Katung: The Journey Of A First Term Legislator

By Midat Joseph

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to harvest what is planted, a time to seek, and a time to find, a time for entrance and exit.

This is why Jon Bloom, in his article ‘Lord, Prepare Me to End Well’ posited that “when a new child is born, a new crop is planted, a new project, phase, degree, career, friendship, resolve, marriage, house is pursued, we feel fresh excitement and anticipation. We enter a new season with the feeling of hope about the future. We invest a lot of dreaming, planning, energy, and often money in our beginnings, which explains all the books, videos and coaches offering to help us begin well.”
He added “People typically don’t relish thinking about endings, because endings are goodbyes. They are chapter closings that often leave us feeling regret, grief, confused, or excited over our actions and inactions.

As we think of enduring to the end and finishing well, there is no better example than that of the apostle Paul, who wrote to Timothy saying “for I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day…”

As I sat down thinking of the 8th National Assembly with all the drama that ensued for four years, one personality came to mind, a man whose journey to the lower chamber of the National Assembly started with the dream of helping his communities ravaged by insecurity, poverty and unemployment.
In the early hours of 1st April 1961 in the little sleepy town of Madakiya, Zangon Kataf local government area of Kaduna state, that personality was welcomed to the family of the Katungs. Unknown to them this latest addition, will later blossom to chart an enviable course for the family and indeed Nigeria.

Little Sunday Marshall Katung started his early education in Primary School in Madakiya. Having excelled in primary school, he soon found his way to one of the prestigious secondary schools Kufena College, Wusasa Zaria between 1975-1980.
Upon completion of secondary school, many brilliant students of those days that graduated in Zaria and environs usually will proceed to college of Arts & Science in Zaria among others. The young Sunday soon moved to that school graduating in 1982.
Young, intelligent and adventurous, he got admitted into the University of Lagos (1982-1986) a daunting task for young Northerners. He got admitted to read Law again a course that was not too common for northerners. Between 1986/1987 he was at the Nigeria Law School, V/Lagos where he obtained his BL (Barrister-at-Law). Not done with educational pursuit, he went on to read a PGD in Management in ABU Zaria and an MBA from the same University as well as another Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy( MIAD).

For the one year mandatory NYSC, he was employed at the Directorate of Air provost of the Nigerian Airforce HQ Lagos. (1987-1988)
He soon secured an appointment with Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation where he rose to become the youngest Company Secretary/Legal Adviser ever in the organisation. As the position implies, he was involved with a range of activities including providing general legal advice to the company, in charge of minutes at Board Meetings, conveying actionable decisions of the board, organising board meetings among others. He later resigned from the job to pursue business.

When the Late Governor of Kaduna State, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa assumed office as Executive Governor in 2010, his search for a young, dynamic and result-oriented commissioner for Finance brought him to Barrister Katung. He thus appointed him as commissioner for finance & member of the Kaduna State Executive council. After the 2011 elections, Katung was reappointed to serve as commissioner for water resources by Yakowa. He was again redeployed back to the Ministry of Finance in a cabinet reshufflement by former Governor Muhktar Ramalan Yero after the demise of Yakowa.

The Journey To The Green Chambers

The choice of elected representatives at all levels is always a difficult task. At such times you are faced with matching readiness and capacity to deliver. However in the case of the people of Zango Kataf/Jaba Federal constituency, the choice of Hon. Sunday Marshall Katung has hugely paid off. We had in him someone ready to serve with capacity to deliver. His was opportunity meeting preparedness.
After he left the cabinet in 2013, he started his consultations on the possibilities of contesting the House of Reps seat to represent Zango Kataf/Jaba federal constituency. These consultations paid off after a hard fought battle between 2014/2015, when on the 3rd of June 2015, he was elected as Member, Federal House of Representatives.

Since his election to the green chamber, Hon Katung left no one in doubt of his legislative abilities hitting the ground running as if he was a second timer.

