OrderPaperToday– In the build-up to composition of the minority leadership of the current assembly, one name kept resounding in speculations and predictions – Kingsley Chinda.
Though he eventually lost the slot to Ndudi Elumelu, his status as a ranking member of the House of Representatives remains undisputed. This look at his performance in the 8th Assembly will help to understand how he built the reputation that put him in consideration for the role of the minority leader of the House.
Ogundu Kingsley Chinda was born on the 24th of March, 1966. He represents Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency of Rivers State in the House of Representatives.
Chinda attended State School 1, Orogbum, Port Harcourt, Stella Maris College, Port Harcourt, Rivers State School of Basic Studies, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu, Port Harcourt and Nigerian Law School, Lagos. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1995.
Prior to his election to the National Assembly, he served as legal adviser to Obio /Akpor Local Government Council (2005 -2007) and commissioner for Environment, River State (2008 – 2010).
Chinda’s performance in the 8th Assembly
He was the the chairman of the House Public Accounts Committee and also sponsored 32 motions and 9 bills within the period.
In fact, he moved the first motion in the 8th House. That particular motion moved on the 10th of June, 2015 was on a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, Okonta Samuel Dumebi, who was reportedly killed in Imo State.
The motion was adopted by the House with a call to the federal government and other relevant agencies to immediately take steps to secure Youth Corps members, as well as improve on their conditions of service. The Nigeria Police Force was also mandated to thoroughly investigate and bring the culprit of the murder to book.
On the 30th of July, 2015, a similar motion on extrajudicial motion was moved by Chinda. Interestingly, the 8th House had not even constituted committees. The investigative motion was referred yet to be constituted Committees on Police Affairs and Public Safety and National Security. Although, according to the document of the House on progress of motions, nothing came out of the investigation as no report was laid.
On the 4th of August, 2015, Chinda attempted to move a ground breaking motion to compel politicians to enrol their wards in public schools. However, the motion was withdrawn by leave of the House. If the motion had passed, the resolution would have called on the federal government to make it mandatory for public office holders to enrol their children and wards in public primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.
Two days after the failed motion, on the 6th of August, 2015, Chinda moved a motion on Ogoni environmental pollution. The resolutions from the motion could be linked to the ongoing Ogoni clean-up currently embarked on by the federal government through Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).
The resolutions were: “Urge the federal government to declare Ogoni Land an environmental disaster zone and invest resources to tackle the environmental disaster in Ogoni Land and commission an environmental audit or assessment of the entire Niger Delta region.
“Urgently engage in constructive dialogue with Ogoni people in particular and the Niger Delta in general as to the time, scale, and scope of actions to be taken to restore the environment.
“Urge Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) – the chief polluter of the Ogoni environment and, indeed, all other oil exploration companies in the Niger Delta region to urgently carry out a joint environmental pollution audit of their areas of operation and come up with a remediation plan and forward an interim report to the House within thirty (30) days for further legislative action.
The recommendation also added, “Commend the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for acting on the report and that the relevant committees of the House should ensure the implementation of the report.”
In summary, the motions sponsored by Mr. Chinda could be broken down to the following: 9 motions on security related issues; 8 Oil related (Niger Delta, Oil companies, funding) motions; 3 motions on infrastructure; 4 on political related issues; 2 on finance and 3 on appointments.
While significant success could be attributed to the motions by Chinda, same cannot be said about his bills. Out of the 9 bills sponsored, only two passed beyond 1st reading while the remaining 7 did not go beyond 1st reading. None even passed beyond committee level.
Some of the bills include National Conference and Referendums Bill, 2015 (2nd Reading), Bio-Fuel Energy Policy Bill, 2015 (1st reading), Bio-Fuel Energy Policy Bill, 2015 (report was laid by the committee it was referred to), Oil Producing Companies (Mandatory Investment in Petroleum Refining) Bill, 2017 (Stalled at 1st reading), National Youth Service Corps Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (1st reading), Central Bank of Nigeria Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (1st reading).
Others are Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (1st reading), Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (1st reading), National Universities Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (1st reading) and Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (1st reading).
Also, as one of the few lawyers in the 8th Assembly, Chinda was very active in committee of the whole and very versatile on national issues. He was also very active in holding the executive accountable for their actions and was usually unequivocal about it.