Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Chief Nduese Essien: A fantastic Leader

Chief Nduese Essien: A fantastic Leader


In 1999 when there was need for effective representative of Eket Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, precisely the Federal House of Representatives in Abuja, a strong delegation of Ekid people was mandated to approach one of Ekid illustrious sons in the person of Rt. Hon. (Chief)Nduese Essien in his far away Calabar residence to intimate him of the woes and yearnings of his people for an effective representative in the National Assembly. 

The delegation became necessary because the lot for Ekid representation in the Federal House of Representatives, after extensive and careful search, fell on Chief Nduese Essien  like Prophet Samuel’s Biblical Anointing Oil on little “David”, the least son of Jesse.  No doubt, the choice of Chief Nduese Essien was triggered by his admirable role and impressive participation and commitment in the affairs of Ekid people.

But as it was the Divine Will of the Almighty God, Chief Nduese Essien did not postpone the glorious day and neither disgraced nor disappointed the delegation and indeed the entire Ekid people. He acted in good faith and agility perhaps based on his love and concern for his motherland when like the Biblical “David” he accepted to rise up, took the bull by the horn and challenged the Goliath that stood against Ekid representation in the National Assembly. Chief NdueseEssien’s allegiance to his motherland through his readiness, courage and determination acted like the Biblical David’s three stones that eliminated the Goliath being the spirit of levity and discouragement. 

Chief Nduese Essien, a graduate of  Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Business Administration from the famous Ahmadu Bello University, Zara, Kaduna State, an erstwhile Commercial Officer and later Assistant Advertisement Manager in the then Cross River State Newspaper Corporation, a former Lecturer in the Department of Business Administration in the then College of Technology (now Cross River State University of Technology), Calabar, a successful business consultant and renowned marketer of books and educational materials, a student activist and a community mobilizer in an Eket socio-cultural organization, Eket Development Union (now Eket People’s Union), Calabar Branch, needed no other experience to deliver the mandate of his Constituency in the National Assembly. 

Right in the Federal House of Representatives, available records have attested to his fitness and performance as a square peg in a square hole, a conscientious, humble, unassuming, polite and responsible steward, an astute and competent ambassador, a vocal and eloquent plenipotentiary. Whereas, back at home, he presented himself as a good errand boy and remained a highly favoured “Esau” who did not disobey his father but in total respect and humility, usually brought home his “Catch” in appreciation of his choice as the people’s representative, the mandate carrier.

Undoubtedly, Chief Nduese Essien also distinguished himself on the floor of the plenaries in the Federal Legislature by making constructive and meaningful contributions during debates on Bills, Motions and Resolutions. He was neither wanting in carrying out his oversight functions and regular participation in his committees, nor being idle or missing in the midst of the Legislators. He showed himself as a matured and highly responsible politician, an intellectual and good team player by emerging from a minority area to become a reliable and trust-worthy Cabalmember in the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly controlled and influenced by wealthy and dreadful members from the majority block. 

He never sold his birthright like the Biblical “Esau” or behaved as a black sheep or a controversial legislator who brought back shame and reproach to his motherland, the Ekid Nation, Akwa Ibom State or the Niger Delta Region. Rather, he brought smiles and pleasantries on the faces of his constituents throughout his tenure in the National Assembly. Indeed, he was committed to the advocacy, agitation and protection of the rights and privileges of his people in the Niger Delta Region, and Nigerians at large. No wonder, why he was selected among thorns of fleshes as the Chairman and mouthpiece of the South-South Parliamentary Caucus in the legislature during his tenure, a position not considered for a legislator of no repute, dishonesty, disloyalty, uninfluential and lack of affluence. 

After his successful first term representation, his tract records in the National Assembly spoke for him and the leadership and Cabal in the Federal House of Representatives were not comfortable without him because of the vacuum created by his absence, hence, the strong agitation for his return to the Legislature for a second term which was not resisted by his people in the entire Constituency. 

Accordingly, his opponent at the poll was not under any pressure to throw in the towel in favour of the popular choice of Chief Nduese Essien in recognition and appreciation of his unique representation. Indeed, his tenure in the second term from 2003 - 2007 was a period of stock-taking and his final score card was excellent. Nevertheless, his footsteps on the sands of time,his spirit of success and dynamic leadership prowess in the National Assembly captivated and inspired most of his successors who emulated him and acted to the fullest. These records amidst other reasons, motivated and prompted the people of Eket Federal Constituency to honour him with a befitting Reception in 2016 at the Eket Sports Stadium. Infact, the former National Legislator is a trail blazer; he set the pace for others to follow. 

