OrderPaperToday – Prior to her shocking death on March 23, our editorial team at OrderPaperNG had nominated and profiled the late Sen. Rose Oko for this week’s edition of Stewardship Report.
In recognition of her outstanding performance and for being the first woman to represent Cross River North Senatorial district in the Senate, she emerged as OrderPaperNG‘s “Beacon for International Women’s Day” in March 8, 2018.
The late lawmaker was chosen for being a seasoned politician, as well as an effective humanitarian activist as evident in the host of motions and bills she sponsored. She was one of the women in the Senate who regularly stood up for fellow women by bringing their cases to the fore.
Also a feather in her cap is the fact that she was a contributor to the highest number of bills among female senators in the 8th Senate.
It is, therefore, with utmost respect and honour, that we present her 8th Assembly performance report.
May her soul rest in peace.
Born on September 27, 1956, Rose Oko graduated with B.A Linguistics from the University of Calabar, Cross River State. Years later in 1990, she acquired her Doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Port Harcourt, as well as a MBA from the Management Institute of Canada.
Oko became an assistant lecturer in the department of Language and Linguistics in University of Calabar until 1986 when she was promoted to become a lecturer in the same department.
She got her first political job in 1989 as commissioner of Education, Cross River State till 1991. In 1993, she was appointed director-general, National Defence and Security Council, Cabinet Secretariat, under the military presidency, alongside being the national commissioner, National Electoral Commission (NEC), now known as Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Between 1993 and 1994, she was appointed director-general, Provisional Ruling Council, again under the then military administration. Between 1995 to 2002, she served as the director of the National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
In 1999, Oko joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State but left and introduced the National Democratic Party (NDP) to the state where she served as the deputy chairman, South, Board of Trustees, NDP.
Her first attempt to get into the National Assembly was in 2003 when she contested for Cross River North Senatorial District under the NDP banner, but lost to the PDP candidate at the time.
As chairman of the board of trustees for the NDP, she ran again in 2007 as a gubernatorial candidate for Cross River State but lost to the PDP candidate.
In that year, she returned to PDP and ran for Yala/Ogoja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives in 2011 and won. In 2015, she went for Cross River North District and emerged winner on the platform of the PDP and became the first female senator from the district. She contested again and was re-elected in the 2019 elections,
8th Assembly appraisal
Upon inauguration, she was appointed the chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organisation and Civil Societies and vice chairman of Education (Basic and Secondary).
She brought a case to the Senate through a motion on Joy Odama, who was allegedly murdered by a certain Alhaji Usman Adam in 2016 in Abuja, calling for justice for the deceased and family through a thorough investigation.
Oko equally sponsored a motion on the killing of 26 Nigerian girls in a Spanish Warship on the Mediterranean Sea heading to Italy on the 9th of November 2017.
As a representative of her senatorial district, she called on the federal government to wade into the communal clash in Wanehim and Wanakade Communities of Cross-River State through a motion.
On the economic front, she moved a motion on the abolition of Excess Crude Account as a result of inherent loopholes which gives room for mismanagement of funds.
Similarly, following a motion she sponsored, the minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, was summoned to submit the Green Tea Agreement due to noncompliance by Cameroonians who were reportedly meting out harsh treatment on Nigerians living in Cameroon as Bakassi indigenes.
Another top motion she sponsored called for an increase in tax payable on single-use plastic bags and bottles to discourage its use.
On bills, she sponsored 8 but none of them scaled third reading. A National Environmental Standards and Regulations Agency Bill, 2018, sponsored by her was read for the first time and ended there.
Bills that passed second reading and were referred to committees are: Sovereign Wealth Fund Act 2011 (Amendment) Bill, 2015; Central Bank of Nigeria Act (2007) (Amendment) Bill, 2015; Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2015; Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2015; Cassava Flour (Mandatory Inclusion in Flour Production) Bill, 2016; Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (Est, etc.) Bill, 2016 and National Planning Commission (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill,2018.
Her seat in the 9th Senate was shaky until a ruling delivered in September, 2019 by the Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, upholding her electoral victory.
She was until her demise, the chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment.