|Birth||23 December 1953|
Nicholas Ugbane is a former Nigerian senator who became a member of the Nigerian Senate in 2003. In May 2009 he was held in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on account of alleged complicity in defrauding the Nigerian government of funds earmarked for rural electrification.
Nicholas Ugbane was born on 23 December 1953 in Egume, in Kogi State. He gained a master’s degree in Business Administration (Finance) from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. He was a Senator Elect (UNCP) 25 April 1998. He was appointed Commissioner for Education, Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Youths and Sports for Kogi State.
Nicholas Ugbane was elected to the National Senate for the Kogi East constituency in 2003 representing the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). In 2004, he opposed a proposal by the Central Bank of Nigeria to overhaul the categorization of banks into mega, medium and small categories. In May 2006, Senator Ugbane was among a minority of Senators who favored allowing President Olusegun Obasanjo to stand for a third term.
Following a plane crash in Abuja in October 2006 that killed over 95 people, Ugbane was among Senators that called for the resignation of Aviation minister, Prof. Babalola Borishade.
Nicholas Ugbane was reelected in 2007 running for the PDP. He was appointed to committees for Public Accounts, Niger Delta, Independent National Electoral Commission and Aviation. During a debate over nomination of Senator David Mark as Senate President, Nicholas Ugbane was considered as an alternative. In May 2007, the Senate resolved to probe the use of funds earmarked for the Independent National Electoral Commission. Senator Nicholas Ugbane, as Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, supported the probe but defended himself against allegations that he had not exercised sufficient oversight.
In 2008, Senator Ugbane was vocal in the campaign against corruption and fraud in the power sector during the period when President Olusegun Obasanjo was in power (1999–2007). In April 2008 Senator Ugbane was a panelist at a conference on developing and supporting critical energy infrastructure in Nigeria. In October 2008, Ugbane was a speaker on developing Nigeria’s power structure at the 9th Annual State of the Nigerian Nation Symposium held in Washington, DC, United States.
In December 2008, Senator Ugbane of Koge East, which is also the base of Koge State governor Ibrahim Idris, became involved in a dispute with Senator Smart Adeyemi of Koge West over nomination of ministers from the state. He stated that nomination of Humphrey Enemakwu Abah for a ministerial position would violate Section 14 of the Nigerian Constitution, which deals with Federal Character.
That month Senator Ugbane donated a library to SS Peter and Paul Academy, Egume in Kogi state.
In May 2009, Senator Ugbane gave himself up to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, chaired by Farida Mzamber Waziri. As Chairman of the Senate committee on Power he was alleged to have interests in companies that won major contracts in the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), and to have been a beneficiary of the N6 billion rural electrification contract scam. His bail request was refused. Senate Spokesman Senator Ayogu Eze said that the Senate expected justice to be done, but that they would not protect Ugbane if he were found guilty. Also arrested was Ndudi Elumelu, chairman of the House of Representatives power committee.
The EFCC was said to be searching for the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Iyiola Omisore, to give an explanation of the way in which the electrification projects became included in the 2009 budget.