The induction of Samuel Onuigbo into the country’s first-ever Most Valuable Parliamentarian (MVP) Hall of Fame was heartening news for the environmental community.
Onuigbo was one of five legislators who made it to the top of the list for sponsoring the Climate Change Act (CCA 2021) in the Ninth National Assembly, out of 469 lawmakers and 3000 bills screened.
“I am profoundly grateful to God Almighty that, after such a detailed and incisive evaluation,” he said, “I am one of the few chosen legislators.”
Speaking after his induction at the event, titled “A Night of Glamour” and organised by OrderPaper on Sunday, May 21, 2023, at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre in Abuja, the parliamentarian went on to say that the recognition was a testament to his tenacious and selfless dedication to being an impactful representative.
According to him, the signing of the CCA 2021 was a watershed moment in Nigeria’s history in the fight for environmental protection, and it was a significant accomplishment for the 9th Assembly.
The member of the House of Representatives who represents Ikwuano and Umuahia North and South Federal Constituencies in Abia State acknowledged that it took a team to implement the Act.
He added that he had a lot of support from his colleagues, ministers, and the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo, who all worked together to ensure that the bill became law, signaling the end of nearly 15 years of numerous failed attempts to bring about climate change in Nigeria.
The congressman revealed that countries in Africa and other continents that have not developed their own climate change acts are contacting Nigeria for advice on how to do so.
As a result, he referred to the climate change legal framework as a significant piece of legislation that could help the nation transition to a sustainable and low-carbon economy.
In response to the honour’s significance, the lawmaker who was the first to be announced stated that it was intended to motivate and elicit the best performances from parliamentarians for the public good as a means of deepening and broadening Nigeria’s democratic practice.
He elucidates that when legislators know their onions and focus on adding value, service delivery becomes their primary goal. So he advised the newly elected legislators to prioritise serving their employers (the electorate) over those worldly things that vanish overnight.
Onuigbo claimed to have worked in community development for decades, specifically since 1991. Consequently, he stated in his testimony, “I know that the people are the backbone of a service-focused politician.”
Oke Epia, the founder and executive director of OrderPaper, hinted that the selection process was performance-based, with the goal of “unveiling a distinct class of excellent performers in the National Assembly.”
According to him, the final five inductees were chosen after four screening processes spanning three years and several appraisals by independent and globally recognised appraisers using the metrics of value, volume, impact, and progression.
He added that Onuigbo was chosen in recognition of his contributions to the 9th National Assembly, particularly his sponsorship of the CCA 2021.
“It is an intergenerational and globally impactful document,” says the Order Paper’s founder and executive director, adding that it has the potential to lay the groundwork for a sustainably developed Nigeria.