…reassures continuous synergy among the three arms of government
By: Edifon Abasi-Obot
Amid challenges of the dynamics of economy that sometimes confront full implementation of budgets, the passionate commitment of Governor Udom Emmanuel for Akwa Ibom State has been identified as a factor that will enhance the implementation of the 2018 budget in the State.
The Special Adviser, Bureau Political/Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson made the projection while fielding question with the media after, presenting the 2018 budget estimate of his bureau to the House Committee on Appropriation and Finance at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Expressing confidence in the economic proficiency that would be wielded by the Governor in implementing the State 2018 budget in 2018, Ekong Sampson stated thus: “a lot of variables and undercurrents are involved in the budget mechanism, principally in the vagaries of the economy, but we have a governor who is passionate about Akwa Ibom State. I can say this anywhere that Governor Udom Emmanuel is passionate about Akwa Ibom State and really would work very hard to implement the budget as passed by the State House of Assembly.”
He lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel’s commitment to political participation in the previous year, affirming that the Governor has taken Akwa Ibom State to a new level of political participation, where a larger segment of the people is involved in the governance matrix and everybody is seen as a stakeholder in the process of governance.
Giving a recap of advocacy projects driven by the Bureau in 2017, the Bureau boss said, in respect of political affairs, the Bureau has been driving a lot of advocacies, getting Akwa Ibom people to be involved in issues of population, like the pre-census activities, the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), the National Identity Management Scheme (NIMS).
Ekong Sampson said his Bureau has worked very hard to broaden participation in democracy, promoting the advocacy that everyone should have the voter’s card and also get members of their families to register for it. He said that without the voter’s card people cannot really affect the undercurrent in governance or be true participants in the polity. “Everybody, once you are 18 years, you are eligible, get your voter’s card. That is when you are a proud participant in the polity”, Ekong Sampson stressed.
In respect of water, he said the Akwa Ibom Water Company and AK-RUWATSAN has been have repositioned for greater efficiency in water management, both in the rural and urban areas of the State.
We also work very hard to sustain the idea that governance is for everybody and that everybody should own up the government, see government as theirs and help to protect infrastructure, drive investments and support the government of Governor Udom Emmanuel who has shown a lot of innovations in governance, Ekong Sampson added.
Barrister Sampson said with the proposed N2billion expenditure of his Bureau for 2018, the State is expected to take these advocacies to the next level. Given the build up toward the 2018 population census, the 2019 elections – considering the fact that democracy is a very expensive enterprise, especially in a developing democracy like Nigeria, and a range of other activities, what we need in Akwa Ibom State is a level of enlightenment for the political class and the public; we need to educate our people about the proper parameters of political engagement, then we would have deepened democracy in the State.
Earlier, while presenting an estimate of N2bn for the broad spectrum of activities of his Bureau in 2018, the Special Adviser appreciated the cooperation and commitment of 6th Assembly towards the Akwa Ibom project, maintaining that his Bureau and the State Legislature were working on the same template in political affairs. He particularly thanked the chairman and members of the committee and declared that his Bureau will continue to work together on a range of issues to properly engage the people.
The Special Adviser pledged his Bureau’s commitment to work hard to sustain the existing harmony between the Executive and Legislature, as well as the Judiciary, adding that, as key drivers of democracy, it is critical that these arms of government work for the common good of the State, because at the end of the day what matters is the larger interest.
The Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation and Finance, Rt. Hon. Usoro Akpanuso in his response, commended the Special Adviser for outlaying the policies of his Bureau of 2018 clearly.
The Committee Chairman tasked the Bureau boss to take up the responsibility of educating the Akwa Ibom public, to arrest the spate of activities of hoodlums in the polity and to train the mind of Akwa Ibom youths on how to go about politicking within the confines of the law.
Akpanuso said State House of Assembly was willing to partner the Bureau in creating a political orientation for younger politicians in the State, including the councilors who have just been sworn in.