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#Udom: Keeping The Peace & Wiping Out Traces Of Terror

10 Mar

By Sam Itauma

The Cross Road
We have come to another crossroad in the annals of our democracy.
Why we are down in the trenches at some points is because we, more often than not, fail to take action and rational decision at the appropriate time.
In Akwa Ibom State, we have a unique and finest of a gentleman in the saddle of power whose desire to forge a common bond, create a congenial environment for the sustainability of our economy and above all, peace to reign remains unparalleled.

The question is: does he really deserve another four years term after exhausting the first term? Reasonably, Mr Udom Emmanuel is more than deserving of our support for the second term.
This is why.
Governor Udom Emmanuel has done much to clear battalions of cult groups inherited from the past administration.
These were wildcard cult boys that were recruited, groomed and released by politicians mostly those in authorities to kidnap, maim and assassinate perceived political enemies and anyone believed to create challenges to the political office holders in the top echelon.
It was such a surreal moment and people were literally living in the edge of doom and sleeping with one eye open as fear beclouded the atmosphere; anarchy strutted the whole landscape as even churches were invaded by these hired hooligans who captured their victims and either mowed them down summarily to death or abducted them and demanded for ransom. Some even paid the ransom but didn’t make it alive. Some who made it alive had their limbs chopped off or eyes savagely blew off.
This was the era where private businesses were ransacked and destroyed with no compensation. Out of fear, people made an exodus out of the situation, running out and sojourned In strange lands; in self-exile or became refugees from a country where there was no civil war.
It was a time where stationed Investors took to their heels while the would-be investors closed any chapters or hopes of coming in.
It was a time in his history were multinational companies could not keep their employees in the state. Some were often ferried via choppers from other states or long buses fully guarded by platoons and masked soldiers to and from work.

Again, it was a period where sound bites like “There’s so much hunger in the land.” “My mother is sick in the hospital and I cannot pay the bill” “Who’ll be the next victim of kidnapping or assassination?”, etc were commonplace. Yet, a lot of oil money was unprecedentedly flowing in and gushing in.
Today, we’re blessed to have a man whose quest to reverse these negative indicators is sacrosanct and remains what he holds dear in his heart.
Industrialization Drive.
In any given society, employment is critical to sustainability, health, and development. One significant aspect of Udom’s administration goals is the creation of jobs through industrialization drive. So far, just three and a half years, we can boast of 14 viable industries established in the state and still counting. This is no mean feat as compared to the previous administration which promised to build 31 industries but ended up with zero in eight years.
Why You Should Go Out And Vote
For those of you who think election does not hold water you, think about the flurry of kidnapping, cultism that will resurface if you don’t act now. Don’t you think investors will run away again? And if investors run away again then hardship and hunger will resurface.
For those of you who developed voting apathy, if you allow mindless politicians to come in, individuals with cavalier mindsets, they’ll plunge us into the precipice.
Think about the stinking, dilapidated educational and healthcare structures that Governor Udom inherited from the previous administration and he’s revamping them. We cannot afford to make such a costly mistake
We cannot become radioactive in poverty, unemployment and educationally backwards. We cannot reject peace and unity that we vouch for and echo every day on the platter of falsehood peddled by hackneyed political officer seekers whose intent is to cremate our state, our unity our peace and our economy for their egotistical, narcissistic and corrupt interests.

Stealing And Destruction of Private Businesses

By the way, why should any reasonable persons think of queueing behind people who deliberately destroyed private businesses of their citizens if they could not steal it or take over from their owners by crooked means?
We cannot forget in a haste the destruction of farmland owned by a man in Uyo (Monday Akpautong?) by those in authority.
The killing of the Ekpenyong brothers who refused to hand over their sand quarry to the greedy fiends in authority then. This subsequently led to the arrest and detention of innocent people like Dr. Chris Ekong, Fabian Ekpenyong (victims’ brother) who were almost killed in detention while the identified culprits were let off the hook.
We cannot forget the crushing of the AMAKPE Refineries by those who could not establish a single industry while in the government office. The refinery was slated to employ more than 6,000 people in the first takeoff. The saddest part is that, after they truncated the refinery takeoff in 2010, they hired deranged cyber thugs to carry out incessant and strings of campaigns of calumny aimed at tarnishing the image of the AMAKPE Refineries promoters. This was their hallmark, no doubt.

