Venue was the Uwem Ita Etuk Plantation at Nung Udoe, the seat of power of Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area. The setting was a Christmas bash organized yearly by Prince Etuk was elected and appointed officers of government from Ibesikpo Asutan under the PDP will brief the people and give back to the local government Area. That was the setting where Rt. Hon (Dr) Mike Enyong a.k.a Baba Ntan, Member Representing Uyo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, broke the news of his gubernatorial aspiration in 2023.
He was an august visitor in the meeting to continue his Christmas splash around Uyo Federal Constituency. When he mounted the podium amidst loud ovation and read his report of stewardship in the legislative chamber, he said something bigger was in sight for Uyo Federal Constituency. That is not what he went there to do, by the way, he told the people. He was there to thank them for supporting him and re-electing him to the National Assembly. He broke the big news- “mmeyem ido governor ke 2023, en support ke nyanam yak afon”.That was greeted with a loud ovation in a large gathering in which most politicians at the local level were berated over their poor performance in council.
Since the declaration on the 26th December 2019, Dr. Mike Enyong, Chairman, House Committee on Mines and Solid Mineral, has occupied the center of most public discuss raising curiosity about his antecedents, capacity, and performance in the offices he served so far. These questions and the curiosity generated by the discus, caused CitizensWatch to tract Dr. Enyong for the interview in this edition. He spoke of his interest in the gubernatorial seat and how different his government will be if nominated by the PDP and elected in 2023.
Mike Enyong is a homegrown politician and clearly, is proud of his heritage as a Uyo man with a well-known history of thrift and resilience. Buried under the belly of the advantage his nativity gives him in any contest, he spoke of the need to ensure the next governor of Akwa Ibom State emerges from Uyo Local Government Area.
If an Uyo man like himself, should be given the opportunity to develop and expand Uyo, he said the state capital will have enough capacity to provide space to every citizen of the state.
He spoke of his antecedence in the House of Representatives saying every lawmaker has what they are good at and their priorities. For him, his priority is generating and contributing to legislation, lobbying to attract projects to his constituency, and most importantly, using his office as an Honorable Member of Parliament to provide employment to his constituent.
Mike Enyong is deep in intellect and looks very knowledgeable about what politics ought to be. He spoke with Solomon Johnny, Editor-in-Chief last week. Read the Excerpt of the interview below.
We least expected you will be interested in the governorship seat of Akwa Ibom State in 2023. But here you are leading the aspiration. Why do you want to be Governor?
Thank you for this question. Let me start by saying you should have known that I will be interested in the governorship race in 2023 when the ticket comes to Uyo Senatorial District where I come from. I am saying you should have known because, by every standard, I am qualified and eligible to serve as Governor of Akwa Ibom State. I have been consistently committed to defending and uplifting the people even as a private person before I became a politically exposed person. I have been interested in the welfare of my constituency and at every point in time, I always want to serve because I believe I have the ideas and exposure to turn around the fortune of the people of Akwa Ibom State.Having said that, let me go straight to your question about why I want to be governor. It is still very early to start talking about governorship interest, but to address your curiosity about my aspiration to the office of Governor, I have to express my intent so that the public can start to follow up on my interest to serve them.History has taught us that at every point in time, situations throw up peculiar circumstances which necessitate the emergence of a person with the capacity to step in and provide leadership. Our needs in 2007 are not the same now and will not be the same in 2023. Dynamics of advancement in human civilization will prop up leadership direction that will need somebody like me to step in and fill the gap.One of such special need that will arise in 2023 is expansion of the Capital city to make it home for all. If I am Governor in 2023 I will send an Executive Bill to Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for amendment of Uyo Capital City Law to catalyze the territorial expansion of Uyo Capital City. I will give Akwa Ibom State a Capital City that will be a home and provide comfort to all. In addition to the Capital City expansion, I will create Satellite Cities, Towns, and Estates through aggressive infrastructure rebirth. Understand that I am from Uyo Local Government Area and very passionate about developing it. Understand also that Uyo is the Capital of Akwa Ibom State. Anybody who develops Uyo, by implication and extension, develops Akwa Ibom State and makes life easy for every person. There is no village in Akwa Ibom State that you cannot find at least, 50 individuals from there living in Uyo. That is excluding people from other states who are coming in. With the influx of people to Uyo from within and outside the state, something special must be done to ensure that Uyo is able to accommodate this influx. The starting point is to allow a man who comes from Uyo to expand infrastructure here.So, I shall go back to Uyo Master Plan developed by His Excellency, Obong Victor Attah, and restore beauty and sanity to the Town. I shall expand the infrastructure for residents of the state to live comfortably.
Furthermore, I want to run a government that lifts the poor to wealth. What do I mean by this? A simple index of measuring development is, how many people are able to meet their basic needs on a daily basis? What are the basic needs of man? These are food, shelter, and clothing. After centuries of advancement in human civilization, I can add education for civility and skills for self-reliance as also the core needs of man. I am very passionate about education because it is a potent force that builds human capacity and good fortune. I lost my mother at the age of 4 and hard to wrestle with difficult circumstances to have education in a large family of 12 children. I am happy that I had education and it has paid off.
