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Published On: Mon, Oct 23rd, 2017

Evelyn Oboro, Omo-Agege In Media War Over FUPRE Bill

Hon Evelyn Oboro, Member Representing Uvwie/Sapele/Okpe Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives (Middle) in a group Photograph with Staff of FUPRE

LAGOS OCTOBER 23RD (URHOBOTODAY)-The member representing Uvwie/Okpe/Sapele Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Hon Evelyn Oboro and member representing Delta Central in the House Of Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege are presenting enmeshed in media war on who is responsible for the passage and approval Federal Universty of Petroleum Resources Efferun, FUPRE Bill that was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Reacting to Omo-Agege’s claim of receiving credit over the approval of the Bill, Oboro who said she had already ready reported the case to Senate leadership over an alleged attempt by Omo-Agege to claim the glory for the FUPRE Bill stated that the Bill establishing the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE), Delta State, was her brainchild, dating back to 2014 when she assembled consultants to draft the bill.
Oboro who made the claim while playing host to a delegation of various academic unions from FUPRE, on Saturday who was on a ‘thank you’ visit for ensuring that the FUPRE Bill was signed into law said that she had to tell the world the truth about the FUPRE Bill because “some political dramatists” want to reap where they did not sow.
Ostensibly referring to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege representing Delta South Senatorial district, Oboro said she had intimated the Senate leadership that one ‘senior brother’ was attempting to steal her intellectual property.
Omo-Agege had, during a media chat in Delta last weekend, listed the FUPRE Bill as one of the bills already passed by both chambers and waiting for the president’s assent without making any clear statement on who sponsored it to the chambers.
Perhaps irked by media reports emanating from the chat, Oboro, contended that “This Bill we are talking about today is my brainchild and a product of my endeavor.
“It is my intellectual property because I actually engaged the services of consultants to look into it and they drafted this Bill which I presented in 2014 and the Bill was sent to the Senate for concurrence.
“I do not want to join issues, but it is very important for me to let you know that there are a lot of political dramatists in the state.
“I am not a political dramatist, I am a realist and what I cannot do, I will not tell you that I will do it.
“I have never been known for crafting and assuming ownership of what belonged to someone else.
“Ordinarily when a Bill is passed, there will be no need for a public hearing and visitation because the Bill has already been passed.
“When a Bill has been passed, the next thing is for it to be sent to the President for assent.
“So when you see a drama about a Bill that has been passed by the House of Representatives, sent to the Senate for concurrence and somebody came up with the same Bill and introduced it as a fresh Bill that he is sponsoring, it sounds funny.
“And then in an attempt to suppress me, because I am a woman, and to kill my voice and to steal the glory that God has given to me, you move traditional rulers, for no reason, from Delta State to Abuja and staged-managed a public hearing which was not necessary in the first place.”
She explained that the Bill, after it was passed by the house, was delayed from being signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan due to the political shenanigans that ensued during the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
In a quick Reaction to Oboro’s allegation in statement titled, “TO HON. EVELYN OBORO WE SAY, ‘NEMO DAT QUOD NON HABET’ – ‘NO ONE CAN GIVE WHAT THEY DO NOT HAVE’ – Right of Reply” signed by Aruviere Martin Egharhevwa For: Media & Strategy Team in the Office of Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege posted in Ovie Omo-Agege’s facebook page, the publication disclosed that Oboro’s claim to some fantasy “copyright” is probably the worst form of public exhibition of legislative illiteracy, meagre legal education, rascality, mischief, dishonesty, and dishonor.
The statement argued that Oboro’s attempt to create some form of unfounded equivalence with Omo-Agege is reprehensible would not be tolerated, stressing that . even if she wants to disguise her obvious idleness and create a false impression of legislative ‘busyness’ she should not feel that the best approach is to cling to extreme disrespect, dishonor and immaturity unbefitting of a federal lawmaker.