Vacuous Promises and Outlandish Lies

Today we have people who cruise through the network of lies, mountains of mendacity and web of falsehood. I mean people who ride with trucks fully loaded with the baggage of empty promises coming again to take over governance in order to take us a million miles backwards? Indices of their previous stewardship in different strata of government show their incredibly abysmal performance and regrettable leadership. Perhaps, it was God’s plan for Judas to jump off the Divine Ship to absolutely give peace a chance. Sorry, I meant to say, Jonah.

The military and police chiefs, at different fora, told us that since Mr. Udom Emmanuel came to power, Akwa Ibom State has taken back her position as the most peaceful state in Nigeria

On Saturday, I appeal to you, as an apolitical individual, devoid of party affiliation, to queue behind Mr. Udom Emmanuel and thump print for him and his associates so that we can all keep the peace, wipeout and completely obliterate the traces kidnapping and the reign of terror in AkwaAbasi Ibom State.

Itauma is from Eket and based in the US

MARGARET ITAUMA: PERSEVERANCE PAYS BACK

27 Aug

By Dr. Inyang Oduok

Margaret Itauma - AKISAN President

Margaret Itauma  – AKISAN President

 

Those of us familiar with her fighting spirit knew she wasn’t going to give up. She is not a quitter. Defeat may test us, but it needs not stop us. If at first we don’t succeed, we should try again. For every obstacle there is a solution. Nothing in the world can replace perseverance. There is no failure except in no longer trying. The greatest mistake is giving up. Margret Itauma’s victory is a living testimony.

Being around her you know she is for real. She is not a feminist you would say, but her take on the plight of Ibom women’s civil and political liberties is a serious business.   

Her support for the various organizations, visit to the sick members of Ibom families, funerals, driving miles for graduation ceremonies, weddings, writing checks and assisting in raising funds for various organizations in various states is fervent. She has never missed one medical mission to Ibom State since its founding. Where you are committed to a cause, you go where the need is.  

Yes, you did not vote for Margret Itauma’s Presidency. Fine. But join her in doing the right thing for the good of our people rather than staying back to find false and criticize.

I have learned, as the years have passed that there is nothing to be gained from regret. It changes nothing, leaves us melancholy and in perpetual pain.

Throughout her private and public life, she has recharged herself as much as others try to sideline her or take her down or create barriers on her way.

A night before the balloting,  the author could not figure out why Margret Itauma after grabbing the Presidency would not leap with joy as one could have expected,  but told the author in his dream that it was not just about wining AKISAN presidency, it was about the clean -up  job that was to follow.

She rode the clean-up truck, equipped with paints, brushes, dry leave wreck and her heart all by herself from Arizona to Texas.  Margret Itauma to AKISAN is a gift from God. Her Presidency is rooted in spirituality.

Margret Itauma, ladies and gentlemen, a critical healthcare provider, EDC President Emeritus  was not born to a sovereign who reigns over a vast kingdom or a political dynasty or a privileged background as the daughter of a renowned minister but to a father and mother with a simple and humble beginning.

Her election victory is a testament of her role in the lives of our people.

FOR OUR STATE, FOR OUR PEOPLE. FOR US ALL IN AKISAN USA. INDEED FOR OUR NATION, Congratulations to Margret Itauma. May the Good Lord pilot you on.

 

Dr. Inyang Oduok.

Atlanta Georgia.   

#Udom replies #Akpabio: You didn’t build a single company in 8 years but I have built 9 in three years.

21 Aug

 

    

Udom replies Akpabio: You didn’t build a single company in 8 years but I have built 9 in three years

Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel says his achievements in office shows that he is not a mistake.

He said this while responding to Godswill Akpabio, his predecessor, who described him as a mistake that must be rejected in 2019.

Akpabio who recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), said this at a rally in Ikot Ekpene.

AFTER CRIPPLING STATE OWN FOUR POINTS SHERATON, SENATE MINORITY LEADER AKPABIO MOVES TO CALABAR TO BUILD MULTI-BILLION NAIRA HOTEL

Responding through Charles Udoh, his commissioner of information, the governor said Akpabio has mortgaged his conscience and is now attempting to deceive Akwa Ibom people.

“A governor that records the achievements despite the challenges of an epileptic national economy cannot be a mistake,” Udoh told TheCable.

“I doubt if there is any first term governor in Nigeria who has recorded this level of achievement.

Godswill Akpabio spent eight years as commissioner under Obong Attah; spent eight years as governor at the height of the state’s income receipts from the federal government yet he couldn’t complete Uyo-Ikot Ekpene road (the road to his village) despite appropriating almost all the sums budgeted for the project.

