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Mark Esset: Moving Beyond Democratic Dividends  By Torobong EKPO

Mark Esset: Moving Beyond Democratic Dividends By Torobong EKPO

One of the most difficult tasks of a legislator is Representation. In developing countries, like Nigeria, the act of giving back to the electorates is so thorny and difficult. A lawmaker may be good in legislation and oversight functions, but scored poorly in his representative role. Today, it has somehow become a recurring decimal such that voters no longer crave for vibrant lawmakers. They want someone that will always come back home with tangible dividends of democracy, human-driven assets.

This may have been the yearnings and expectation of the people of Nsit Atai, It may have been the reason, why elders, youths and women from the three Clans that made up the local government area took it upon themselves to embark on MARKet survey, with a view of sourcing for a credible candidate that will salvage the area from political oblivion. That move yielded a positive fruit in the person of Rt. Hon. Mark Esset, an Elder of The Apostolic church, as well as a former Executive Chairman of Nsit Atai LGA.

Though some segment of the society, for awhile now, have said the voice of the Nsit Atai lawmaker has never been heard within and outside the Chambers, I disagree completely from that standpoint. For me, the lawmaker never saw any need of always going to press to praise himself. His interest has always been solely on his people. Quietly, he has been giving his constituents best representation to a point that the entire political structure in Nsit Atai had celebrated his one hundred days in office. It is only performance that could trigger the Political Leader, stakeholders, youths and women of a State constituency to show solidarity in respect of Rt. Hon. Mark Esset one year in office as a member of parliament.

From his scorecard, it is observed that he has scored higher on representation; oversight and legislative functions. Despite the present economic recession in the country, the lawmaker has empowered 75 youths to huge sum of money. His gesture was done in batches, with twenty-five benefiting from the first segment and fifty, the second phase.

It was shortly after the empowerment that he held a meeting to really get to know the needs of his people. While waiting for event to commence, he observed that some invitees didn’t have means of transportation. Touched by this, he instantly ordered for the purchase of 10 motorcycles to 10 women leaders across the 10 Ward as well as 13 Tricycles to his supporters. He went further to acquire 10 motorcycles to Nsit Atai indigenes and also donated a brand new motorcycle to the out gone PDP Chairman of Ward 9.

Aside from financially assisting 75 Units leaders, records show that the Nsit Atai lawmaker has sponsored about four indigenes of the area to tertiary institutions within the country.

Hon. Esset, who chairs the House Committee on Agriculture and Mineral Resources, was the brain behind the renovation of classroom blocks at Q.I.C School, Ikot Ekpot. He also facilitated the renovation of classroom block at Primary School, Ikot Abasi Nsit and that of Secondary School, Ikot Akpanike.

Recently, the Apostolic Church bestowed on the erudite lawmaker, the Ambassador of Light Award. The reason may not be far-fetched as he was the only lawmaker who singlehandedly donated Electricity Transformer to Ikot Abasi Nsit after two decades of darkness. He also repaired solar pump at Ibakang Nsit, which ran into millions of Naira, according to the electrical engineers. These gestures didn’t deter him from training 100 youths in different trades across the constituency, nor stopped him from repairing borehole at Ikot Udofia axis of the area. He has also appointed 10 Personal Assistants with salaries ranging from N600,000 to N1.5million per annum and also paid medical bills of about 10 of his constituents.

 Based on legislative antecedence, Hon. Esset has been instrumental to two motions, which he moved via matters of Urgent Public Importance. The motions are: “A motion on the deplorable State of the Methodist General Hospital, Ituk Mbang” and “A Motion on stopping the abuse of traditional injunctions by village heads,”  Legislative Finding revealed that he has co-sponsored seven Bills including the Hotel and Innkeepers bill. In the area of oversight functions, his Committee has also taken steps to ensure that healthy meats are put for consumption at the slaughtered.

Through his peaceful disposition, recently, the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources brokered peace amongst the aggrieved meat butcher groups. The Committee has periodically been meeting with Agriculture stake holders to foster way forward in agricultural revolution in the state.

These are some of the untold stories of Hon. Esset, so far in the sixth assembly. He is portrayed as one of the stabilizing forces of the sixth assembly, by keen observers. He is one of the few lawmakers, who believe that, the governor’s second term shouldn’t be disputed. Esset, from my perspective, is one public office holder, who believes in unity and growth of Akwa Ibom people. During the biting fuel crises, he was among the only marketer who reduced the price of PMS to accommodate the teeming public- gesture clerics portray as Good Samaritanic. I understand that, he has paid school fees to many members of his constituent, pay house rents to those unable to pay for one, as well as sponsor some in skill acquisition programmes, these are gestures, he may not tell people, even at gun point. He is such a reserved and jolly good fellow!


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