Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Onofiok Luke: Putting the people first

Onofiok Luke: Putting the people first

“I agree with you that in politics the middle way is none at all” John Adams

Democracy in Nigeria seems to get better for its worth, and gives the assurances that leaders of the new order, with good intentions are what the nation needs, to stay in touch with the realities of modern day governance. Where government must of a necessity be that of the people, for the people, and by the people. No middle grounds whatsoever.

While a large section of the society wails on when they will savour the comfort and fulfillment which participatory democracy brings, some are praying to have what God has blessed them with, permanently, in the fear that subjecting the best result of their search for good leadership to another round of experiment may portray mediocrity.

This prayers of a permanent feel of what a people can benefit from leadership, has defined the times and sentiments of the people of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, who expectedly hopes the entire State should thank them for the gift of Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, who has illuminated the turf of Akwa Ibom with what leadership in the 21st century, should be, through an unparalleled legislative participation in the State House of Assembly.
An attempt to write on the puzzle called Barr Onofiok Luke, is one of the most difficult things to do, difficult not because one isn’t supposed to write about an all too known fellow as him, but because to the much that knows him, he means different good things to people in all spheres of life, including the devil who sees him as an albatross. 

I would have written to espouse how much the devil dreads him, but I would not seek to glorify darkness, even in its inability to demystify the achievements of this all time best youth ambassador. Onofiok has defied tribal and age prejudices, to live as a signage, through which many have come to admire the beauty of youthful poise and pace, which is seen as an important ingredient in leadership.

Mentioning the spell bound capacity he showed in his days as President of Students Union Government, University of Uyo, may amount to bugging people with this all too known feat. But it may do a great deal, to mention that ever after his stay as the Tuskers’ republic President, students of that institution still craves a shadow of that leadership he gave.

I will dwell more in my citing my personal experiences with this iconic symbol of ideal love, whose diary factory has produced enough milk of human kindness to sustain humanity’s thirst and hunger, even in a society where greed and selfishness is fast becoming a courted order. His virtue of honesty and commitment to the course of humanity stands him tall as a spirit personage.

23rd September, 2009, will for such a long time stay fresh in my mind. This was my first closest contact with this man of goodwill, whom I previously heard so much of. I will always be grateful to God who made that contact, a good lasting impression. As opposed to the fear of a possible let-down that trickled through my mind, as I walked up to him.

That day was when the Akwa Ibom International Airport, celebrated the landing of her inaugural flight, many in Onofiok’s advantaged position were already seen as demigods, but this star of Luke’s dynasty took to humility, just like his master, Chief Godswill Akpabio. While many people were being shoved for his colleagues to have a smooth walk to the tarmac, Onofiok had chosen to walk with the people to behold the lofty moments of that landing.
Moments after, I approached him to register my admiration with his disposition. Despite his barely knowing me, he offered I join him and the long queue of people who were with him to have a drink. I found life in that bottle of drink I shared with him, not because it was my first, but truly it was a first from a man I knew someday the world would celebrate. 

Truly greatness is contagious, and even more when it is channeled through a receptive vessel and source as Onofiok, such has been the story that changed so many things and made me know that just like Barr. Luke, the best form of leadership, was to be lost in the service of others. The humility he shows in dispatch of this service is breath taking, the awe that greeted his calling me by my name the next time he saw me, left an indelible impression in me; that I should never look down on anybody, a virtue I have religiously imbibed ever after.

His stint as Speaker of the Nigerian Youth Parliament, needs no mention as his name is interwoven in the success stories of that organization, which he meritoriously led to lime light, with so much zeal to see it bloom thereafter, the success is a story for another day, as I will not dwell in the task of recounting that this singular outing had put Onofiok on the international wall of fame, as a leading light in good governance, human rights and advocacy, because he did very well.  Stories of his five star performance in the youth parliament still reverberated when the public got wind of his intention to contest for the State House of Assembly, to represent the people of Nsit Ubium State Constituency in 2011, little was known of what he was capable of, since it was almost an accepted norm that people losses their known identities to the seeming pressure of public offices, which oft makes them insensitive to the yearnings of their people.