Four Points By Sheraton Ikot Ekpene: Akpabio Commissioned a Building Not a Hotel, We Need Over N2.5 Billion to make it a Hotel – Governor Udom Emmanuel

“Godswill also commissioned an uncompleted building with rented furniture and fitting and called it 4 Points Sheraton Hotel.

FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON HOTEL: AN INDICTMENT OF GOVERNOR UDOM

Udom has, as at today, facilitated the setting up of more than nine industries in just three years; Godswill spent eight years with zero industry

“It’s unfortunate that Akpabio has mortgaged his conscience and is now attempting to deceive Akwa Ibom people. Akwa Ibom people are wiser.”

TheMail

Ugandan President, Blasts Buhari Saying He Is The Most Useless President That Ever Happens To That Great Country Nigeria And Africa.

30 Jul

 
The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has blasted president Buhari as the most useless President that ever happens to that great country Nigeria.
 
According to YOWERI, a leader should not expose his citizens, Nigeria is a great and outstanding country in Africa because of the youth of that country.
 
Our people have an Africanized social life all over Africa is because Nigerian youth put their full hardworking efforts, look at the movie industry and most outstanding the music industry.
 
 
Buhari can never outgrow the slave and masters mentality, He keeps talking bad about his people any time he makes a trip, he said.
 
Britain is there to exploit and steal just what they are known for. He seizes to understand that Britain created that country and gave it all the flaws that will never make it grow beyond a limit.
 
According to YOWERI, Nigerians will vote him out it is obvious there is nothing Britain can do about it. If he Tries to annul or rig the election he will face a wide loss of legitimacy. Nigerians are patiently waiting to send him back to retirement, YOWERI MUSEVENI said.
 
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is a Ugandan politician who helped overthrow dictator Idi Amin and went on to become president of his country.

BABA-AHMED RESIGNS FROM #APC

9 Jul

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BABA-AHMED RESIGNS FROM #APC
 
A key stakeholder and #APCformerChairman in Kaduna, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed Bello has resigned his membership of the All Progressives Congress. Below is his media statement.
 
MEDIA STATEMENT OF DR HAKEEM BABA-AHMED RESIGNATION FROM THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC).
 
This Statement is to inform the public of my resignation from the All Progressive’s Congress (APC). I have sent a formal letter to this effect to Chairman of my Ward.
This has been a very difficult decision, to leave a party I helped form and made my humble contributions to put in power. After three years, however, I need to say that the APC has grossly underperformed, and has forfeited any claim to my loyalty and continued membership. I do not believe, in all conscience, that it should be trusted and encouraged to continue to govern our great country beyond 2019.
I am not leaving to join another party. This is my decision, and mine alone. It has nothing to do with the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Sarki. It is a decision taken after due consultations with the Akida Group, a group that has predated my appointment as Chief of Staff to the President of the Senate.
I will remain active in politics, as this is the main avenue for salvaging our nation from rising insecurity, poverty, and bitter divisions.
I am grateful for the opportunities I had to chair CPC and APC in Kaduna State, and I wish all our leaders God’s guidance.
Thank you
 
Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, OON

SEE FROM WHERE WE GOT TO HERE. JONATHAN MUST BE CELEBRATING NOW. READ….. YES, YOU. YOU MUST READ BY FORCE.

6 Jul
APC Things fall Apart
“(As received – check the facts yourselves)
 
*In case you guys have forgotten…*
 
*Around this time in 2014!!!*
 
• Fr. Ejike Mbaka (Olorun nikan lo mo nkan to nbaa ka) of Catholic Diocese of Enugu has started seeing a vision of how Buhari is the Messiah we have been waiting for and the best President Nigeria will ever have, while Goodluck Jonathan was a bad luck for Nigeria. But today Catholic Priests and faithful are massacred and slaughtered in large numbers under Buhari. Mbaka is yet to see another vision.
 
• Tinubu said Buhari was the best Person to lead Nigeria but today for the first time in decades Tinubu’s party in Lagos has parallel Primaries thanks to Buhari’s leadership.
 
• Around this time in 2015, TY Danjuma told us Buhari was a good leader… Today Danjuma’s people are under siege and he says the army under Buhari is giving cover to those who are slaughtering Danjuma’s people in the Middle Belt.
 
• Around this time in 2014, Pastor Tunde Bakare told us we can expect a better Nigeria under Buhari. Today Pastor Bakare is advising Nigerians to look for a better leader who will restructure and save Nigeria from Buhari’s cabal.
 
