LEGISLATOR BRIEFS HIS CONSTITUTENTS, UNVEILS DIVIDENDS OF DEMOCRACY
•Beneficiaries receiving cash gifts
It probably was the largest and most representative crowd witnessed in recent times in Ikot Edibon; the headquarters of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
But it wasn't surprising. What might have been strange was the event itself: constituency briefing by a member of the State House of Assembly representing the area. Daily Sun learnt that it was a novel exercise because the people had never enjoyed the luxury of having their representative in the State House of Assembly, come back home after barely six months in office to show their interim scorecard.
So, when Mr. Onofiok Luke, a law practitioner and the immediate past speaker of the Nigerian Youth Parliament, the date to go back and brief his people of Nsit Ubium State Constituency, everybody; young, old, physically challenged, religious group, men, women, political allies and opponents, royal fathers and so many other socio-cultural configurations, could not wait to see whether the announcement was true or a ruse.
And they were not disappointed when they got there. The chairman on the occasion, himself an immediate past house member who represented the area for two terms from 1999 to 2007, Elder Aniefiok Thompson, had to exclaim: 'I have never seen such an event like this in this constituency before.' Maybe, he was right; after all, he should know better.
It was a constituency blessing plus. Apart from telling his people what he has been able to achieve as his legislative responsibilities to the constituency and the state, Luke also initiated the process towards making some of his constituents learn how to fish for themselves, and others, instead of always being given a fish.
Ten widows were given N50, 000 each; another set of 10 women, each from the 10 wards in the area were given N50000 each., 10 youths were given N100, 000 each, 10 persons with disabilities got another N50,000 each; eleven person got brand new Kia Rio car each under the constituency transport scheme while the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the National Youth Council of Nigeria in the area got a brand new bus each. And the lame and other physically challenged ensured that they physically walked up to take their share.
But Luke advised the beneficiaries to see the money and the vehicles as seed fund to establish small scale businesses which if well managed, would change a lot of lives; saying the gesture was a fulfillment of his campaign promises and in tandem with the maxim that man owes humanity without question to leave every environment better than he met it.
Promising to deliver more life touching projects in the 2011/2012 constituency projects, the lawmaker said he would build a standard market, a standard primary school block and mini water scheme to serve different sections of the local government area. He pleaded with communities yet to benefit form the 2011/2012 constituency projects to await their turn.
He charged his people to engage in targeted education of their children so that they could avail themselves of the opportunities which some development projects like the Ibaka deep sea port would provide.
'In furtherance of my avowed services to you, I have initiated a platform where your views will be channelled to form a critical part of my policy building. To achieve this, I am poised to intellectually engage stakeholders on critical national issues like attainment of true federalism, state and local government creation, sovereign national conference, devolution of power, state policing and a lot more.
On the whole, I am committed to offering selfless service to the state constituency but this cannot be attained by solo effort. In every society, there are two divides: the leadership and the followership. Both must permanently reach a consensus ad idem for progress to occur. Please I need your co-operation to move this constituency forward.'
It wasn't a day to be forgotten in a hurry in the history of Nsit Ubium; speaker after speaker, beneficiary after beneficiary, eulogised the law maker and thanked God that at last Nsit Ubium was beginning to feel the democratic dividends from the legislative perspectives.
The speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Elder Samuel Ikon, who performed the official inauguration of Luke's new constituency office at Ikot Edibon, praised the lawmaker as one the most vibrant members of the 5th assembly.