“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” – Romans 9 vs 16.
This is one moment in my life that I won’t forget in a hurry, that out of the over thirty thousand sons and daughters of this great local government, it pleased the Lord to choose me not because I am the best but because of His favour. I stand here today to return all the glory back to Him and say to Him alone be all the glory. My dear people of Nsit Atai, God’s Grace has been sufficient to us from the beginning. I sincerely do not have the right words to express my gratitude to you my constituents, you have been a wonderful people. I love you all.
When I ventured into politics, I prayed and wished that Nsit Atai will be better than I met it, I hoped and prayed for a time Nsit Atai will be a force to reckon with in the political affairs of this state, as a youth, you accepted me first as your Chairman and now as your representative at the House of Assembly, you trusted me and believed in me. Today I am back to say thank you and to brief you on the journey so far.
His Excellency Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and our dear mother Her Excellency Deaconess Martha Udom Emmanuel, my Governor, my father, the man who has shown dedication and selflessness in his leadership style, your exemplary approach to governance has brought sustainable developmental strides in the various sectors of the economy for the Akwa Ibom person. I am encouraged daily by your sincerity of purpose, and am determined to continue to contribute within my capacity any where I find myself to the development of my people. I have chosen to rise with you and every other Akwa Ibom child to greatness under your leadership. Thank you sir most especially for the love you have for Nsit Atai people and for always being there for us.
Let me sincerely appreciate all my political mentors most especially, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio, the Senate Minority Leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his dear wife, Mrs. Unoma Ekaette Akpabio, I am a product of your magnanimity and I will never forget this.
To my friend and brother, the Speaker of the 6th Assembly Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Onofiok Luke, and all my colleagues in the 6th Assembly, I will never take the love and the bond we share for granted. We are partners in the development of the state through positive legislative activities; posterity will remember us for not abusing the privileges we were given by the electorates.
I thank all the Elders of Nsit Atai especially the political leader, Otuekong Raphael Bassey for his counsel, support and prayers. I cannot forget the confidence Nsit Atai people as a whole have in me; I will never let Nsit Atai down.
I am immensely grateful, to our party the largest political party, the P.D.P, the state Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo, other members of the State Executive of the party, the chapter and the ward executives and our teaming supporters who so generously contributed their time, efforts and resources to our campaigns from the primaries to the general elections in 2015.
Let me pause here to appreciate my dear wife and my beloved children for giving me peace, support and encouragement that has enabled me to bear the burden of representing my people at the house of Assembly with ease. You are very special and I will choose you guys anytime any day, again and again.
I say a very big thank you to all the members of staff of Nsit Atai State constituency office, my aids and all the support staff, your contributions have been very instrumental in our success story.
Our faith tells us to believe in tomorrow; that together we can make tomorrow better than yesterday. It is this faith in our collective abilities that teaches us that there are more things that unite us than those that divide us, it is this faith that allows us to be able to trust in the infinite goodness of God, my brothers and sisters, it is this faith that will help us to change Nsit Atai for good and even better.
We are not perfect and may not have gotten everything right every time but our record stands out as a beacon. In my representation I have made it clear that power belongs to the people and I have ensured that the people are given their pride of place. I make sure that your ideas, your concerns and aspirations are reflected in my decisions even at the floor of the house.
Over the years, I have worked diligently to live up to the promises I made during my campaigns, to build a better future for Nsit Atai, to uplift the poor, to empower the underprivileged and create wealth in the smallest capacity I can, let me therefore take an appraisal of what we have done so far in my tenure as the member representing Nsit Atai in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in summary.
Within the interval, I have co-sponsored thirteen (13) private member bills namely
A bill for a law to establish the consumer protection agency, to provide for the protection of the interest of consumers, settlement of consumer disputes and for connected purposes.
A bill to make provision for local government administration law in Akwa Ibom State and matters connected therewith.
A bill for a law to implement a sustainable Youth Policy Framework through the establishment of Akwa Ibom youth Development Fund and other matters connected therewith
A bill for a law to amend the Akwa Ibom State College of Arts and Science Law
A bill for a law to regulate and control Cattle Grazing in Akwa Ibom State and other matters connected herewith.
A bill for a law for the protection of investors and investment in Akwa Ibom State and other matters connected therewith.
A bill for a law to protect the physically challenge person against all forms of discrimination and to provide for equal opportunity to all
A bill for a law to amend the newspaper law and for other matters connected therewith
A bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State constituencies Projects Development Fund and other matters connected therewith
A bill to provide for the prudent management of the state revenue to ensure long-term macroeconomic stability of the state economy and other matters connected therewith.
A bill for a law to make provision for the establishment of Akwa Ibom State social housing scheme and other establishment of an agency to manage the scheme and for other matters connected therewith.
A bill a law to establish the Akwa Ibom State safety commission and other related matter therewith
A bill for a law to provide for the establishment of an Agency which will promote and implement the Akwa Ibom State Insurance scheme and for other matters connected therewith.
I have also moved three (3) Motions at the floor of the house under matters of urgent public importance, these are:
A motion on the need to stop the abuse of traditional injunctions by some village heads.