• Around this time in 2014, Prof Tam David-West promised Nigerians that Buhari will make petrol #45 per liter, today Petrol is #145 per liter and Buhari has spent #1.4trillion on fuel subsidy which he claimed was a fraud. Prof. Tan David West has gone deaf and dumb.
 
• Around this time in 2014, Sai Buharists swore that Buhari will declare his assets publicly and produce his WAEC certificate… Till date, he has neither shown us his WAEC certificate or declared his real assets.
 
• About this time in 2014 Fashola said a serious Govt will fix power problem in Nigeria within 6 months. Three years after they have taken power, they have not added one megawatt to the grid. Fashola is now minister of darkness under Buhari.
 
• About this time in 2014, Buhari said naira will be #1 to $1 yet he has messed it up from #187 in 2015 to $1 to #365 to $1 in 2018.
 
• About this time in 2014, my Uncle Ofia was busy campaigning for Buhari. He told me that Buhari will make Nigeria’s economy better than that of Dubai. Today, my Uncle’s company has folded because of Buhari’s bad economic policies and administrative cluelessness.
 
• About this time in 2014, Buhari promised that insecurity especially Boko Haram insurgency will end in 3 months. But in 3 years he has added the Fulani herdsmen terrorism and militia which is by far more dreaded and deadly than Boko Haram and human lives in Nigeria have become meaningless and valueless under Buhari’s watch.
 
• In 2014/2015 OBJ was campaigning for Buhari because for him then it was anything but Jonathan. Today Obasanjo has seen what a grave judgment he passed and what afflictions he wrecked on the nation.
 
Get your PVC or a gun now!!!
 
 
-Prince Olusegun Oni

APC : THE PARABLE OF DEFECTION AND SURVIVAL

5 Jul

APC THE PARABLE OF DEFECTION AND SURVIVAL

Prophecy fulfiled : Attention Otuekong Franklyn Isong

By Osondu Ahirika

The Ibibios have an adage that says, ewa ase kene owo akpon idip, koro mi toro’ke toro, aya kok. Translated, it means, a dog following a man with bulging stomach is full of expectation, for he will either stool or vomit for the dog to lap up. That describes the paradox of defection from one party to another in Nigeria.

A few years back, the PDP enjoyed the boom of defections when the going was good. In the current trend, she suffers a reversal of that fate.
I read a piece, titled, ‘Before PDP Dies in Akwa Ibom’, written by my brother and friend, Franklyn Isong and I had a good laugh. I laughed, because, the adage above instructs me more on what is really going on.
I credit the spur to write this piece to Franklyn Isong. In no distant time, I want his thesis to be pitted against my antithesis, and let tomorrow judge who is right.

Before proceeding, let me share, as I am always wont to do, a short but true story.
In a certain hamlet where families lived in clusters with almost everyone knowing each other, there lived a couple who were of great service to all.

The couple ran a private clinic which was the only medical facility in the area, to which, every ailing resident went for treatment and cure.
The husband of the doctor, let’s call her Johny, was a classic irony to behold. She was skinny, sickly, without appetite and so gaunt looking.
Worst still, she was so lean that, her scrawny, skeletal frame gave her away, in the judgment of all, as a woman who will die, perhaps, the next second, a minute later or the coming hour.

On the flipside, her hubby was a juxtaposing contrast to her famished frame. He was full of life, vigorous in speech, burly and well endowed, even as his shapely figure resonated such machoist energy that disguised his age.
He was a dutiful and loving husband, and served with his wife as the auxiliary caregiver in the clinic.

Whenever his wife was off to the General Hospital in town, or out for any reason, he was responsible to hang a notice on the main entry door to the clinic, which read: DOCTOR, GONE OUT, BACK SOON. Any patient who approached the clinic and saw the sign understood the meaning, without further inquiry. They usually go back to return later when the notice is off.

That is however, not the issue. Soon, the Doctor who was saving lives got very sick. Her husband worked round the clock to support and assist her. He was her hands, legs and all. She was so weak, the whole city mourned and were only counting days she lived on as a bonus of grace. But, as sometimes happens, the husband who was full of vibes and blossom slumped and died.

On that eventful day, the clinic was not open and the ubiquitous signpost on the door wasn’t there either.
Some curious clients made it to the residence and met a dejected and broken Dr Jenny staring into space.
Without waiting to be asked what was amiss, she said to the stunned visitors with all the power she could exert, ”He is Gone, He wont be back Soon!”

