Posted by News Express | 19 May 2018 | 2,465 times
Rt Hon Martins Okechukwu Azubuike, a visionary leader and consummate politician, represents Isiala Ngwa North State Constituency in Abia State House of Assembly. Former Speaker of the 6th Assembly and ex-deputy national chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislators in Nigeria, Azubuike is a man of integrity and outstanding intellect. A legal practitioner and businessman, the former Speaker is widely respected as a bridge-builder, dogged fighter, grassroots mobiliser and role model.
These qualities bestowed upon him by God puts him poles apart from his contemporaries. And noted in Williams Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”. It can be said without equivocation that Hon Azubuike was neither born great, nor did he achieve same by having it thrust upon him. He achieved greatness through dint of hard work, impeccable character content, dexterity, with his eyes on genuine success. Although he has a large heart and is exceptionally accommodating, yet he demonstrates an uncommon humility and respect for all.
Born on July 16, 1969, in Onitsha, Anambra State, to the family of late Mr Sunday Onyedinma and Mrs Harriet Azubuike of Umuezenta village, Umuomainta Autonomous Community, Nbawsi, Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area, Abia State. He is the third son in a family of six males and a female. Today, he has become a political colossus and a rallying point to all men goodwill within his political orbit.
He had his primary education at Nbawsi, from where he proceeded to Midtown Commercial School, Nbawsi, where he spent just one academic session before leaving for Community Secondary School, Nenu, in Obingwa Local Government Area. In 1989, he gained admission to Abia State University, Uturu, where he bagged an LLB in Law (BL).
He was called to bar in 1995. He started legal practice after the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) with Comfort Chambers, Abuja in 1996. He later joined Harmony Chambers, Abuja from 1996 as a junior counsel. In 1997, they jointly opened Crystal Chambers. From a partner, he became the managing partner of the chambers. In 2003, he became a member of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC). In 2005, he left Crystal Chambers for Prudent Chambers where he served as the principal partner till 2007.
He joined active politics in 2001 and later contested election for Abia State House of Assembly seat to represent Isiala Ngwa North State Constituency in 2003, under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but he failed. In 2007 he, again, ran for the Abia House of Assembly, but the election result was contested, leading to litigation, until late 2008, when his mandate was recovered through the court.
In 2011, he sought for another mandate, which the good people of his constituency gladly revalidated. Subsequently, in 2015, stakeholders of his constituency insisted that he must once again represent them due to his quality representation. Thus, he was duly elected into the State House of Assembly. To crown it all, exactly on June 11, 2015, the honorable members of the Abia sixth Assembly elected him Speaker and he served meritoriously till December 29, 2016 when there was a change in leadership. He remains an active member of the assembly, contributing to lawmaking and meaningful deliberations for development of the state.
When he emerged as the sixth Abia Speaker, Azubuike’s humility, cognate legislative experience, likeable personality, charisma and political sagacity came to play in the legislative house. He was rated one of the best brains produced by successive Abia State House of Assembly leadership: he carried all the members along in lawmaking business of the hallowed chamber. It was a known fact that the state Assembly, then as constituted, was bipartisan, given that the leading opposition party, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), had significant presence. However, the peace, harmony and cooperation that existed both inside and outside the hallowed chamber were clear proofs of his accommodating leadership style: he always saw himself as a servant, not the leader.
Hon Azubuike believes in empowering the vulnerable and indigent people to be self-reliant, a task and giant stride he has been promoting through his various self-sponsored programmes. In the past, through Martins Azubuike Education Assistance Programme, he gave out bursary to 100 undergraduates of Isiala Ngwa North origin in tertiary institutions in the country. At the local level, he sponsored a Primary School Quiz Competition in the whole LGA. At the secondary level, he instituted Secondary Schools Yearly Quiz and Debating Competitions, now in its fifth edition. He also has a yearly Football League, now in its fourth year, as a platform where talents are discovered through grassroots soccer competition. In his belief that with good health, one can function well physically, socially and spiritually, the grassroots mobiliser operates a medical intervention programme which enables him partner with doctors and hospitals in his immediate constituency, to provide health-care for the teeming constituents. He later expanded his free health-care delivery frontier by engaging the services of Divine Grace Medical Missionaries, Houston, Texas, United States. The group, which he fully sponsors, has been carrying out free medical programmes in all the wards of the LGA.