On getting to the House of Representatives, Barrister Sunday Marshall Katung found his voice on the floor through effective sponsorship of bills and motions which reflects his desire for the socio, economic & political development of his constituency in particular and nation at large. His capacity enabled him to attract projects to his constituency. He, on his own also embarked on projects and programmes designed to empower, alleviate hunger and enhance the health and socio economic wellbeing of his constituents.

 Katung As A Legislator
One of the responsibilities of a legislator is lawmaking as well as present to the legislature concerns of his constituents. As a worthy representative, Barrister Katung took time to do just that and present some petitions and concerns of his constituents on the floor of the green chamber. Perhaps a few examples will suffice:
On Thursday 19th Nov., 2015, concerned about the welfare, justice and fairness of his constituents, presented a motion for the House to investigate the compulsory termination of service by the management of Diamond Bank against Elizabeth Awan. The Bank Terminated her service 24 days to her attaining 10 years of service thus denying her the usual terminal benefits she wound have been entitled to. Similarly on Wednesday 27th Jan. 2016, Katung, laid before the House another petition by former Staff of the Nigeria Breweries Kaduna (Many of whom were from his constituency) They were made redundant in the year 2000 with their entitlements still unpaid. He appealed to the Hon House to investigate and compel the NBL to pay them their entitlements.
On Thursday 28th Jan, 2016, He also went before the House with yet another petition from one of his constituents, Mr. Solomon David Kantiok. Mr. Kantiok a former employee of Keystone Bank was wrongfully suspended and subsequently terminated without payment of his entitlements.   On Thursday, 10th March 2016, Katung equally presented a petition to the House on behalf of Hon. Danladi Kwasu, a member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, whose petition hinged on the fact that Hon. Danladi’s son, a cadet in NDA died out of negligence hence wanted the House to investigate the matter to fore stall future occurrence.
Motions /Bills
On Thursday 12th April 2016, Representative Katung tabled a motion on the floor of the House, advising them of the demise of a First Class Royal father, Late Dr. Harrison Bungon, the Agwatyap calling on the federal and Kaduna State government to immortalize the late royal Father.
On Tuesday 7th June 2016, Katung, on behalf of the chairman of committee on interior moved a motion that the house receives the report of the Bill for an act to establish the Nigeria Peace Corps (NPC) which aimed at empowering, developing and providing alternative employment for the youths to facilitate peaceful community service, Nation Building and for other related matters. This bill which was pass into law by the National Assembly, was unfortunately rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Wednesday 21st Sept 2016, in pursuant to order eight rules 4(3), Katung moved a motion for the urgent intervention and investigation of the Tremors and Earthquake that took place at Jaba Local Government, Kaduna State and for the House to direct National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to the affected victims.
On Thursday 1st Dec. 2016 Hon SMK moved another motion on the floor of the green chamber on the urgent need to revive the textile industries in Nigeria with particular reference to Kaduna/Kano axis. Of course as a proactive legislator Hon. Katung knows too well that if the Textile industries in Kaduna were back on stream as in the sixties & seventies, the people of Kaduna state in general & Jaba/Zango Kataf will be major beneficiaries.
Other motions
>   Urgent need to phase out Coal in our Energy Mix.
>•   Urgent need to seek the release of Abducted Mrs. Lawrencia Mallam (Immediate past Minister) and her husband Mr. Pius Mallam who were abducted by kidnappers along Jere expressed road.
>   Urgent need for the inclusion of Kaduna and Plateau States in the States affected by the Herdsmen-Farmers crisis that the national economic council working group subcommittee will visit for consultations.
>   Urgent need for an investigation into the loss of twenty-one billion dollars ($21,000,000,000) {N7.6 trillion equivalent) crude oil revenue to International Oil Companies (iocs)
>   Urgent need for investigation into the arbitrary deployment of men of the Nigerian Army to the five (5) States of the South East to save Nigeria from Arbitrariness, Lawlessness and Anarchy.
>   Need to investigate the contract for upgrade of OML 58 upgrade 1, the execution of Obite-Rumuji   (our)   pipeline and the   Northern option   pipeline projects following   the   joint   operation   agreement   between   the   Nigerian   National Petroleum Corporation and Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited.