Folks’, that story is my approximation of the fate of PDP and the rival APC.
The APC in this case is the husband and the PDP, Dr Johny. Like our elders once said, you may be expecting the dry leaf to fall only for the green leaf to do so.
I am of the conviction that, going forward, the All Progressives Congress may wither and wilt, while the seemingly dying Peoples Democratic Party, like the proverbial phoenix, may reinvent herself.

I am not persuaded by the one-way traffic of defections to the APC, to believe, or conclude, the party is healthy and thriving. Like speed, obesity kills. And believe me if you will, the APC is more than obese.

Let me attempt a forecast of tomorrow for I see the writing on the wall. Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the APC is still nursing deep seated wounds that have been remorselessly inflicted on him, by disparate and contending forces that were annexed into the APC at formation. He will reassert himself come 2019. Already, he has hinted that, he will run for the Presidency if the conditions are right.

As I can see, President Muhammadu Buhari who was the binding figure that stitched the party together is out of the picture. In a few months, the mother of all battles for the soul of the APC will blow open. When this happens, we will see who stays and what happens with the APC.
Don’t forget, nobody can rein in the ambition of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to become President of Nigeria. Others like former Kano governor Musa Kwakwanso, current Kaduna governor, Nasiru El’Rufai, Sokoto governor, Aminu Tambuwal, Senate President Bukola Saraki and the far Northern flank of the APC will spoil for a showdown if the Afenifere South West bloc of the party dare to put forward a candidate come 2019.
Even the South Eastern caucus of the APC have begun to find their voice to be given a chance in the party. The battle for the parties ticket will be messy and implosive. You can bank on that, believe me. The casualties will lead a major revolt of realignment of forces and APC will disperse from the centre.
Once this happens, new parties will break out of its womb.

Is that good news for the PDP? I don’t think so. The PDP on the other hand must reinvent her narrative and show a new identity. There will be an exodus from the APC and PDP as presently constituted, which will morph into a third force. Then, the three parties will go head-to-head. That is what I see tomorrow. Where that leads, I can’t tell.

Howbeit, the defections from party A to party B is healthy for our democracy.
I had a long discourse with former Commissioner Pastor Ita Udo on the issue and I could not agree more with his thesis.
Those who defect are doing so to seek greener pastures. In the process, some of them have bagged Federal appointments from the APC led federal Government, which was not the case before. If they didn’t defect, Akwa Ibom for instance wouldn’t have all those plum jobs come the way of their illustrious sons.
Ultimately, it is good for all birds to fly as the sky is wide enough for each to find its altitude.The one that says the other shouldn’t fly should have its wings broken an igbo adage says.

Folks, live and let live. That’s what I say to both APC and PDP. Let the defections continue, what goes up, must surely come down.
In his book Arrow of God, Professor Chinua Achebe(peace on his ashes) told us of the scheme of Ezeulu, the embattled Priest of Ulu to his son, Oduche, when faced with the threat of the whiteman’s religion. Hear Ezeulu,
“‘The world is changing,’ he had told him. ‘I do not like it. But I am like the bird eneke-nti-oba. When his friends asked him why he was always on the wing he replied: “Men of today have learnt to shoot without missing and so I have learnt to fly without perching.” I want one of my sons to join these people and be my eye there.

If there is nothing in it you will come back . But if there is something there you will bring home my share.
The world is like a Mask dancing. If you want to see it well you do not stand in one place. My spirit tells me that those who do not befriend the white man today will be saying had we known tomorrow.”
Folks, that is the philosophy of defection. Those going to APC today, do so because the APC is like the whiteman who must be befriended to avoid regret tomorrow. Just that, if in the end, nothing comes out of it as ‘My share’, they will find their way back to wherever their belly directs.
(this piece was first published in July 15, 2016)

UDOM EMMANUEL IS THE PRIDE OF A’IBOM STATE, THE PDP AND NIGERIA–PAUL EKPO …as Political Affairs Bureau flags-off Sign-On for Udom crusade

5 Jul

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By Edifon Abasi-Obot

Governor Udom Emmanuel has been described as the pride of Akwa Ibom State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) both in the state and national levels and of Nigeria as a whole.

The Chairman of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State and Chairman, Forum of PDP Chairmen in Nigeria, Obong Paul Ekpo made the pronouncement at the official flag-off ceremony of the Sign on for Udom programme, initiated by the Bureau of Political/ Legislative Affairs and Water Resources.

The PDP Chairman, on behalf of his party, commended the leadership of the Bureau for the initiative and for being steadfast and dedicated to the government of the Governor Udom Emmanuel.

