Friday, June 4, 2010

Senator Bent: Honoured Home And Abroad

Senator Grace Bent represents Adamawa South Senatorial Dictrict in the National Assembly. AL-AMIN CIROMA takes a look at this colourful lawmaker whose exploits have not gone unnoticed

Published in LEADERSHIP (May 25, 2010)

The climate all over the world has suddenly changed to something else. Every morning one wakes up, the first thing that comes to the mind is how international air travellers are coping with the current weather hazards. In Nigeria, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the condition changes every minute: it can be viciously cold, hot and very dry in turns. It was under this situation that I pondered on the fate of our environmental problems in Nigeria. That gave me an insight into onerous task facing the distinguished lawmaker, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Senator Grace Folashade Bent, who has undoubtedly done well in defining the environment and ecological problems in this country for the past years.
She is known for her zeal to eradicate poverty, economic empowerment of women and youth with a rare kind of sharp intelligence. Senator Bent is well known for her political dexterity. The Adamawa State political amazon is known for her zeal and enthusiasm in pursuing agenda that affect humanity and Nigeria as a nation. She is a rare activist, and openly savours the tough thrust and party of political campaigning. No doubt the board of directors of African Leadership forum magazine conferred on her the coveted African Legislator of the year 2010.
The historic event, which took place at Hyatt Regency Hotel, Charles De-Gaulle airport in Paris, France, drew participants from all walks of life. Notable among the dignitaries that grace the occasion were, the Senate President of Liberia, Governor of Abia State, His Excellency, Dr. Theodore Orji, Her Excellency, Mrs. Yemisi Suswam, wife of the Governor of Benue State and Nigeria's Ambassador to France and Sweden, among other dignitaries.
The chairman of the Advisory Board of the African Leadership group and also Chairman of the African Business Roundtable, elder statesman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, noted that Senator Bent had distinguished herself as a detribalised Senator to the people of Nigeria, and had over the years, commanded respect and adulation from many who have known her through her good works.
Also making a point at the grand stage of the event, the renowned British-born Sudanese Telecom magnate and wealthiest African, Dr. Mo' Ibrahim, saw Senator Bent as a symbol of the new breed of the emerging African leaders with a human heart. The philanthropist, Dr. Ibrahim heads the Mo' Ibrahim foundation that awards $500,000 and subsequently $200,000 annually for the remaining days of the duly elected African leader that has served his people creditably well without any recourse to a term extension.
Senator Bent was described as strong, very outspoken leader on issues that border on women activism, environmental sustainability and exemplary leadership. The ever smiling legislator is always down to earth, unassuming, a good leader of people. She belives that the best leadership is all about putting the people first, citing people like Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Aminu Kano, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, etc. According to her, they were very rich but they put the people first.
Senator Bent also serves the upper legislative chamber in various committees as an active member. Few among the committees she serves on are those on foreign affairs, aviation, ethics, privileges and public petitions, etc. This clearly indicates her passion and obsession in serving her great country. She is of the opinion that the depth of one’s life will always be the depth of one’s leadership. The gorgeous looking lawmaker, who also bagged the 'Sardauna Senator of the Year 2009', has in her list numerous honours including, PWORA Role Model award (2008) by the Association of Professional Women on Rural Development (PWORA). She was also honoured as the most distinguished Senator in Northern Nigeria (2008) by the management of the Africa Independent Television (AIT), among other honorary awards.
The distinguished senator, above all is always connected to her beliefs. Whenever a question like this arises, Senator Grace, who is adorably nicknamed 'Goggo,' a Fulani term depicting a very cherished mother and auntie in line with her positive political exploits in the state, would simply smile and say your environment determines your growth. According to her, fish grow according to their environment. Fish that could grow very big in the ocean can remain very small when caged in a small environment. She is of the opinion that one must work hard and persevere in order to remain relevant and serve one’s community within his capabilities.
This sociable and friendly lawmaker is also God-fearing. In all her endeavours, she laboured well in fulfilling her destiny. The Erelu Fimigboye Egba of Egba land has it that God has not preordained anything for one except that He has given one all needs to make one’s life happy. She advices her people not to relent in mercies of God. It is for people to take this advantage and plan their destiny.
Senator Grace is also a house wife. She is married to her hearthrob, Major Bent (retired). She has written quite a number of books and novels. To mention a few, she wrote 'Interethnic Marriages in Nigeria,' 'The Novelist as a Conscience of His Nation' and 'Major Threats to Nigerian Security.'
For Senator Grace Bent, the sky is just the starting point.

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