Bills Sponsored:
> An Act to establish the National Security Trust Fund for the provision of Military and security hardware, infrastructure and technology for security agencies in Nigeria and for related matters.

Membership of Committees
The value attached to a legislator by the House Leadership as well as his colleagues can be seen from the responsibilities he has. Representative Katung on his part had the trust and confidence of the House Leadership headed by Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara. This was clearly reflected in his membership of several Standing and Adhoc Committees as well as chairing one committee inspite of being a first timer.
 > Chairman Ad-hoc Committee on Digital Switch Over, Committee on Army, Committee on Privatisation, Committee on National Security and Intelligence,  Committee on Public Petition, Committee on Interior, Committee on Diaspora, Committee on Gas Resources, Committee on Delegated Legislations, Committee on House Services, Committee on Constitution Review, Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management, Committee on Federal Road Safety Commission, Committee on FCT Area Councils and Ancillary Matters, Committee on Nigeria-France Relations, Tactical committee on Economic Recession.
Ad-hoc Committees on:
CCTV, Investigation of Petition against the former IGP, Investigation of the plan to shutdown National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND), Industry, The Review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 Job Opportunities
As a true representative of his people, Sunday Marshall Katung keeps an eye on employment opportunities that would benefit his constituents. While keeping it low with intense lobbying for his constituents, Katung was able to influence 140 Federal jobs for young people from his constituency.

Community Service Of The Lawmaker
Despite his legislative activities, the society expects from public officers to also extend various gestures from their representative outside of lawmaking. On this ground, how did our representative fair in terms of extending goodwill and gestures to people back in his constituency? Though not his primary responsibility, but Katung showed compassion to people at home.

For instance, In 2016, in partnership with SMEDAN undertook the training of 300 women and youths drawn from his two local governments in various enterprenuerial skills like soap making, beverage making, pomade making etc. For one week they were transported from their various communities to be trained. Apart from paying millions of naira to the consultants, Katung supported the trainees financially to enable them start up their businesses. Today, many of these trainees, mostly Widows are self-employed and doing well to the glory of God.

Realizing that most of his constituents are farmers, Katung bought assorted fertilizer worth millions of naira and distributed free to his constituents devoid of political party sentiment, a gesture he maintained throughout his stay at the House of Representatives.

Medical Outreach
Bothered by the deteriorating health status of his constituents, Katung then undertook free surgeries and other health interventions simultaneously in 5 different locations across the two Local Governments of his constituency. The surgeries/interventions took place in Kwoi General Hospital, Daddu Health facility, Zonkwa and Zango General Hospital, Kamuru and Kamantan PHCs. At the end of the four day exercise about 500 surgeries were successfully undertaken, over 1000 people received reading glasses and over 500 others received drugs related to blood pressure malaria etc.

As if that was not enough, Katung again organised a free medical treatment for over 2000 persons suffering from different types of eye related diseases drown from various communities of his constituency.
Also, in a bit to reduce road crashes and loss of lives along Kachia-Kwoi road and Kachia-Zonkwa-Samaru express road, Representative Katung moved the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to rehabilitate the road that hitherto became dead trap for motorists.

Representative Katung is currently undertaking rural electrification projects in about Six communities within his constituency. Alongside the ongoing construction of a medical facility in Jaba local government Area, Katung has since commenced the construction of two bloc of Classrooms with laboratory at the Junior Secondary School, Ungwn Rana, Jaba local government area and another two bloc of classrooms at LEA Madauchi in Zango Kataf local government of Kaduna State.

It is indeed, a positive Journey of a good fellow who served his constituents with the whole of his heart. No wonder, he was picked to be the running mate to the PDP’s Governorship Candidate in Kaduna State even after he won his party primaries to return to the NASS for the second term at the House of Representative.

In all honesty, Representative Sunday Marshall Katung has fought the good fight, finished the race well, and has kept the faith. I believe there is a lot laid up for him. We look forward to what the future will bring for him. That crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award him soon.

Midat write from Kaduna and can reach via email: donmidat2009@gmail.com

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