Obong Ekpo said his party and the Bureau enjoy a healthy partnership. He maintained that the duo is on the same course, hence that the party strongly identifies with the Bureau in the Sign On programme, which he described as a laudable course.

Obong Paul Ekpo expressed appreciation for the various party men and women who form themselves into various group to support the effort of the Governor and the Party. He however urged them to be equipped with their Permanent Voters’ Cards and be ready to convert their support to victory for the party in due course.

He charged the supporters of Governor Udom Emmanuel and the PDP to take the Sign On back to their various villages, units and wards and to make sure that the Sign on for Udom reverberates at those points.

The host, Special Adviser at the Bureau, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson described the event as symbolic of the love, respect and principally the support that Governor Udom Emmanuel enjoys in Akwa Ibom State.
Ekong Sampson reiterated that there is a huge current that Governor Udom Emmanuel is doing very well and needs to return for a second term to implement expansive road map that he has our people.

He said the Sign On marks a major intersection in the determination of the people of the State to consolidate the good governance, visionary leadership and innovation brought to bear by Governor Emmanuel.

Sampson said Sign On was one in a mosaic of activities designed to promote good governance, support excellence, deepen bonds and show the whole world that Governor Udom Emmanuel gas earned the love and respect of Akwa Ibom people and indeed Nigerians, sufficient to earn him a second term in office.

He added that the galaxy of eminent Nigerians in Akwa Ibom State stepping forward to Sign On for Governor Emmanuel is indicative of the fact that the people have found in Governor Udom Emmanuel a leader who is committed to true values and have lined up behind him.

Highpoint of the event was the unveiling of the statue of support, a signature board for the actual sign on exercise.
The ceremony which was performed by the Obong Paul Ekpo in company of the Senators Anietie Okon, Effiong Bob, Emmanuel Ibok Essien, the Special Adviser at the Bureau, Barrister Ekong Sampson, State Secretary of the PDP, leaders of frontline socio-political groups and stakeholders in the Akwa Ibom polity that were present at the event, was followed immediately by appending of signature, indicating firm support for Governor Udom Emmanuel.

Hon. Onofiok Luke: My Lawmaker of the Year By David Augustine

25 May

Image result for onofiok luke sam itaumaThis is perhaps the second time in all my journalism years that I am lending myself to pick a person that I think in my judgment has done well in his place of service for the year. The first time was in 2010, when I chose, as my man of the year, Mr. Sam Itauma, a selfless individual, who against all odds made his house home to countless rejected kids, sentenced to life on the streets by an uncaring society. It was that pearl of humanity Itauma that had to risk his life to save children labeled “witches”, by society and left to die in the hands of hunger and vagaries of the elements. He experienced the worst kind of ingratitude by society to his kindheartedness, when he had to run for his life from the hands of people that had the responsibility, in the first place, to save such vulnerable kids. He is still in exile today in far away the United States, not because he stole, but because he “caused us embarrassment” by exposing our nakedness. Today is not for Sam Itauma. His place is already well assured.

 

Our subject today is a man who took notice of his destiny early in life. He was equally disadvantaged early in life when he lost his father at a tender age. This disadvantage would have meant many things to many kids of his age, but he had a mission in life to fulfill. He took up courage and gave life the push that cleared a path to who he is evolving into today. Where other children would have recoiled into their shell, he challenged his circumstances with an uncanny spirit of self-resilience.

His mother taught him respect and he is still holding onto it till date, but he taught himself the virtues of courage in the face of danger; he imbibed the ethos of standing up when it mattered most and the heart to question the ubiquitous man-made obstacles that daily harass the youths of his time. While in the University, a law student, he combined the refining effect of legal education with his inherent raw courage to question most of the dehumanizing, but institutionalized policies that see students as less than human. He had the additional garb of linguistic eloquence that stirred the fire of aluta in the students. He became their rallying point; the one who spoke when others were retreating; the guy who knew the students and their concerns on campus. His election as the SUG president was the turning point of this man’s political career. He confronted the system in a way that was alien to both the students and the authorities. He had the power of elocution and could draw diagrams of students’ plights with words.

