By Asuquo Edem
From passing laws that protects constituencies, the State and country at large, to developing policies relating to environment, to making changes to existing laws or passing new legislation going by the needs of their constituents, legislators affect people’s lives every day.
These group of men and women who often serve on different House Committees oversee various sectors of government through oversight functions as well as meeting with their constituents so as to make sound and informed decisions.
Apart from the above mentioned functions, legislators also participate on debates brought before the entire House, negotiate or lobby their colleagues to gain consensus on legislations seek funds for execution of projects voted into the budget, creating policies, budgets and programs among other functions.
To succeed in legislation, it is imperative legislators meet regularly with their constituents while also listening to their concerns, this would not only aid them in making impactful laws, but would help lawmakers achieve effective representation as it has to do with the cardinal roles of lawmaking which are lawmaking, representation and oversight. It is in his being fully aware of the dictates where the legislature revolves around that Dr. Usoro Akpanusoh took up the mantle of leadership to represent the people of Esit Eket/Ibeno State Constituency.
Akpanusoh though a first timer in the House of Assembly brought his experiences to bear in the area of lawmaking after having served meritoriously in the council even as a councilor.
The lawmaker who chairs the Finance and Appropriation Committee, a Committee he also sat over even at the council, a committee saddled with the all important responsibility of appropriating monies including budgetary allocations of the State government, Akpanusoh has not only succeeded in delivery but has also maintained a clean sheet as no issues of budget padding or fraud was reported.
Akpanusoh being one of the very few lawmakers, a first timer for that matter has to his credit five self sponsored bills and ten co-sponsored bills with about ten sponsored motions standing to his credit.
Among the bills include a bill for the regulation of maritime sector operations, fixed offshore oil/gas production facilities registration for the purposes of separating internal revenue which has been assented to by the governor, a bill for a law to amend the Akwa Ibom State Town and Country Planning law, a bill for a law to make provision for the imposition of land based charge to be called real property charge, for the levying and collection of charge, a bill for a law to AKS environmental protection and waste management agency law 2000, and a bill for a law for the establishment of the Akwa Ibom State Safety Commission.
A legislator who doesn’t make laws nor collaborate with colleagues to make same should not be sent to represent a constituency and Akpanusoh has not been found wanting in this regard as outside sponsoring bills, he has also partnered with other lawmakers in the assembly to sponsor other bills.
Among these include, a bill for a law to protect the physically challenged persons against all forms of discrimination and to provide for equal opportunities in all aspects of living in the society, a bill for a law to provide for regulation of water front infrastructure development in Akwa Ibom State, a bill for a law to make provision for the administration of criminal justice. Other bills co-sponsored by Akpanusoh include a bill for a law to provide for the establishment of AKS Primary Health Care Development Agency, a bill for protection of investors and investments in AKS, a bill for a law to regulate and control cattle grazing in Akwa Ibom State.
The lawmaker in his bid to ensure economic stability also co-sponsored a bill for a law to provide for prudent management of the State resources, ensure long term macro-economic stability of the State economy, secure greater accountability and transparency in fiscal operations within the medium term framework and the establishment of the fiscal responsibility commission to ensure the promotion and enforcement of Akwa Ibom State Economic Objectives, a bill for a law to establish the building and civil engineering construction materials quality centre in Akwa Ibom State and finally a bill for a law to protect people living with HIV/AIDS against all forms of stigma and discrimination.
Still basking in the euphoria of legislation, the lawmaker also sponsored motions including motion for the revocation of sales of government properties in Uyo Capital, flood disaster in Esit Eket, five outbreak in Uton fishing settlement in Ibeno which rendered our 500 residents homeless, major oil spill that emanated from Mobil facility at Iwokpom, Ibeno, fire disaster at Ndito Eka Iba community in Ibeno among other motions.
The lawmaker who has not been found wanting in the area of representation has held three constituency briefings since assuming office with the event which coincided with the lawmakers 47th birthday celebration was used to render an account of stewardship to his constituents, while also providing empowerment items that would add value to their standard of living.
He noted that the economic empowerment programs were only a way of showing appreciation pleaded for those not captured to be patient as everyone would take their turn.
He used the occasion to note that the relocation of headquarters of oil companies to state of their operation would go a long way to stem the tide of restiveness and called government at the centre to go a step further to enhance the relocation process.
While describing constituency briefing and empowerment as an integral part of effective representation expressed his commitment not to waver but remain resolute in giving effective representation to his constituents whose mandate he holds.
Akpanusoh thanked the State Government, Mr. Udom Emmanuel for the support, encouragement and mentorship and made particular reference to construction of 14.7km internal roads in Esit Eket where the contractor has mobilized to site, however pleaded that a similar gesture be extended to Ibeno to give them a sense of belonging.
He also requested for the reactivation of the Akwa Palm Industries located at Etebi which he noted would provide the needed employment opportunities to the teeming youths.
The lawmaker also brought the power outage experienced for the past twenty four months by the people of Esit Eket to the State Governor and requested for the reticulation of 33KVA dedicated transmission line from Eket Injection Sub Station to Esit Eket while also requesting for the construction of the 2km road to link a popular secondary school located within the cosmopolitan city of Uquo.
He used the occasion to commend the Speaker, Barr. Onofiok Luke, his colleagues, PDP State Chairman Obong Paul Ekpo, Barr. Bassey Dan Abia among other stakeholders of the area for their different roles they played to see to his legislative success.
Akpanusoh assured them of his continuous commitment to ensuring that the ideals of the legislature are continually realized.
To empower his constituents, the lawmaker gave out ten deep freezers, twenty six sewing machines, eleven cars, twenty three mini buses, ten tricycles, one laptop, generators, dryers, thirty eight motorcycles, clippers with generators, a grounding machine, five welding machines, five vulcanizing machines, boats with engines, financial empowerment to clergymen, educational support to nineteen students, business support to Esit Eket/Ibeno youth caucus, business support to women among other wide range of empowerment.