“We are resolved not to allow her to get away with unprovoked rudeness to her senior and better. It is not our style to launch media attacks on people but it will always be a grave mistake for mischief makers to take this as a weakness,” the statement noted.
Defending Omo-Agege with respect to Oboro’s allegations, the statement read,” First, it is well-known that Bills establishing educational institutions often derive from generic templates. A simple look at Acts establishing federal universities will show they are similar. Their uniqueness only lies in their names, dates of passage, establishment dates, academic/research focus, and date of assent.
“Next, it is a fact that Distinguished Senator (Professor) Adego Eferaykeya first sponsored/introduced the FUPRE Bill in the National Assembly during the 6th Senate but his Bill was not passed.
“With the non-passage of the Eferakeya Bill, former President Goodluck Jonathan commendably re-sent the Bill to the 7th National Assembly in 2012 as an EXECUTIVE BILL (which is different from a Senator’s or a Member’s Bill). We are aware that our brother Distinguished Senator Pius Akpor Ewherido of blessed memory used his special relationship with the then President for the Bill to be presented as an EXECUTIVE Bill. Although this Bill was passed in 2014 by the National Assembly, curiously it was not assented to by President Jonathan as at when he left office in 2015. Without assent, it meant the entire legislative process had to be done afresh.
“We note that Hon. (Ms) Evelyn Oboro was first elected to the House of Reps in 2011 after the Eferakeya Bill had been presented. Oboro claims that she sponsored the 2012 FUPRE Bill that was passed in 2014 but not signed by former President Jonathan. No record whatsoever supports this claim. On the contrary, Jonathan simply re-forwarded the Eferakeya Bill to the National Assembly for fresh legislative action, with late Senator Ewherido leading the way. In content, the Eferakeya Bill is almost the same with the Jonathan EXECUTIVE Bill. Being so, how can Ms Oboro then claim to have sponsored a FUPRE Bill in 2012? Did she sponsor an EXECUTIVE Bill?!!!
“An EXECUTIVE or a Concurrence Bill cannot stand in Oboro’s name. Those Bills only stand in the name of the LEADER of the Chamber concerned. The conclusion must therefore be that Oboro LIED that she sponsored a FUPRE Bill in 2012. This is disgusting. Our women and mothers are not barefaced liars. They mold society with the power of truth and good character.
“ Furthermore, it is elementary that our National Assembly is a bi-camera legislature – Senate and House of Reps. Often, there are Senate Bills and House Bills that are duly gazetted. The Senate Bill (SB) gazetted in respect of FUPRE Bill, 2016 is SB 226 and stands in the name of “Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege”.
“SB 226, sponsored by Senator Omo-Agege, built significantly on the Eferakeya Bill and Jonathan (Executive) Bill in one significant area. Manifestly brilliant and bold, Senator Omo-Agege reasoned with the authorities of FUPRE that it was necessary to push for better funding for FUPRE from oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta rather than rely solely on federal allocations and internally generated revenue by the institution. This bold introduction in his Bill (SB 226) became a major issue for negotiation and lobbying/counter lobbying. The oil companies did not want it. Senator Omo-Agege stood his ground. In the end, some reasonable compromise was reached.
“So, Senator Omo-Agege did not just represent the FUPRE Bill (which he could have done in his capacity as the Senator for Delta Central). He added great value to the original generic type of bill. He saw the university as a specialized one and needed to be funded accordingly so that it may deliver efficiently on its statutory mandate. That proposed value though reasonably negotiated is now reflected in the Act now commendably assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Why is Oboro ranting over a Bill that was duly passed by the entire Senate of the Federal Republic and sent to the House of Reps for concurrence/conference reconciliation? Is she not mocking herself for knowing so little about the intricate legislative processes of the National Assembly despite being there for 6 years? When Senator Omo-Agege rendered what has become probably the most well-researched Lead Debate on the FUPRE Bill, where was Oboro? Can Oboro publish her own Lead Debate in the House of Reps? Can she publish the details, including photographs, of any Public Hearing that took place on account of her actions on the FUPRE Bill in the Reps? Where her actions in secret?”

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