The face-off was long, but he endured. He risked his future and the anguish of a mother who was praying for the day he would be out of school. He paid with his education, but he was a man born to fight. He fought and eventually conquered. That serves as the background to the life of the member representing Nsit Ubium in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon Barr Onofiok Akpan Luke. Hon Luke cut his legislative teeth at the national turf. He was elected the first Speaker of Nigerian Youth Parliament in 2008, a position he held till 2010. His stint as the National Youth Parliament was characterized by a dynamism that ensured a prominence for the parliament that one is not sure, has been sustained by successive speakers. His election into the state house of assembly in 2011 was, therefore, a fulfillment of his lifelong dream of advocating for the people using the platform of politics. In a polity where leadership recruitment process is skewed to favour the never-do-wells and people of inferior intellect, but blessed with brute force or resonating voices of sycophancy, the likes of Luke making it, was but the hands of God and the inevitability of the star to shine, no matter the condition. The result is that he has left no one in doubt as to his abilities and capabilities as a politician and especially, as a lawmaker.

The inimitable Mr. Umana Okon Umana, in his birthday message to the young lawmaker to mark his 35th birthday in 2013, described him as a rising star. Yes indeed, he has lived up to that epithet. With the quality and indeed the quantity of his contributions in lawmaking, he has shone like a million stars. Last year when the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly had a joint session with their counterpart in Delta state, Luke emerged the center of attention with the sheer brilliance and eloquence of his presentations. He clearly became the toast of the joint assembly and the pride of his Akwa Ibom colleagues. He had from inception of his membership of the house delineated his function as a member into three broad areas; law-making, Oversight and Representation. For the two years in the house, he has to his credit five bills, two of which have been passed into law, while three are at various stages of legislative attention. Among those already laws are those for the establishment of an agency for HIV/AIDS control, as well as the law that amended the state’s magistrate courts laws of 2000. Those still pending in the house include the bill for a law to protect the physically challenged from discrimination, and the bill to provide for safety of employees in construction companies and industries in the state. These are purely human interest bills aimed at protecting the most vulnerable segments of our society. In oversight, he has been as active as possible in vital committees of the house, working within the limits of systemic speed bumps, to ensure that government acts in ways and manner that would guarantee good governance. As chairman of the crucial Finance and Appropriations, he has been saddled with the responsibility of allocating funds to power government activities. Again, within the limits of systemic arrangements, he had done a yeoman’s job of that committee. As a creative young man, he introduced for the first time in the state’s legislative history, public hearings on state budgets.

The intention was to give the people an ample opportunity to contribute to the governance and finance administration process of the state government. He reported recently that the outcome of the stakeholders’ public hearing and “collective position on the budget was what informed the House of Assembly’s ultimate approval of about 470 billion naira for the 2013 fiscal year.” With the presentation of the 2014 budget to the house, the Onofiok Luke Finance and Appropriations Committee, again engaged stakeholders, finance ministry officials as well as their counterparts in the ministry of economic development and principal officers of the house, on a one day budget meeting, where their views, criticism, recommendations, were collated to form part of the working tools of the committee.

The public was also briefed by ministry officials on various aspects of the budget. This was an innovative way of making the budget, what one of the stakeholders and chairman of the state Civil Liberties Organization, Barr Clifford Thomas called, “the people’s budget”. The young lawmaker and lover of Nigerian youths; is also actively involved in other areas of the house activities, either as a member or vice chairman. Some these committees are, Information, education, public accounts, parliamentary advisory matters, Judiciary, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Public petitions, health, Economic development, youths and sports, security, special projects, monitoring and implementation. In the area of representation, Hon Onofiok Luke has equally proved his mettle. He has been able to attract a number of projects to his constituency, but the queen of his contributions to his people is the introduction of a legislative internship programme for the youths.

Through his The Onofiok Luke Legislative Internship Programme (TOLLIP), 15 Akwa Ibom youths, five from Nsit Ubium and ten from other parts of the state are given the opportunity to learn the rudiments of legislative engagements. It is aimed at giving the youths a close insight into the workings of the legislature, which is the fulcrum of any democracy. He aims to fire the youths up in democratic governance. According to Luke the programme “provides interns the platform to hands-on learning of basic legislative engagements from a close range”. Apart from this, the interns are also exposed to “trainings in community development and volunteerism, entrepreneurship, talent discovery, peacebuilding and conflict resolution”. These are core values that would develop our youths for a greater tomorrow.

