‘TODAY, I am giving glory to God, who lifted me up because going by the calculations of the powers that be in Akwa Ibom State, I was not to return to Akwa-Ibom House of Assembly after serving my first term. But God took me through the political journey after a tough primary and used my colleagues to elevate me as Speaker, when I was not in the calculation of the powers that be.’’ With these words, Akwa Ibom State Speaker, Rt Hon Onofiok Akpan Luke, on December 21, 2016 gave reasons he is doing his best to empower his constituents, ensure effective representation and boost delivery of dividends of democracy to Akwa Ibom citizenry. Indeed, Wednesday, December 21, 2016, will ever remain fresh in the memories of many indigenes of Nsit Ubium Local Council of Akwa Ibom State, who Luke represents in the state House of Assembly. Constituency briefing •Speaker Onofiok with Governor Udom Emmanuel It was a day that prominent Nigerians from many parts of the country thronged the agrarian community in support of Luke, who was holding his third constituency briefing and thanksgiving as member representing Nsit Ubium state constituency and one year of his emergence as speaker. With the theme: “Celebrating God’s Amazing Grace,” prominent Nigerians at the carnival-like event included former military administrators and governors of the state: Col. Yakubu Bako, Col. John Ebiye, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, retd, Capt. Samuel Ewang and Obong Victor Attah. Former Deputy Governor, Obong Chris Ekpenyong, 11 members of the Forum of Speakers Conference of Nigeria led by their Chairman and Speaker of Kebbi State House of Assembly, Ismaila Kamba, were there. Other House of Assembly speakers at the gathering were those of Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Enugu, Rivers, Cross River, Kaduna, Kano, Niger and Bayelsa. There were also members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly led by the Deputy Speaker, Princess Felicia Bassey, Senators Effiong Bob, Anietie Okon and Bassey Albert, President of Ijaw Youth Council, Udengs Eradiri as well as Lt. Colonel Abdul’Aziz Musa Yar’Adua, younger brother to late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who represented the Yar’ Ádua family. So also were Governor Udom Emmanuel and his wife, Martha, 13 members of the National Assembly from Akwa Ibom State, members of the State Executive Council, clergymen, royal fathers, socio-political and cultural groups in the state and representatives of Chinese civil engineering firm in Nigeria, Chinese Engineering Construction Company, CECC, Zenith and Diamond banks. How God ensured my re-election, emergence as speaker In an emotion-laden voice that drew tears from the eyes of some people at the event, Rt Hon Luke, a lawyer, said his victory at the PDP primary, re-election as a lawmaker and emergence as speaker were miraculous because certain powerful forces in the state had vowed to stop him. According to him, he had started making arrangements to build a law chamber and start practising because the powers that be in Akwa Ibom had cancelled his name among those pencilled down to go for the election but God had a different plan. Luke gained national acclaim when he served as the pioneer Speaker of the 109-member Nigerian Youth Parliament, a non-stipendiary institution put together by then late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to help generate inputs from elite Nigerian youths into the country’s mainstream governance. He said he could not thank God enough for ensuring his political victories when the situation was hopeless, hence his decision to build a N5 million chapel at the Nsit Ubium Local Government Secretariat and distribute empowerment packages to his constituents as part of his campaign promises. Under the constituency education support programme, the speaker gave 100 students N20,000 each as bursary, N100,00 each to 10 indigent students, N100,000 each to five Law students, sets of specialised textbooks for five select secondary schools and a set of desktop computers for five secondary schools. On his part, Governor Udom Emmanuel, who charged other lawmakers to emulate Luke and make the 2019 election easy for the PDP promised to give 50 youths from the constituency N200,000 each to boost their businesses and ensure speedy construction of the Ikot-Nsit-Oton-Edemidimokpot-Mbiekene-Nnung Obong road that passes through the constituency. Some of the packages, which were supported by the Family Empowerment and Youth Re-orientation Programme, FEYReP, the initiative of the Akwa Ibom Fisrt Lady, Deaconess Martha Udom Emmanuel include: 16 vehicles for 16 women taking part in the constituency transport scheme, N100,000 each for 10 women in small scale businesses, N100,000 for 10 youths to fund their start-up businesses. Over 100 youths were given motor bikes, sewing machines, vulcanising machines, generating sets and hair-dressing equipment. Hair-dressing equipment Giving his score card, Luke said: “So far, I have been able to sponsor four additional bills, bringing the total to 13 bills for which I have been Lead Sponsor since I got to the House. Four of these bills have been passed into law. The latest that has been passed into law is the bill for the protection to the physically challenged persons in our society against all forms of abuse and discrimination. For me, every man and woman, every child who suffers physical impairment of any form in our state should enjoy same rights and privileges as any other person.’’ He also listed other projects he had attracted to the constituency as: Construction of market stalls at Ndukpoise; construction market stalls at Ikot Edibon; water project at Obio Ekid; Water project at Ntit Oton; water project at Ikot Ansang; grading of internal roads and state intervention projects in education and health sectors through the state Inter-ministerial direct Labour Committee. The Executive Director of EXXON-Mobil, Mr. Udom Inoyo, who chaired the ceremony and Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium Local Council, HRM Ntenyin Solomon Etuk, commended Hon Luke for his gestures and urged other lawmakers and those in power to empower the citizenry. Uyo leaders ‘ll back Gov Emmanuel in 2019 – Senator Bob Speaking at the ceremony, Senator Effiong Bob, pro-chancellor and chairman, Governing Council of the University of Benin, who also commended the Speaker and Governor for their achievements said the people and leaders of Uyo senatorial zone will back Governor Udom Emmanuel for re-election in 2019. According to him, Uyo leaders are backing Governor Emmanuel to continue and complete the numerous people-oriented projects he is carrying out across the state. Senator Bob urged Governor Emmanuel not to entertain fears about Uyo support in 2019. ‘’You are the captain of Team Akwa Ibom. What I am saying is the opinion of leaders and people of Uyo senatorial district. As far as 2019 is concerned, we will give you 100 per cent support. Don’t be disturbed over Uyo votes; concentrate on the numerous projects you are doing across the state,’’ he said.
Acknowledged Source: vanguard