SENATOR, MINISTER VISIT HOME, MAKE PROMISES
Two politicians from Akwa Ibom South (Eket) senatorial district last week took time off to go home to give and take from their people before returning to Abuja to continue with their busy schedule.
While one; Senator Helen Esuene, who is representing the zone in the senate, chose to be with the youth, the minster of science and technology, Prof. Ita Bassey Ewa, decided to stay mostly with the elderly.
Ewa's visit to his native Okobo local government area was significant and symbolic in view of rumours in the state that he is not from Akwa Ibom but Cross River state, an allegation the state Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio even tried to debunk during his thanksgiving service recently in his hometown. And choosing to pay homage to the royal fathers might have been a proper avenue of reconnecting with his people.
The minister started from the paramount ruler's council to his village council, consulting, paying homage and making promises. He also received a significant gift in his village.
He told the paramount ruler of Okobo, Owong Bassey Andem Ibok that he was in his domain to formally inform him of his new appointment as a minister made possible through the recommendation of Gov. Akpabio to President Goodluck Jonathan.
But he expressed disappointment at the sorry state of roads leading to the royal palace, but gave his assurance that due attention would be given to the road.
He appealed to all sons and daughters of Okobo never for any reason write petition against Akpabio, rather they should give him their maximum support and ensure that there was peace and unity among the people.
He promised to bring 'total transformation' to Ebighi Edu, his village, with the provision of electricity, solar energy, construction of roads and Science College in the community. Still in his array of promises included the award of scholarship to pupils of Wesley Methodist School who sang a welcome song to him on arrival to his village.
The royal fathers responded; first the paramount ruler, Owong Ibok said he was overwhelmed that with joy that a son of Okobo is appointed a minister of the federal republic during his life time. He saw Ewa's appointment as a good omen for the people of Okobo, noting that with his appointment, Okobo will be recognized nationally and internationally.
No controversy; Ewa is a true son of Okobo whose exceptional qualities justifies his appointment, the royal father said, but added that the appointment should bring development, especially in road rehabilitation, provision of electricity and drinking water to Okobo.
The clan head of Ebighi Okobo, Obong J.E. Ebrene, thanked God for the appointment of their son as minister and likened it to the birth of Christ in little Bethlehem.
The clan head, therefore, challenged the minister to use his elevated position to help the people of Okobo .
His village head, Chief Ate Ekpe Okon of Ebighi Edu, thanked the minister for remembering his root and urged him to work for the benefit of his people. He presented a Bible to the minister asking him to use it as sword and light in his path to success.
But Senator Esuene's journey home to Eket was to inaugurate a Job Netwok Centre, an ICT facility she established to ease the burden of job search by unemployed youths in Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District.
Mrs Esuene said that the centre was borne out of the need to bridge the communication gap between job seekers and employers of labour, pointing out that some job vacancies were filled through contact and not through formal advertisement.
The centre, according to the National Assembly member, would help to, among others, maintain a functional database for job seekers, source for advertised job vacancies and notify suitable applicants who have registered with the centre.
She said the centre would organize regular orientation and tutorials on interview skills, adding that the building has WiFi internet service which makes it convenient to browse the internet from any part of the premises.
Akwa Ibom state deputy governor, Mr Nsima Ekere who was on hand to inaugurate the centre, said the growing incidence of anti-social behaviour among youths in Nigeria to high rate of unemployment in the society.
But Ekere said if youths were gainfully employed, most of the criminal acts currently experienced in the Niger Delta region would have been reduced. That was why he showered Esuene with praises for establishing the centre barely two months after her inauguration in the national assembly.
He described the Job Network Centre as a well thought-out initiative and reiterated the resolve of government to partner with private sector to provide employment for the teeming youths of Akwa Ibom, create wealth and grow the economy.
The Deputy Governor observed that the initiative keyed into the vision of Governor Godswill Akpabio to build a new Akwa Ibom for which he had shown great commitment through the provision of landmark infrastructure across the state.
He called on employers of labour and job seekers to avail themselves of the services offered by the centre.