Hon Onofiok Luke is a man who understands the language of poverty; the rhythm of want and the agonizing music of going to bed at night in an empty stomach. He is a Christian, whose religious piety tallies with the saintly Mother Theresa (not the imposturous Mother Theresas of this world), who admonished that some people can only see the image of God in the bread you have to offer them. As a leader, he walks the streets and hamlets of his constituency in pain, feeling, as it were, the nudging hunger etched in the sad faces of the deprived. In 2012, he decided to make a difference. He understood that it was practically impossible for him to take care of the entire community, but again, like Mother Theresa, he decided to just “do” for a few. He gave seed money, ranging from N50, 000 to N100, 000 to 40 Nsit Ubium people made up of market women, widows, youths, the handicapped. He also presented 11 cars and two buses to supporters and groups. In 2013, he upped the ante, this time giving out N100, 000 to 170 constituents, made up of 10 widows, 15 other women, 34 men and 91 youths as well as two buses, one each to Traditional Rulers’ Council and students and ten new cars to other supporters. His investments in the lives of these men and women did not come because he had too much on his own, but because of his abiding love for his people. To youths of Akwa Ibom state, Hon Luke is gradually creating an image of the Pathfinder, one they could look up to when the chips, as they say, are down. He is a model for youths of Nigeria that have become pawns in the hands of politicians. He says his mind at very critical situations. His recent brush with some elements in the state is a testimony of the awe and selfish jealousy harboured against him by some political hacks. These political predators would stop at nothing to ensure that he is brought down. But he has continued to enjoy the overwhelming support and rabid loyalty of the broadest spectrum of youths in the state.

Perhaps Luke’s boldest political moves for the year 2013 was his audacious effort at reconciling the gladiating duo of Senator Effiong Bob and Mr. Umana Okon Umana, both senior political figures from his constituency. To some, it may appear a token display of political gaming, but to many, it was a first step to the desired reconciliation between the two. Luke’s internal strength is often masked by a frail physic. He has the humility that besots him easily to the old and young alike. I remember a visiting friend once asking me if Luke was playing politics or whether he was that humble. The question was elicited by the member’s insistence in always going to meet the visitor in his hotel room, no matter how humble the hotel might appear. Another senior civil servant based in PortHarcourt was humbled when the young man had to rush across a crowded room, barefooted to meet and greet him.

To many, these may mean nothing, but in a clime where when you are with the most infinitesimal speck of political power, you become a lord, such humble manners raise questions. But that is the man Luke. He is at home with the rich, the poor and the down-trodden, My man of the year has passed through the rough and tumble of politics; had the best of times; enjoyed the love and adoration of those who are close to him and those who merely know him by reputation. He has displayed statesmanship; a messenger of peace; a political meteor shinning and giving direction to Nigerian youths on the way to follow; a friend even in crisis; a pillar to the helpless and a fearless defender of what is good, righteous and beneficial. He has carved a niche for himself with his high profile legislative presence; his unequaled understanding of the Nigerian political landscape.

Assam Assam Vows To Frustrate Akpabio’s Succession Plan.

18 Jul

Nigerian Ambassador to Russia and the Belarus, Chief Assam Ekanem Assam (SAN) has expressed his intention to resign to enable him contest the Akwa Ibom State governorship election in 2015.

Ambassador Assam E Assam.

Assam, who stated this at the weekend while addressing hundreds of his supporters from the 31 local government areas of the state at his country home in Idua, Eket LGA, disclosed that he would tender his resignation letter to President Goodluck Jonathan by next month (August).
Assam vowed to stop Gov. Godswill Akpabio from imposing a candidate on the people of Akwa Ibom state during the forthcoming governorship election.
He denied the rumour making the round that President Jonathan had asked him to withdraw from the governorship contest, maintaining he would go ahead and contest and win the race for the Akwa Ibom State Government House.
According to him, his entry into the governorship race would disrupt the succession plan of Governor Godswill Akpabio whom he said was hell-bent on imposing his successor on the people of the state.
“I have the energy, capacity and political will to stop Akpabio from imposing his successor because I have always said; Akwa Ibom people are too republican for an outgoing governor to impose a governor on them”, he boasted.
He asserted that the only person he was contesting the governorship office with was Governor Akpabio, adding that the day Akpabio withdraws from the race he would have no opposition to his way to the Hilltop Mansion.
“I want to tell you all that the only person I will contest the governorship with is Akpabio and the day he withdraws from the race I will have no opposition. Akpabio is the only obstacle to a free and transparent party nomination and election but I am glad because the People’s Democratic Party has started the process of a free and fair nomination and election”, Assam said.
Assam promised to revitalize and reposition education to international standards, localize the economy, industrialize the state, create jobs for the teeming unemployed people, fight corruption and stop capital flight if voted in as governor.

Culled from Weekly Insight News

 

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