Monday, 21 September 2015

Nse Essien: Another emerging super lawmaker?

Nse Essien: Another  emerging super lawmaker?


Returning to the state  assembly complex  last week from the Ministry of Education where I went to cover my boss and his led House of Assembly Committee on Education’s familiarity visit to the ministry, I could not believe my eyes on what they saw. An invitation to a constituency briefing? I had asked myself in disbelief. It must be that of the outgone 5th Assembly, as I concluded within me.

To confirm my thought, I had silently picked up the letter to have a keen perusal, but confirming my surprise, the invitation was rather from a member of the current 6th assembly requesting boss’ presence at a proposed (as it then was) constituency briefing to be done by Otuekong Nse Essien (the popularly known “Indomitable”) who is currently speaking for the people of Onna State Constituency (“including His Excellency, the Governor”, like he is always fond of saying).
But it was barely three months since this lawmaker alongside his colleagues assumed office for a four year tenure, how come he is already set to brief his constituents? Couldn’t he have waited till at least, after a year before taking up such financially onerous task, considering what a genuine constituency briefing in a Nigerian polity involves? Well maybe he was not planning something big, so I thought; but this time, I had decided to reserve my conclusion(s) until after the event.

Well, since it is against my principle to be found where I was not invited to, especially where the event in question has no business with my journalism profession, this very one, though I was interested in the report, unfortunately could not have my presence. But then, the good news was that the lawmaker must have had more than enough media coverage, considering the number of press men that turned out for the event, according to reports at my disposal- same reports which confirmed that the Onna born lawmaker had made nonsense of the local adage: “asop ubok udia, a’temme ndisi”. Meaning in English translation: “he who hurries while preparing a meal, usually ends up having his meal half-cooked”.

Now from the information I had from colleagues who attended the event, Otueokong Nse Essien’s hurry to prepare a meal of democratic dividends for his constituents, in no way, affected his ability to have his meal properly cooked. The shortness of the period notwithstanding, his constituents and even witnesses, I believe, had more than what their expectations could conceive.

Aside the shock of the too-sooner-than-envisaged-briefing, the Hon Essien I know, was in the first place, not the type that was expected to be a mandate flop to and for his people. He may not have held any renowned public office before now, but from the little records he was able to keep, it is obvious that he never was, and never would be. Nursing this long-held passion for service to his people, Otuekong Essien eventually won the mandate to serve his people in the state legislative chambers, same mandate he took up with so much commitment, enough to see him through the dream he has always had.
Beginning with his primary duties, Otuekong Essien took up the business legislation with much vigour, proposing bills, advocating same, and taking active part in all activities of the house requiring the generality of efforts of all members, not with the intent of having his pockets filled at the end, but just by way of contributing his quota to the well-being of the society and development of the state.

Even Speaker Aniekan Uko who leads the house could not spare the slightest opportunity in telling the world how much value he has found Otuekong Essien who also serves his led house as Deputy Chief Whip. In Mr Speaker’s exact words, “Hon Nse Essien has shown commitment towards effective representative of his people. He is one man you cannot regret having him as your representative in the state House of Assembly. If there is any lawmaker who walks into my office with motions, bills is Hon. Otuekong Nse Essien, so you are lucky to have him as your representative, I hold him in high esteem because he has the interest of Onna people at heart”

Aside Mr Speaker who perhaps, barely knew Otuekong Essien before the dawn of the 2015 political showdown in he state, some kinsmen, fellow Onna-rites, whose knowledge of of the lawmaker can be easily conceded as in depth, all had their respective good words to describe the pace setting lawmaker.

From the mouth of his leader at the local government level, Bishop Ufot Sunday, the world on that day knew that Otuekong Essien was, and maybe still, is the only person as far as Onna is concerned, that will make the governor proud, cater for all the facets of the society, as well as create a lasting unity bond between the area and other areas in the state.

Also through his representative in the Green Chambers, Mrs Owoidehe Ekpoattai, the world on that day knew Otuekong as a legislator par excellence, whose empowerment capacity was second to none.

Though not the last except for the purpose of this piece, a former council boss of the area, Hon Pat Ifon who allegedly represented the All Progressives Congress (APC) faction at the event also brought to the knowledge of the world that Otuekong Essien, in his versatility can also serve as a bonding glue because despite the shortness of time he has spent in office so far, he has been able to unite all political factions in the area. Here are his words verbatim... “I am speaking as a representative of the other Onna people; we thank you very sincerely, because you have brought Onna people beyond every divides together. That for me is very critical and important because a divided house cannot stand”.

With or without these words of encomiums on the lawmaker, reports from eye witnesses were glaring enough to force a conviction even on critics that the Onna lawmaker has, in just 100 days in office, surpassed expectations in his performance. His commendable efforts so far has portrayed a level of unrelenting commitment to step up living standards for his people through empowerments, motions and bill presentations. 

With all of what is on record, including the monthly setting aside of 2 million naira for empowerments, which has seen him empower well over 120 persons across the state so far with salaries ranging from N150,000 to N10,000 every month; 93 being his constituents and the other 27 randomly distributed... a monthly financial support of N200,000 to Akwa United Football Club every month, with a cumulative N9.6m expected to part ways with the lawmaker by the end of the four years period that the empowerment scheme is proposed to run... and the provision of scholarships to indigenes and facilitating the training of youths in ORACLE, Agriculture and other skilled labour, to mention but a few.

Now, despite the near excellent record so far put up and the commendations these have attracted, an apparent unwillingness on his part never to allow complacency any chance, has seen him dropping another promise to gradually step up these packages intermittently, while hoping on the abundant grace of the Almighty to make it come in form of cars, motorcycles, sewing machines, etc, someday. And now the question his, is this, and could this be another emerging super lawmaker?

Summarily, whether one’s response to the above simple, profound yet rhetorical interrogative goes in the affirmative or its reverse, truth remains that no one needs to like the face, policies and/or political courses of Otuekong Nse Essien before accepting these two points of fact... (first) that he has performed creditably well and has so far shown the desire to not just see, but also contribute to the betterment of the society... and (secondly) that should he continue consistently in this path and spirit, even the distance to the sky will be too short to limit him. And with these visible prospects, this lawmaker, above other things, needs genuine supports from all angles to succeed. Hence, as a friend (not a close one though) and an distant admirer of his, I have thrown in mine and will keep doing same, by way of encouraging him in this noble path.

However, the glittering prospects notwithstanding, inconsistency and loss of focus has over the years been an undiscardable feature of man- that one real, yet, invisible an ever disputable factor that has always limited the attained height of a growing man. But then, while hoping that the Indomitable Nse Essien remains ever above the aforementioned distractions, hurrying to declare him perfect, methinks will be more of a fallacy of hasty conclusion; though it doesn’t change him from the rising star that he is, and a fast rising one at that. Be that as it may, we are still on the watch, as time will sure tell.

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