By UbongAbasi Ise
“Great champions have an enormous sense of pride. The people who excel are those who are driven to show the world and prove to themselves just how good they are.” – Nancy Lopez
Soon the whole country would be swept by the windstorm of electioneering activities. And for sure, the electorates would be befuddled by heart-winning gimmickries and catchphrases devised by some politicians to score some political points that would not help the polity get over some stasis situations experienced in today’s governance. The concern is that if the electorates won’t be dispassionate enough, they would not avoid making blunders in the choices of those they would bestow mandate upon. Today, as the prosperity of our democracy is squarely confronted by feeble representation, it therefore becomes imperative for the electorates to square up against inept, mediocre, small-minded politicians because “when small men attempt great enterprises, they always end by reducing them to the level of their mediocrity” as put by Napoleon Bonaparte, the French General. In this connection, some concerned Essien Udim State constituents have come up to signal the level of mediocrity in the representation of Essien Udim State Constituency in recent times, and demand the full return of their former representative, Obong Dr. Etido Ibekwe, deeming it a propitious option to the resolution of misrepresentation of their state constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
The youths of Essien Udim State Constituency under the aegis of Essien Udim Mandate Group has complained that within the past 11 years, Essien Udim has been bamboozled all the way in matters related to the dividend of democracy, and has been facing the menace of poor quality representation in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. The group made assertion that the incumbent representative has refused to render the account of his stewardship to the state constituency couple with the fact that they have not been consulted this past 11 years to make inputs that would enable their representatives push for motions that would directly impact and improve the state constituency. According to the group, they discovered that Essien Udim local government area is very rich with resourceful human capital but unfortunately, their representatives in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in recent times could be best described as mediocre and cheats. The group also maintained that Essien Udim State Constituency has been badly degraded in the matters of responsibilities and appointments in the state house of assembly.
Against this backdrop, Essien Udim Mandate Group went to a 2-day retreat and came out with the resolutions stating the urgent need to restore the lost glory of Essien Udim State Constituency in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly by replacing mediocre representative with a cerebral politician. The group believes that to have a strong voice in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Essien Udim State Constituency needs a strong, vibrant, experienced, sophisticated politician with the capacity and pedigree to compete favourably with other lawmakers from other state constituencies in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly because currently, lawmakers representing Essien Udim State Constituency can be described as deaf and dumb lawmakers with the poorest credentials to show, whereas it is a common knowledge that Essien Udim State Constituency is populated with men and women of high success in intellect and leadership.
To the group, it was a big surprise that the least in terms of intellectual acumen and character represented Essien Udim State Constituency. For about 11 years now, lawmakers from Essien Udim are under the burden of social complexes in the House. They become afraid of their colleagues because they are unable to compete in the floor of the House with their poor credentials, low intellectual capacity and poor emotional preparedness for the job of lawmaking and legislative business.
The group said they were ashamed of themselves considering the age-long political legacy of Essien Udim in Akwa Ibom State dating back to the time of late Ibanga Akpabio, the Minister; hence the need to rise up collectively and go for high quality representation in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly come 2019. The group said that they would unanimously endorse and vote for the return of the ebullient, full of life politician, Obong Dr. Etido Ibekwe, the immediate past leader of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. This decision is informed by his unbeatable track record in the delivery of democracy dividends.
Essien Udim Mandate Group described Obong Dr. Etido Ibekwe as a great mobilizer, a team player, and a team leader. According to them, he has immense love and patriotism for Essien Udim people visualizing that he must have been extremely ashamed of his state constituency given the run of poor quality representation in the state house of assembly. They held that since Ibekwe left Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly 11 years ago, no lawmaker from Essien Udim has raised a motion in the House to solve the problem of Essien Udim, instead they are allegedly linked to converting what belongs to the people to their leaking pockets.
Born some 54 years ago, Obong Dr. Etido Ibekwe is from Adiasim Ikot Ono in Essien Udim local government area. His life is one that offers an intriguing story of astuteness, audacity, and service to humanity. He is an adroit professional who started a private practice as a Chief Medical Director of ETI-DO Hospital in Oron since 1992. He has made his mark in the country’s health sector having served as Vice Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Akwa Ibom State Branch between 1997 and 1998, and later elevated to the position of a Chairman in the same association later in 1998. He held this position till 2002. In his tenure, he successfully completed and commissioned the NMA secretariat at Udo Udoma Avenue and also fought successfully for the welfare of Doctors.
Between 2002 and 2003, he served as member, Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health Committee on Procurement of Hospital Equipments. He was also appointed a member to serve in the Board of Management of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital. Obong Dr. Etido Ibekwe is a fellow of the Association of General and Private Medical Parishioners of Nigeria, AGPMPN.
In the year 2003, he contested and won the House of Assembly seat for Essien Udim State Constituency and was elected the Majority Leader of the 3rd Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. Ibekwe was later elevated to House Leader position due to his profundity in legislative duties including his acuity in addressing complex issues in the House. He held this position successfully till the end of his tenure in 2007.
Amongst his numerous contributions to the state’s legislature, Ibekwe had sponsored a bill on the Establishment of Akwa Ibom State University of Science and Technology at Ikot Akpaden with special bias on Petrochemical Engineering and Dockyard for ship building. He also pushed for Alternative Dispute Resolution for the Judiciary; Children’s Right Act with specific emphasis on the girl child; Parliamentary System of Administration at the local government level.
Considering his gargantuan profile, Essien Udim Mandate Group sees Obong Dr. Etido Ibekwe as a respected leader, a cerebral politician, a professional of high repute, good enough to replace today’s pretenders in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly believing that he is capable of bringing back the lost glory of Essien Udim State Constituency, and give Essien Udim a strong voice in the State’s House of Assembly.
Dr. Ibekwe is further described as a competent and effective leader when recalled with pride his good old days in the assembly. According to the chancellor of the group, Obong Aniekan Akpan, Ibekwe was articulate, eloquent, fearless, and was a commander in the House, and nothing happened in the House Without his involvement thus giving Essien Udim a political status in Akwa Ibom State. According to him, only a seasoned personality like Obong Dr. Etido Ibekwe can deliver Essien Udim from the clutches of pretenders and political nannies in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. According to Akpan, history has shown that a poor teacher produces poor students in terms of performance, and so the present crop of fellows representing Essien Udim in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly will never do well because they are political hawkers, jobbers corrupt, selfish, and without the interest of the people at heart.
Essien Udim Mandate Group argued that if the incumbent in the present state assembly is canvassing for his return on the basis of experience in lawmaking and legislative businesses, then Obong Dr. Etido Ibekwe is the best man for the job considering his antecedents and records in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly including his intimidating resume in education, community service and Christian life which the incumbent cannot compete.
According to the group, the incumbent pictorially, is like a louse on the skin of a cow when it comes to the matter of lawmaking, readiness, and maturity for the job. The group therefore called on all well-meaning voters in Essien Udim State Constituency including All Progressive Congress (APC) members to join the campaign to bring back Dr. Etido Ibekwe for the benefit of his experience in lawmaking, quality and effective representation, representation knowledge and familiarity with the politics and the mood of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.