Friday, 16 March 2018

Onofiok Luke: Celebrating a Colossus @ 40

He’s one man that has proven that  ability, capacity and capability is not in size but the size of the heart, mind and disposition to change narratives. 
Gifted not in excess flesh but in a large heart and unfathomable leadership prowess that has continued to leave many in awe and deep wonderment, this fine, erudite and cerebral politician has demystified the allure of power and position.

Today, as he waltz into the club of the 40-year olds, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Onofiok Akpan Luke can look back at where he started and conclude with refreshing candour that indeed, it has been God’s amazing grace that has guided him all through these years.
A socialite of noble renown, Barr.  Onofiok Luke is one politician that mixes freely with people irrespective of class, age, tribe, gender or faith. He is not just outgoing but his friendly disposition is both infectious and animating. Call him man of all, and you would have hit the nail on the right spot. He embodies egalitarianism.

Like water, this Nsit Ubium born politician, I dare say, has no enemy! You’ll tell me there’s no one on earth without an enemy right? You’re in order, but for me, I’ll say that those who see him as foe are only aghast by his meteoric and steady rise in the political firmament. You know how petty and uncomfortable people can be when grace continually speaks for you every other day.

Not one to engage in vainglorious display of flamboyance, Barr. Luke is an epitome of simplicity. He goes to places many who hold his position dare not. He’s someone that will share a glass of palm wine with you if he stumbles on you negotiating with this age long satiating liquid. He dips his hands into the same plate to help himself to cubes of meat if that’s what he met you doing. Sometimes, when he storms birthday parties of young people, you are left to wonder what manner of man he is. As the local lingo goes, he is constantly in touch with the ‘street’. 

Not that he does not understand or grasp the hallowedness and majesty of his office, but he is a chap who knows that while one is at the top echelon of life today, there was a time one was also on the other side of the divide. With this in mind, he often ensures that he keeps in touch with those society considers dismissively as flotsams and jetsams of society. This he does intentionally not to curry any favour or gain cheap publicity as some ignoramuses (no harm intended) are wont to think, it’s a trait that is natural to him.

Not too long ago, some goons aimed a misguided dig at him for eating corn at a popular spot on Itreto junction. They said he sought cheap popularity or was a bait to get sympathy from the people with an eye on election. This point was not only patently hollow but was weak in its roots, stem and branches.

He ate a corn at a time that was not a pre or election year. He didn’t gather cheerleaders or praise singers to chant political canticles in sheer eulogies of him as he sat comfortably, conversing with the women who sell at the spot while he sunk his teeth into this precious seasonal food crop and devoured it with legislative dexterity. If he keeps the people at arms length, critics will accuse him of alienating himself from those who often line in the sun to cast their votes for him. They’ll brand him with names most politicians have been called. But Luke is not that politician who surrounds himself with walls of security details so much that having just a glimpse of him becomes a trophy when one succeeds eventually.

Born on 16th March, 1978, Barr. Onofiok Luke has always proved that he is a born leader. His leadership résumé is not only curious but inspiring not to say intimidating. He is a onetime Student Union President (SUG) in the University of Uyo; onetime Personal Assistant to the then Governor, Sen. Godswill Akpabio on Protocol Matters; a onetime Speaker of the Nigerian Youth Parliament; a two-time legislator; one time Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, and Natural Resources; Committee on Judiciary, Justice, Human Right and Public Petitions; Committee on Education; Committee on appropriation and Finance; member of the Nigerian Bar Association, an Alumnus of the Harvard Business School; an Ambassador of the Obasanjo Youth Development initiative, an Honorary Texan.

And, other things being equal, this fine legislator, husband to one delectable wife and father of four adorable children will hit the Green Chambers of the National Assembly next year in a blaze of glory to represent and speak as articulately and courageously as ever for the good people of Etinan Federal Constituency.

What more, Barr. Luke has led the 6th Assembly with the finesse, gumption and remarkable deportment that can only come from him. Under his watch, there has been a a robust working relationship between the legislature and the executive. Many think that this is a rubber stamp House of Assembly. They miss the point because in as much as both must be independent of the other to give room to the much needed checks and balances, there’s also the need for both arms to work in concert for the development of the state. On this score, the Speaker often tells whoever cares to listen that it is an “Iron Seal Assembly”.  This is the culture that has been entrenched under Speaker Luke’s time as the number three citizen of Akwa Ibom State.

As this Five Star Akwa Ibom son hits the symbolic age of 40, our sincere prayers are with him on all fronts. We are certain that the next ten years which will see him join the golden club in grand style, will be amazingly fruitful and productive beyond bounds.

As one of those whose life has also been touched by this great Nigerian of great repute, I pray earnestly that God may give him the faith of Abraham, the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of Moses, the patience of Job and the innocence of Jesus to remain firm, unshaken and unperturbed by the cacophonous cackles of naysayers, not to say their fabricated tales and obstacles, but continue to march on with  good dose of equanimity in his divinely and amazing grace ordered political odyssey.

I wish our dear Speaker a superb happy fourtieth birthday and many happy returns of this momentous occasion! 

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