His representation, as expected by the generality of Nsit Ubium people, was to be a clear departure from their previous experiences, but not too long they realized they had given Akwa Ibom a super legislator who would see the entire state as his constituency. He has in so many ways shown he represents the state and not just Nsit Ubium, as evidenced in his contributions to making life better and meaningful for people, regardless of their origin and leanings.
No wonder it is established in public discourse that the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly can only boast of two members which include Onofiok Luke and the rest. This in no way is intended to put his colleagues to disrepute, but I am also not supposed to disregard the truth in this sense. At least not when every part of the state craves they had a legislator in half of Onofiok’s mould, who understands the need for mandate delivery and loyalty to the people.

While I will not go into his numerous interventions for fear of diminishing some of his colleagues, who are still grabbling with the courage to stand the task of mandate delivery, it is incisive to note that this fire brand Legislator-General, in support of the Governor Godswill Akpabio free education policy, has churned out graduates he personally sponsored through schools in almost all the Local Governments Areas of the state, in  his drive to ensure the state is well positioned for the challenges of leadership which only good education can afford.

On human capital development, nobody can ever do it better than a man who at all times puts himself in the people’s shoe, just to have a feel of what they do. How then would one explain his determination at ensuring there is food on peoples table young and old alike. From start up seed for businesses, to professional trainings he has been consistent at giving young people a life.
Known by the name “ono owo nkpo nte edim abong offong” he has set a template in empowerment that makes him go the extra mile of giving, even his all, to the comfort of his people. I recall when he once told me that he doesn’t crave to be so rich, but prefer every man should have a little and enough to make life to round.

I will not go into an audit of the numerous cars he has given out, since it may call to questioning his finances, as most people would be oblivious of the fact that Onofiok Luke can give his last in a bid at ensuring everyone lived well. He has been a pillar to the church, an icon and role model to the youths as well as a properly sited example in people minded passion.

Make no mistake about this; his core responsibility of law making has not been made to suffer, even in his strive to see his people fare better in all their concerns. It has been established that most guests throng the assembly chamber’s gallery just to hear this illustrious son of Itreto community speak. The depth and wisdom that characterizes his presentations is second to none, as he is always on the side of the people at all times, regardless of whose ox is gored.

His widely acclaimed legislative, leadership and entrepreneurial mentorship known as the Onofiok Luke Legislative Internship Programe (TOLLIP) which draws participants from all over the State across age and political divide is a foremost initiative worthy of emulation by our leaders, as this is a well tailored strategy aimed at training and raising the mental consciousness of Akwa Ibom people to the safe heavens which enlightenment, resourcefulness and independent mindedness has to offer.

Without much ado, I respect his deference to people’s choices. This is one Leader who never compels anybody to support what he does, but give the leverage for his followers to guard their choices with their personal convictions. I respected him more when he advised I should hold sacred my conviction to support the Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, for next year’s gubernatorial elections, and not allow anybody mislead me into a course I believe less in, as everyone was at liberty to support who is best for them and the state.

All glory to God, whenever the roll is called on who would be the best governor for Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, would always stand tall, bearing in mind his aspiration just as Luke’s, is the people’s craving. Knowing and believing that “what is right can never be wrong” Thank God our state has been blessed by men in the ilk of Udom Emmanuel and Onofiok Luke.

In the build up to 2015 general elections, while some others are asking for a mandate to do what they failed to previously do, I feel thrilled when I hear some aspirants to the State Assembly promise to perform like Onofiok Luke. Truly he has set a standard in legislation and leadership, a standard the rest constituencies in the state must of a necessity follow, if we must sustain the tempo of accolades and reckoning our state has attained on the African turf.
Interestingly, it was Abraham Lincoln who said “I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed but I am bound to live by the light that I have…” in winning, being true, succeeding and in showing the light, Onofiok has been exemplary. No wonder he is known and addressed as “The grand Commander of the Masses” (GCM)

The saying that the reward for good work is more work holds true for the people of Nsit Ubium whom I at this juncture would congratulate for allowing the light Onofiok offers, to keep illuminating their paths in the committed resolve to see him return to continue his good works in the hallowed chambers of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in 2015. This I must say, is a proof of your determination to stay on top of the situation in giving a direction and future to your children and generations yet unborn

Conclusively, let me remind the Nsit Ubium people that you have what others are painstakingly searching for, and as such can be sure of the support of the entire state at ensuring Onofiok Luke is encouraged to keep doing more.  I and other well meaning Akwa Ibom people are with you on this, let us jointly proclaim “this is the way, walk yea in it”

One million gbosa! To Com. Barr. Onofiok Luke, The Grand Commander Of Aluta Movement. I duff my hat for the father and image of “Robust legislative engagement”

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