Unfortunately, the zoning of the senatorial election in Eket Senatorial District in 2015 did not favour Eket Local Government Area, his nativity, else it could have been obvious for members of the Senatorial District to consider Chief Nduese Essien for the next higher political position as a Senator, as a mark of recognition and appreciation of his performances in the Federal House of Representatives. In the same vein, his subsequent appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic by President GoodluckEbeleAzikiwe Jonathan rather came as another form of appreciation and compensation for him. Although his tenure as the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development was shortlived, the establishment of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) station and the construction of a modern Civic Centre in Eket, the provision of rural pipe-borned water and overhead tanks project, the establishment of a new market with lock-up shops and parameter fence, the construction of many access roads within his country home, and the installation of solar light in some major roads and streets in Eket Local Government Area, among other achievements, have stood out as testimonies of his stewardship.

However, it has remained a bye-gone that the critics of Chief Nduese Essien had attempted to sabotage against him perhaps, for selfish motives, with the aim of robbing him of his membership of the State Caucus and the Senatorial Leadership of the People’s Democratic Party as well as the Political Leadership of Eket Local Government Area. Yet, his antecedents, pedigree and good conscience have successfully bailed him out of the malicious struggle and the God of Righteousness stood by him. But inspite of all the criticisms and challenges, Chief Nduese Essien is still determined to carry the cross as a good Samaritan. Perhaps, this patriot has made sacrifices in the course of his services to humanity or encountered losses occasioned by his critics, but whatever benefits he has derived are not worth being envious   because in every adventure there must be a reward. 

Aside from coordinating the activities of the People’s Democratic Party in his local government area as a merited political leader, Chief Nduese Essien today remains the mouthpiece of the entire Akwa Ibom people, the only thunderous,  unsilenced and uncompromising voice in the wilderness and the volunteer and martyr of the Oil and Gas producing communities in Akwa Ibom State in the struggle for the relocation of the Exxon-Mobil Headquarters from Lagos to the oil producing area, the overall operations base of Exxon-Mobil Company, the Oil Giant. Chief Nduese Essien has also distinguished himself as a selfless leader by synergizing the efforts of others to strongly agitate for relief measures from Exxon-Mobil Company in favour of the highly affected oil and gas producing communities suffering from hazardous oil spillage and gas flare prevalent in Exxon-Mobil exploration area.

Now that Chief Nduese Essien is championing these wars of emancipation, relief and national recognition, where are his critics and adversaries? Where are the self-acclaimed and opinion leaders in Eket Local Government Area, Eket Federal Constituency, Eket Senatorial District and indeed Akwa Ibom State generally as well as in the diaspora? Where are Akwa Ibom State representatives in the National and State Assemblies? Who can bell the cat in this struggle in the absence of Chief Nduese Essien, the man of the people, the Biblical “Moses” of our generation? Who among these ones can comparatively show boldness, courage, fearlessness and uncompromising spirit to become the Biblical “Joshua” in replacement of Chief Nduese Essien in the defense of Ekid and Akwa Ibom State interests generally in the party, in the government,during the National Conference as a State delegate and against the cunny and saddist Exxon-Mobil Company? Like a good and intelligent student, let Chief NdueseEssien’s equals and contenders clearly show themselves by lift of hand for public assessment. 

Above notwithstanding, Chief Nduese Essien as an undisputable achiever, has but one river to cross, a very little task that is within his ambit and which his integrity alone can easily overcome. 

Indeed, this unstressful task is the non-recognition of his “Ibeye Clan” in Eket Local Government Area which is long overdue by successive governments of Akwa Ibom State.  Chief Nduese Essien as a traditional title holder from many other clans and tribes in Nigeria such as the Atta of Ekid;  Ntrukpum Esit Eket; OnwaN’etiliora of Amansea, Anambra State; and Ada IdahaKeEfik Eburutu is therefore reminded of this pending matter and respectfully persuaded not to ignore his ancestor no matter any cogent reason, but should joyfully take advantage of his connections and ensure that his “Ibeye Clan” which blood runs in his veins sees the light of the day by being formerly recognized by the present Akwa Ibom State Government without further hesitation. Once this task is successfully accomplished, his name will be accentuated and written more colourfullywith an indelible mark of gold for the posterity.

The Ibeye Clan Council on their part should sink their differences, if any, and hurriedly arrange to honour Chief Nduese Essien with their highest traditional title without delay, in view of his outstanding and incomparable performances and achievements, and also to stimulate his willingness to take over the struggle for the recognition of the Clan. The honour by Ibeye Clan Council is not negotiable as it is logically unfair for other clans and tribes to have honoured this great Ibeye son while his bonafide clan has failed to recognize him.

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