On March 28, 2015, indigenes of Akwa Ibom State went out en masse to elect a new set of lawmakers to represent them at the National Assembly. PDP had a clean sweep, winning all the seats up for grabs at the polls. Just like their counterparts in other parts of the country, the then MPs-elect were sworn-in as members of the 8th National Assembly on the 9th of June, 2015. After over 15 months in office, a large chunk of Akwa Ibom’s representatives are yet to make any meaningful impact either on the Red or Green Chambers. While lawmakers from other parts of the country are shining in the National Assembly, the ones from Akwa Ibom have taken the back seat, choosing to be ‘Sleeping Lawmakers’. Some of them were last seen/heard when they took oath of office.
Aside Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senator Bassey Albert, Rt. Hon Sam Ikon and to some extent, Emmanuel Ekon, other Akwa Ibom lawmakers in the National Assembly have disappeared into oblivion. They have been a waste of Akwa Ibom’s slots at the Red and Green Chambers. They rarely make contributions during plenary sessions neither do they second motions. You can only see them opening their mouths when the Senate President says – those in favour say aye, those against say nay. Presenting a motion or sponsoring a bill is a taboo to them. To make matters worse, majority of them have failed to report progress to their constituents. Summarily, they have failed in their primary assignment of lawmaking and also failed in either empowering their people or bringing meaningful developments to their areas.
Aside lawmaking, they fail politically too. Most Akwa Ibom lawmakers are always very influential and active in Akwa Ibom, but immediately they are sent to Abuja, they disappear into thin air. It leaves us with the questions – Are Akwa Ibom Politicians Local Champions? Why can’t they exert the same influence they have in their home state when they get to the nation’s political capital and compete favorably with their counterparts from other states? Our lawmakers can’t scheme and get important/juicy committees to chair at the National Assembly. Or are they always overwhelmed by national politics? More questions than answers.
In lieu of this, TheMail X-rays the remaining 9 lawmakers who have left Akwa Ibom people wondering if they have had their mouths sealed and their asses glued to their seats in the National Assembly. The part 1 of this piece was published in June and the ‘sleeping lawmakers’ in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly were captured. Click here to read: http://themail.com.ng/akha-behold-the-sleeping-lawmakers/
Senator Nelson Effiong: He is the biggest flop in the bunch. Someone could have expected that as a former Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Senator Nelson Effiong popularly known as ‘Tabasco’ would make his experience in the legislative business to count at the National Assembly. But much to the chagrin of the people of Eket Senatorial District, he has failed woefully. He does not ‘report progress’ to his people. He rarely makes contributions on the floor of the Senate. Sometime ago, it was reported in the media that ‘Tabasco’ said that Senate President, Bukola Saraki does not allow him to speak during plenary because he is a first timer. We cannot independently confirm the veracity of the report, but such report still goes a long way to showing the docility of the lawmaker in the senate. He is said to be largely unpopular amongst the people of Eket Senatorial District as over 70% of the people of the area do not know the man that represents them in NASS. In fact, the reasoning in some quarters is that Eket Senatorial District does not have a senator. The Oronian, according to findings has not empowered his people. Recalling him from the senate in not in cards at the moment, but returning to the senate in 2019 looks like an uphill task (if he would want to re-contest).
Hon. Francis Charles Uduyork: He represents Ikot Abasi/Mkpat Enin Eastern Obolo in the Federal House of Representatives. No doubt, he is hugely grounded in his Federal Constituency, especially in Eastern Obolo where he served as Council Chairman, be he has performed below par at the Green Chambers. A ‘benchwarmer’ at the chambers, Uduyork has failed to justify the tag of a ‘lawmaker’ which he bears. The last time Uduyork was heard was during his electioneering campaign. He may not be a known contributor at the House of Reps but he is a regular visitor to Facebook where he posts his photos.
Hon. Emmanuel Sunday Akpan: He represents Ikot Ekpene/Essien Udim/Obot Akara at the Federal House of Representatives. He is one of Akwa Ibom’s sleeping lawmakers at the national level. He has disappointed the people he supposed to speak for and Akwa Ibom in general. He is best remembered for being a key player during the manhandling of Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke in 2013 during a burial in a certain LGA in Annang land. He has failed to put to use his experience in the legislative arena having been a two-term member representing Essien Udim in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly (2007-2015). Some of the people from his area who spoke to TheMail said Emman Akpan is an “errand boy” for the Akpabio dynasty. They said Akpabio did a lot of disservice to the people of the Federal Constituency by sending an “Egyptian mummy” to represent them.
It could be recalled that in November 2014, the people of Essien Udim Local Government Area under the aegis of Essien Udim Youth Conscience had sent an open letter to the then Governor, Godswill Akpabio, advising him against sending Akpan to the NASS.
“Your Excellency, you know that Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Sunday Akpan for the past seven and half years that he has been in the AKHA has been hiding under your coverage at the detriment of his constituent. Permit us to say that he has been a failure in legislative business. His voice has not always been heard. He is not only a disappointment but an embarrassment and a waste to the people of Essien Udim State Constituency. We regret having him there.
