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund, and other related matters, etcetera.
Nothing seems more characteristic of the present age than the homogeneity of its world view. We may frown at its developmental smugness but we must admire its optimism, its intellectual refinements, its spirit of true enlightenment, and the critical engagement with which it examines the world and its leaders. In documenting the life and times of a towering personality, exciting experiences are selected, which present emotional and spiritual values. As a faithful servant, a dedicated realist and reformer who can bridge all gulfs, level all mountains and put a lamp in every tunnel, as exemplified by his selfless stewardship to his constituents and the nation at large, Andy Uba has come to be seen as a modern day phenomenon whose corpus requires a large canvas. Indeed, we cannot conceive a more perfect mode of drawing a sketch about his life but by placing side by side what he has done and what people have said about him as an individual and as a leader. In diverse areas such as education, agriculture, health, skills acquisition, poverty alleviation, resurrection and entrenchment of core societal values, Senator Uba has tremendously impacted the lives of his constituents and even beyond. It is this that has made him the bride in the November 2017 Anambra governorship election. In him, Ndi-Anambra already have a choice.
“Their quit notice to fellow Nigerians to leave any part of Nigeria strikes at the fundamental rights of citizenship. It is a call for the dissolution of the country. Their call for an inventory and seizure of assets of Nigerians living in the North is conversion. It amounts to a day light robbery of lawful property.”
– Chief John Nnia Nwodo, President General,