By Abdulmalik Suleiman
Dignitaries from all walks of life were on hand to celebrate an icon who though has made his presence felt at the nation’s political filament but has continued to maintain gentle unassuming persona and profile.
The celebrant whom the creme of the Nigerian society has come to gather is an achiever per excellent who have done well for himself and the society at large in various endeavours that he has found himself professionally, as a budding statesman as well as a consummate philanthropists.
It is to the credit of Sen. Osita Izunaso that he has been able to attract the positive attention from all strata of the society on to himself in overtime by ensuring that he pays much premium of his human relations in a manner that everyone in Nigeria, irrespective of religious persuasion or ethnic affiliation finds it cosy and comfortable to identify and relate with him.
To the Orlu, Imo State born lawyer turned politician, what should come first is humanity and how to advance its cause and not the mundane predisposition to religion and ethnicity which in his view serve no purpose of advancing the cause of humanity.
The roll call of dignitaries to mark his 55th birthday in Abuja, the nation’s capital city bears an eloquent testimony to this guests came from all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria to celebrate an icon and patriot who is highly detribalised and progressive in thought and action.
Dignitaries who attended the event include the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; and a former Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Dino Melaye. While all the identified personalities are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Melaye is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a testament to the respect and awe that Izunaso, a former member of both the lower and upper chambers of the National Assembly commands in the minds of Nigerians.
Quite unlike the usual manner the average elite celebrate such milestone, Izunaso gathered his friends to mark the occasion not by throwing an elaborate party but to mark the occasion with the physically challenged segment of the society in Abuja.
In the end, the occasion provided stakeholders who came to honour him to put in the front burner, salient issues affecting that segment of the Nigerian society and in the end, those present used the opportunity to advocate for the speedy implementation of the mandatory five per cent employment slot approved by the Federal Government for Persons living with Disabilities in Nigeria.
The event was the 16th anniversary of Kpakpando Foundation for Persons With Disabilities, an NGO founded by Izunaso with the theme “Five per cent Employment Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria: Time to walk the talk”.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of medals of honour and other rewards to the victorious Paralympians of Tokyo 2020 by the by the dignitaries. The awards also came with some form of cash and material rewards to appreciate their patriotic accomplishments for the country at the international sporting events.
Apart from his numerous philanthropic engagements, Izunaso within the space of 22 years have achieved some much for himself and humanity using politics and the portent platform for the service of humanity.
Destiny and fate both conspired together to thrust him into national reckoning when he was elected into the Federal House of Representative, he had been appointed as Chief Press Secretary to two federal ministers.
His performance at this post (CPS) brought him fame and attention from his people back home who began to see some leadership traits in him culminating in his election into the lower legislative chambers of the National Assembly.
Izunaso achieved something that could termed landmark in politics when he displaced a political iroko in his Imo West senatorial zone, Chief Arthur Nzeribe to the elected into the Senate in 2007.
While there, he had the privilege of sponsoring important bills such as the Conveyance of Persons in Articulated Vehicles Bill, Treatment and Care of Victims of Conflict, National Agency for the Promotion and Preservation of Local Languages in Nigeria and Amendment of the Oil Pipelines Act Amendment. He contributed to plenary debates and was active in committees.
Though he had been elected into public office on the platform of the PDP in the past, Izunaso soon found political solace with other likeminds who came together to form the now ruling APC. It is to his credit that he played prominent and noticeable role in the formation of the party and was subsequently elected the party’s National Organising Secretary.
While serving in that capacity, Izunaso in no small way helped in stabilising the party by serving as the buffer to the numerous tendencies and caucuses in the party and with that the party was able to ensure some form of stability and peace during the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun led national executive committee.He was instrumental to the resolution of many crisis of confidence within the APC, a development has prompted many in the APC to beckon on him to put himself forward to serve in higher capacity at the forthcoming national convention.
Though he is yet to make up his mind with regards to the call but if and when he does, his election would be a fait accompli because of the enormous goodwill that he enjoys across board.
Perhaps that would provide him with further opportunity to serve and better the cause of humanity. Izunaso has never shied away from statesmanship and philantrophy and this will certain not be an exception as he continues ro wax stronger in his self-imposed desire to serve humanity.