“Your Excellency, if in a House made of only Akwa Ibomites, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Sunday Akpan’s voice could not be heard, what do you think will happen when through your machinery he gets to the House of Representatives which is made up of Nigerians of different classes and sizes. Your Excellency, to be candid with you, that man will be lost, he will automatically become deaf and dumb. And this is a man that is supposed to represent Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency made up of three Local Government Areas.
“Dear Governor, if it is true that you are fronting this man, it is a great dis-service to your Fatherland, Essien Udim and posterity will never forgive you”, the letter read.
Akpabio ignored their advice, and true to their fears, Emman Akpan has turned deaf and dumb in the House of Reps.
Hon. Emmanuel Isaac Ukoete: Honourable Emmanuel Ukoete is the member representing Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives. Ukoete who goes with the alias Gani has failed to make any impact in the National Assembly since 2011. At the end of the 7th National Assembly, he was listed as one of the lawmakers from Akwa Ibom who failed to sponsor a bill; Emmanuel Ekon and Emmanuel Ekpenyong being the others from Akwa Ibom who made the embarrassing list. The last time anything was heard about him was when there were strong indications that he was about defecting to All Progressives Congress. He however stayed put in PDP after Governor Udom Emmanuel won at the Supreme Court.
Hon. Iboro Asuquo Ekanem: Ikono/Ini people will certainly regret that this man was imposed on them to go to the National Assembly. He has been more than a disappointment. Ekanem, a former Commissioner for Science and Technology in the state had during electioneering campaigns promised to give hundred percent (100%) effective representation when voted into power by the good people of Ikono/Ini Local Government Area. But we doubt if he has been able to give up to 5% of such representation. Hear him: “by the special grace of God, if I win this election, I will ensure my leadership style attracts effective development to the people. And this effective development would bring about the presence of executive arms of government in order to create job opportunity to our teeming youth in the constituency”, he had promised. 15 months after, there is no sign that half of such promise would be fulfilled. We dare not ask about his lawmaking attributes. If he is to be rated, he may end up having no star at all (i.e Not rated).
Hon. Henry Okon Archibong: A gentle personality representing Itu/Ibiono Ibom in the Federal House of Representatives, Dr. Henry Archibong is one of the deaf and dumb lawmakers in the chambers. He has done appreciably well in the area of empowering his people, but he goes into hiding when the business of lawmaking comes calling. Having had a vibrant and very vocal lawmaker in the person of Senator Ita Enang represent them at the Reps for many years, the people of this Federal Constituency would certainly be ruing sending the fine medical doctor into the unfamiliar terrain of lawmaking.
Hon. Michael Okon Enyong: The fair-skinned ‘American returnee’ has failed the people of Uyo/ Uruan/Nsit Atai/Ibesikpo Asutan Federal Constituency. Hon. Enyong, who is a former Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Tourism Board, has been a monumental waste of the slot of these four important LGAs at the National Assembly. Former Governor Godswill Akpabio reportedly imposed him on the people of the federal constituency and the people are the ones paying the price for such impunity. He used to contribute during plenary sessions in his first 3 months as lawmaker but how things turned awry that he became ‘deaf and dumb’ is worrisome. The man popularly known as ‘Baba Ntan‘ is known to be a ‘giver’ and may have empowered a very minute percentage of his constituents but he has failed in his primary responsibility – lawmaking. The last time he was seen/heard was when he was about marrying a young lady who is in her 20s. The pre-marriage photos flooded the cyberspace, leaving the people of the Federal Constituency to wonder if they sent him to the NASS to marry a new wife.
Hon. Nse Bassey Ekpenyong: He represents five LGAs in the National Assembly – Oron/Mbo/Okobo/Udung Uko/Uruel Offong/Oruko. With the situation that Oron has found itself at the moment, the former Deputy State Chairman of PDP is certainly not the man they need. He is a total misfit. Place him side by side with Robinson Uwak whom he replaced at the Green Chambers, then Oron people may have genuine reasons for hating Godswill Akpabio. He did them no good by replacing their fine representative (Uwak) with someone who has no business being in the National Assembly. Such impunity by Akpabio and PDP in frustrating Uwak and replacing him with Ekpenyong has made Oron to be backwards. Oron has no known voice, at least not with Nelson Effiong and Nse Ekpeyong as their representatives. To make matters worse, he is an alleged certificate forger and perjurer. Evidences have revealed that Ekpenyong, did not attend the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba as he claimed in the affidavit in support of his personal particulars, which he deposed to at the Akwa Ibom State High Court, Uyo, on December 15 2014.
Hon. Owoidighe Ime Ekpoatai: One would have expected that as the only woman in the fold, the former LG Council Boss would strive to carve a niche for herself by representing her people effectively and being an active legislator. She is not living up to the earlier billings. She has simply mumbled since she got to the House. If she doesn’t up her game, the people of Eket/Onna/Esit/Eket/Ibeno which she represents at the National Assembly may start regretting sending her to NASS (that is if they haven’t regretted already).