For me, therefore, education is a liberating factor and author of good fortune. If you check critically, you may agree with me that at the moment, government is yet to go down to the grassroots and address the needs of the grassroots. If you are a community man like me (Babantan), when you walk into rural communities in Akwa Ibom State, you will weep at the level of poverty which robs people of ability and capacity to meet their basic needs. Government plans and programs largely address elitist needs consistently. I call this approach a “top before bottom approach” I (Babantan), will run a government that takes development from the bottom (Ntan) to the top. That is what Akwa Ibom State will need in 2023 and I am willing and prepared to offer it to us.
As I speak with you, I have commissioned a team of very knowledgeable Akwa Ibom People to work on how best government can meet the economic empowerment needs of Akwa Ibom State considering the vision I have about developing the grassroots and fighting poverty. In due time, I shall make it public and seek partnership with the people of Akwa Ibom State to drag it to materialization. I will seek partnership to constitute an inclusive government of the people, for the people and by the people.
These sound very interesting. What will you take to the public space as your strong point to show you are ready for governance? I want to look at your record as a member representing Uyo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly. Last year, you were described as a seat warmer in the chamber has not contributed nor sponsored any bill that year (laughs and cuts in).
You see, so many people are ignorant about what Legislative representation is and what legislators do in the chamber. Legislative representation is not about bribing the media or a paparazzi of Television Cameramen to show when you enter the Assembly complex or when you talk in the hallowed chambers. Your absence before the Media does not also mean you are not giving Legislative representation. It is actually the reverse and that is what those who made that categorization don’t understand. I have been involved in sponsoring series of bills on the floor of the House that is for the general good and national interest. Besides, there are many opportunities in the Assembly which apart from talking, you must also harness. One of them is employment placements and follow-ups. Under this sub-head, I have recommended and accomplished employment placements for 125 indigenes of Uyo Federal Constituency in both Federal and State Agencies. As a human capacity building politician and advocate of sumptuous democratic dividend, as the progenitor of Suak, Suak, Sauk ideology, dispensing employment to the people makes more sense to me because of the longevity of benefit that accrues to beneficiaries. I derive internal joy when beneficiaries of my job placement efforts glow ecstatically with happiness to the Glory of God. I have facilitated access to business opportunities for several constituents. It gives me joy when they succeed and express appreciation. After making my aspiration for governorship known, I have received tremendous support beyond my expectations within a short time because people know that I use opportunities to advance the good of my people.As a federal lawmaker, I will enter the governorship race with the conviction that I have used opportunities available to me to place many people in pensionable jobs secured with strong labor laws. I have developed human capacities through skill acquisition and cash empowerment. If I am elected governor, I will commit to reducing unemployment, create employment opportunities, and lifting Akwa Ibom State into national and global limelight through innovative governance structures.
What is your assessment of Governor Emmanuel’s administration in Akwa Ibom State?
His Excellency is a blessing to Akwa Ibom State in many ways. We are lucky to have him as a successor to Chief Godswill Akpabio. When Akpabio left Government, Akwa Ibom State was on a life support machine financially speaking and security-wise. Chief Akpabio left a state deep in debt and famished by insecurity. Cultism was almost a state religion so much so that, they had their way kidnapping and assassinating people at will. Investors were scared; life was dull until His Excellency came in. He put a stop to most of the evils we saw. He banned cultism and created awareness against it. Today, there is peace in our state, and life is secured.
Remember how Chief Akpabio left many uncompleted projects, most of the projects were paid for, but money diverted. A case in view is the Uyo Ikot Ekpene road which His Excellency had to take over. Today, Uyo Ikot Ekpene Road is completed and awaiting commissioning.
His Excellency has brought investments into Akwa Ibom in addition to building industries to boost the emergence of the state as an industrial tiger under the economic sun of West Africa. He has done well in very many development indices and I pray that Akwa Ibom people will support him to end well.
Under what platform are you launching your governorship campaigns?
Ah, I will be running under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. I shall be the governorship candidate of the PDP by the Grace of God and will emerge the next governor of Akwa Ibom State. Go and write this down. The time is ripe and the people are ready. I will be the next governor of Akwa Ibom State. I will drive the state to prosperity and wealth.
I derive internal joy when beneficiaries of my job placement efforts glow ecstatically with happiness to the Glory of God. I have facilitated access to business opportunities for several constituents. It gives me joy when they succeed and express appreciation. After making my aspiration for governorship known, I have received tremendous support beyond my expectations within a short time because people know that I use opportunities to advance the good of my people. As a federal lawmaker, I will enter the governorship race with the conviction that I have used opportunities available to me to place many people in pensionable jobs secured with strong labor laws. I have developed human capacities through skill acquisition and cash empowerment. If I am elected governor, I will commit to reducing unemployment, create employment opportunities, and lifting Akwa Ibom State into national and global limelight through innovative governance structures.