That is not all. His honourable has also been rewarding party faithful through the years - from stakeholders, ward and LG officers to the least party loyalist – with cars, Keke Napep, motorcycles, generators, sewing machines, etc. This aspect of his pay-back to the constituency has been replaced by a more robust Martins Azubuike Leadership Foundation (MALF). Recently, the people’s representative embarked on massive roads construction and rehabilitation, cutting across the 10 political wards of his constituency. Naturally, this attracted very positive reactions from the constituents as they lauded him for such a robust community intervention. Through the Foundation, he also sponsors singing competition, in partnership with the Ministry of Praise of the Anglican Communion, in the following dioceses of the Anglican Church: Isiala Ngwa Diocese, Aba Ngwa Diocese, Isiala Ngwa South Diocese, Umuahia Diocese, Ikwuano Diocese.
Recently, he flagged off the first phase of Martins Azubuike Agricultural Empowerment Programme, targeted at rural farmers with initial N10 million, shared among the first 100 beneficiaries, with the second phase in view.
Apart from his official staff working directly with him while he was Speaker of the Assembly, Rt Hon Martins Azubuike, had 132 people, mostly youths, women and the vulnerable on his monthly payroll. This feat by one local politician is unmatched in the annals of Nigeria’s representative democracy dominated by self-serving sharks. Given the foregoing backdrop, it is not difficult to explain the outpouring love and massive grassroots followership enjoyed by the caring and empathic legislator across Abia State, as he has impacted people beyond his immediate constituency.
As a secondary school student, he was a deputy senior Prefect; as an undergraduate, he was elected deputy speaker, Law Students Association House of Assembly, ABSU. He was one time Legal Adviser to the prestigious Abuja-based organisations – Ngwa Forum, and Ngwa Cultural and Development Association – as well as former chairman, of Umuomainta Progressive Association.
As a lawmaker in the Abia House, he became famous as House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, a task he carried out with passion for many years, apart from being a member of other committees. Ever since his exit as Speaker, the State Assembly has not recovered from the missing vestiges and vibrancy of his people-oriented and visionary leadership.
In a clime where selfless and charitable service is in short supply, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the beloved lawmaker has been bestowed with numerous honours/awards. Notable among them are: Ambassador of Christ by Diocese of Isiala Ngw North (Anglican Communion) Emmanuel Church, Aba; Vocational Service Award by Rotary Club fo Aba, Golf City, District 9140; Award of Excellence in Leadership by Umunna Nsulu Patriots; Community Service Award by Rotary International Club, Abia zone for distinguishing himself in community services, and contributions to the development of the society and promotion of goodwill; Merit Award by Associations of Ngwaland, Abuja; Merit Award by Okpulo Ngwa Autonomous Community, Isiala Ngwa North LGA for Excellency in Leadership and Representation; Distinguished Award by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Aba branch; Recognition Award for Legislative Excellence by Abia State Polytechnic, Aba; Leadership ExcellenceAward by Abia Youth Assembly, among others.
Patron of All Ukwa/Ngwa Youth Association, the ex-Speaker is Founder/Chairman, Board of Trustees, Martins Azubuike Leadership Foundation, a non-governmental organisation saddled with leadership training programmes, entrepreneurship development, scholarship/bursary awards and ensuring balanced development. Hon Azubuike is an easy-going gentleman who, despite his busy schedule, makes out time for relaxation, especially with family and friends.
A product of Proverbs chapter 22: 6:“Train up a child the way he should go…”, young Martins was brought up a devout Christian in the Anglican Communion. As a result, he has so much belief in the power and providence of the Almighty God, Jehovah Jireh, the source of all abundance. That, precisely, explains his spirit of philanthropy and love for the less-privileged. Because giving is part of his being, Azubuike was one time choice Coordinator of the Care Group System of Family Worship Centre, Abuja.
He is happily married to Kate and they are blessed with five children.
•Prince Clinton Uba is Media Aide to Hon Azubuike.
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