By Stella Edoho
The UN Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, Article 25 emphasises on the unfettered Participation of the people as central to the enthronement of credible, responsive, populist, progressive and people-oriented leadership at all levels. As preparations for 2023 general elections unfold, constituents of various electoral constituencies are engaged in various Leadership recruitment initiatives to present vital corps of men and women of uncommon pedigrees to represent their collective urges and aspirations at various levels of government.
In my growing up days as an indigene of Eket (Eket;Onna;Esit Eket;Ibeno) Federal Constituency, our history was enriched with our sons and daughters who were uncommon in influence, strategic in mind power and intellectual contents. Their peers were awed by their strides and the society was redefined by the presence of these men who were endowed in character and colour with the aura of domination thus the sobriquet “EKID MFIANWE’.
In 2006,when a political neophyte in Hon Eseme Eyiboh emerged from the backwaters of Traditional Royalty to seek to represent this Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, to my mind it was a comic relief. In 2007,as a first timer, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh was elected the Chairman of the Committee on Media/Public Affairs and Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, three months after his inauguration, and this stride was a masterstroke which made me heaved a sigh of relief that, behold, there is emerging rebirth in Eket Federal Constituency. Again, in these strides, I saw awesome guts in the new Akwa Ibom man, I reasoned the Akpabio self worth project yielding fruits earlier than envisaged. I envisioned in the horizon the hills of opportunities and possibilities for a new found land. In the Hon. Eseme Eyiboh’s unequal domination of political space in legislative affairs, his expertise in agenda setting, reputation management, his elocution and public communication eloquence, was evidence that we have been rebranded. I was further stunned when other members of the House of Representatives convened a college (THE INITIATIVES) of cerebral members to function as a formal parliamentary lobby group and Hon Eseme Eyiboh was elected as its DEAN, He was also elected as the Speaker of the WAIFEM Regional Forum of Parliamentarians held in Ghana in 2009.This agenda setting impressario
I am not Hon Eseme Eyiboh’s fan but I love history, and he remains my nexus between our yesterday and tomorrow. He did not only become a key player in the operations and business of the House Of Representatives but a prominent game changer in the intriguing legislative turf and in all interface between Parliament and other votaries of power and leadership in Nigeria and beyond. Effectively, he complemented the achievements of H. E. Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, in taking Akwa Ibom to the mainstream of Nigeria’s socio-political arena, and making her count in image and value.
Back home, Eyiboh has always made known his belief that, for good governance to exist and thrive, in both theory and practice, citizens must be empowered economically, socially and politically to participate in meaningful ways in the decision-making processes with a view to improving their lives and achieving common goals. Thus he ensured this ideal took root in his time by reaching out and impacting on grass roots development of his Constituency.
With life touching and care-giving clarity, 31 youths drawn from the four Local Governments of Eket,Esit Eket,Onna Ibeno in Eket Federal Constituency, in pursuit of his Youths Skills Acquisition Support Initiative, via the Community Welfare and retooling Programme undertook a 12 month training on Welding/Fabrication and Instrumentation in the highbrow Maritime Academy Oron. A programme that runs into millions of Naira to accomplish.
Beyond the skill acquisition, Eyiboh also sponsored seven cadet trainees in Maritime Engineering and Nautical Science in Maritime Academy. The sponsorship was 100% (inclusive of accommodation, tuition, feeding, books, uniform, out of- pocket allowances and training/examination fees, all of which are without bond.
Hon. Eyiboh also facilitated the sinking of 12 boreholes with Stanchion, Geepee tanks, generator house and generators at various communities of his constituency, thereby providing for them, clean and portable water to drink. This was part of his private water supply initiative.
Eyiboh, it needs be highlighted also engaged volunteers from Canada, US, Botswana and South Africa through teachers without borders in a Training the Trainers Scheme on mind power development and character education, and 10 teachers and 4 others from tertiary institutions participated in the training at NYSC Permanent Camp, Keffi-Nassarawa State. This was funded completely by the law maker.
In furtherance of his human capacity building as the elementary catalyst for sustainable development, 21 youths were trained in Integrated Agricultural Programs(Piggery,Fisheries and Poultry Farming) at Shonghai Farms-Amokpe in Sapele.
Through the National Budget, Eyiboh attracted 9 Solar powered motorized borehole with reticulation at Ikot Obong Ishiet, Awa, ikot Udo, Oniong West, Ikot Ntan Ide-(Onna), Uquo, Akpautong(Esit Eket), and Ikot Obio Anana, Okon, Odio, Ikot Afaha and esit Urua, all in Eket Council area;a modern library at Ibeno
He intervened in Sports development by sponsoring the training of three coaches, Ernest Danison(Onna), Usen Ebuk(Eket and Effiong Ibok(Ibeno) to earn their professional badges at the Nigeria institute of Sports; Matthew Etim(Rangers FC);Godwin Mensa(Spain);Nsisong Udokop(Belgium) are plying their professional skill at Eyiboh’s instance.
His second term held so much promise of taking the people oriented programmes a notch higher until that judgement though not justice.Oh supreme court of nigeria,where lies their sting?
But, we have not lost hope and that is reason,Nigeria is evolving with uncertainties and dynamics, and Eket Federal Constituency in particular and Akwa Ibom State in general require the sagacity of this undaunted democrat and high net-worth networker. With Senator Godswill Akpabio in the senate and representative Eseme Eyiboh in the House of Representatives, AKWA IBOM ADO OK.