A motion on the need to recognise Ibedu, Essien Itiaba, Ibia Ikot, and Ndisiak Clans of Nsit Atai local government area by the state government
A motion on the outbreak of herbivorous and crop disease in Akwa Ibom State.
These motions had been very timely and we are grateful for the awareness it brought and the fact that most of the things sought in the motions have been implemented already. I have always made my contributions on the floor of the house especially during debates and where there is urgency, I have had to come under matters of urgent public importance.
On oversight, I have served in three different house committees as chairman. First, as chairman committee on agriculture and natural resources, later as the chairman, house committee on Commerce and Industry and now chairman committee on boundary and conflict resolution. In these committees and by the grace God, I can boast that I have represented Nsit Atai well. In the agric and natural resources committee, we interfaced with farmers across the state to particularly seek ways for better policies on food security and development through various programmes including the central Bank Agric loans to farmers. In commerce and industry I led experts and the entire public to brainstorm through a public hearing on “a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State Microfinance and Enterprise Development”. This was a very successful meet and the said bill was passed into law by the sixth Assembly. I also had a parley with various stakeholders on ways we will draw foreign direct investments to the State and made my recommendations, today it is yielding the desired results. In the committees where I am either a deputy chairman or a member, I am playing my roles for the overall successes of these committees.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, I have through various projects and programmes impacted Nsit Atai State constituency positively and will continue to do more. As part of my constituency projects, I have facilitated the construction of Ibiakot unity hall and renovated class room blocks in Okoro Atai. I have also through my recommendation to Inter-ministerial Direct Labour Committee attracted renovation projects to various schools in the constituency. These schools include Q.I.C. School Ikot Ekpot, Primary School Ikot Abasi Nsit, Primary School Ikot Ubok Udom, Government Secondary School Ikot Akpan Ike, primary school Ibedu Idikpa and QIC Primary School Iwok. I have repaired and aided the construction of boreholes in the state constituency among which are the repairs of solar boreholes in the constituency and have through a recommendation to the state inter ministerial direct labour attracted a transformer to Ikot Abasi Nsit to restore electricity after over 20years of their stay in darkness. I have paid counterpart funding of over Four million naira (N4,000,000.00) to facilitate the World Bank Assisted Community Development Programmes (CSPD) in four communities of Nsit Atai far while plans have been concluded to do same in another four other communities of Nsit Atai.
I have provided start ups for over fifty (50) youths of the Area for their small and medium scale businesses and empowered 25 youths of this constituency with the sum of one hundred thousand naira (N100,000.00) each in my first phase of human empowerment. I have paid for the registration of some co-operative societies for my constituents to enable them access soft loans as a group for their small-scale businesses. I purchased a tricycle to a supporter and ten (10) motorcycles to the ten women leaders of my constituency and another ten motorcycles to ten supporters. Today I will be empowering all the 75 unit co-ordinators of my constituency.
EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES:
I have five students of different tertiary institutions on my scholarship list while the payments of school fees and grants and financial aids for research projects and law school students are done as need arises without recourse to any record keeping. I am currently running a leadership, mentorship and entrepreneurial programme for over 30 selected youths of this constituency and have bought jamb forms for over hundred students of Nsit Atai origin and fully paid for extra moral lessons and coaching classes for all of them.
SKILLS ACQUISITION TRAINING PROGRAMMES:
I have trained various youths in different trades and skills. Currently over 30 youths of the constituency have been trained in various trades as part of my human development and empowerment programme and will be empowered in this event to practice what they have learnt.
Human empowerment has been at the centre of my representation, that is why I have recommended for appointments over 30 constituents and have been able to follow up some in various organizations (Public and private including NGOs). I have entered into a medical retainership with First Love Foundation Clinic Aka Road and Nsikak Abasi Clinic off Akpan Etuk, Uyo, for medical treatment of any member of my constituency that is sick and cannot afford the medical bills as all the hospital bills are paid by me. So far over 20 persons have benefitted from this scheme. I have also appointed 10 Personal Assistants one (1) each from the ten wards of the constituency.
My dear people of Nsit Atai, I promise that this is just the beginning, we have been the pacesetters and will continue to do good because I came with a genuine passion to liberate Nsit Atai State constituency. We cannot certainly empower everybody in Nsit Atai at the same time but I promise that in the cause of my representation, I will continue to ensure that every community in the constituency is touched and that faithfulness is duly rewarded. I urge on us all to continue to support His Excellency our Governor, as this will spur him to do even more for Nsit Atai in particular and Akwa Ibom State in general. Most importantly, I ask for your prayers, pray for the success of government at every level, pray for our leaders and the future leaders of Nsit Atai to continue to do more for us. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you and I promise to faithfully hold this mandate in trust for you. God bless you.
BEING THE SPEECH OF THE MEMBER REPRESENTING NSIT ATAI STATE CONSTITUENCY RT. HON MARK ESSET DURING HIS CONSTITUENCY BRIEFING AND EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME AT ODOT NSIT ATIA LGA.