Hon. Nse Essien is the Member representing ONNA state constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and the Deputy Chief Whip of the sixth Assembly, in this interview with AKBC Radio, 90.5FM, he talked on state and national issues.
Good morning Honourable Deputy Chief Whip…
Good morning Akwa Ibom people, it’s my pleasure to be here once again, as your guest on AKBC Radio.
How has it been in the state House of Assembly?
First of all, I give thanks to God who had designed that I be in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, through the privilege and vote of my people and through the benevolence of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel. One year and some months now have been really challenging and rewarding because one was prepared for this task in life.
What are the challenges like?
The challenges have been very enormous. You know when we went on campaigns, we did say we will be able to do this and that; we passed through villages where there were no light, no streets; community where there were no portable waters and so some, we have been able to achieve through influence using our positions in government. We try as much as possible to use this position to attract positive developments to our people. It may not have been as we desired, this are the challenges but, in all, we have done our best to ensure that the people benefit from the government.
As we speak, can we point out a few things you have achieved?
Definitely, I can tell you that a village like Akpabum has not had electricity light for about 12 years now but, by the grace of God, a team came from the Ministry of Science and Technology, went into the village in regards of Solar energy generation there, and the people are very happy and grateful to the Governor for this. I have given the community a state of the arts sporting complex; a better one to the one located in Itam junction area in Itu LGA which is adjacent to the NNPC Mega Station. This one is a better one because, it comes with a boarding facility; a swimming pool; the standard volleyball court; the sitting terrace for footballers and lawn tennis. We tried as much as possible to attract this programme to the people. We have also opportunity to hear the needs of our people. For instance, when the Governor came to inspect the project, we had the privileged of letting him know that teachers have abandoned schools. Immediately after that, the Permanent Secretary called me and said that about forty (40) NYSC members have been posted to the area. It is unprecedented, even in Nigeria, I am not sure that such number have been posted to a school before because, teachers refused to be giving there. But now, the encouragement is there because a sporting facility is there.
What has been the modus operandi in achieving this?
Relationship. I have kept a good relationship because of my sojourn in life. I have made good friends for over 20 years who are in government today, so if ask them for anything, it will be a privileged to be obliged, we know ourselves and know that we can attract development to our people.
So, your people can relax and expect more goodies courtesy of your Representation?
Definitely, I still have more because; I have 42 villages in my L.G.A. I want to touch the young people. I intend to raise one per village in skill acquisition programme. I am equipping them. The intention is that the man who will manage the program will also be empowered because at the end of my tenure, he will continue; I am not going to be paying him; he will train these young people and also make his money from the programme. I am negotiating with my friends who can help me acquire ICT equipment, so that young people who are assigned into ICT can make a head way in life.
With such a programme for your people, do you have any complain as far as ONNA people are concern?
Well, my people have not told me that they are not happy with me because, they knew my capacity before they sent me to the House of Assembly.
How do you feel being appreciated by your people?
It is the grace of God; I thank Him for His mercies. The people of Akwa Ibom State here also appreciated me; loved me and encouraged me. I don’t blow my trumpet around. My income has hindered me from doing more to my people.
How would you describe the sixth Assembly?
The assembly is the people’s assembly. Like I talked about relationship, we have known each other, the 26 of us for over 20 years; it is easy to work together as a family, so we work as a united family in the sixth Assembly.
What is the relationship between the state legislators and the other arms of Government?
It is very cordial, with the Executive, Judiciary. We have a good working relationship. Our own is to make laws, the Judiciary interprets and the executive implements the laws. We work in synergy in the developmental strides.
How would you describe the Government of Mr Udom Emmanuel for past one year in office?
We would not have asked for a better Governor than Udom Emmanuel especially, now with the present economy. We needed a sound man who understands the economy and with the dynamics of leadership who has seen money and has managed money for people. If you give somebody money to manage, what you asked him to do is to make profits for you.
Governor Udom Emmanuel has been making profits all his life for people, and companies; it is expected that he should make profits for Akwa Ibom people. I say it anytime, that nothing less is expected from him because of his high pedigree. The people of Akwa Ibom state expected a lot and that is why you see him trying to make the people understand why they voted him into power.
Would you talk about the crisis rocking your political party, the PDP?
Yes! PDP is a family. Even in homes, husbands and wives do have crisis. What is happening now in PDP is unfortunate. And, it is unfortunate that the pronouncements of some court Judges would come out the way you see. The matter is an internal affair of the party and it will be sorted out internally.
Does it worry you on your party chances of winning in the next general elections come 2019?
It does not actually worry me. I have stood for elections and won on the ballot. It is not a name that appears but the party, by and large, whoever the party brings in any contest, Nigerians know that person is better. The internal crisis is not affecting us in anyway, but I can assure you that if we go for any election now, we will win; by and large, the court will decide, even if, it will head to the supreme court, one day the court will decide.
If you have opportunity, how would you want this issue to be resolved?
It is a family affair; the courts must encourage us to settle it internally. Ali Mudo Sheriff was brought in as a child of necessity. The same people that brought him in now said no! Step aside, why is he recalcitrant? You know the foundation of this Party? Sheriff came from the APP, moved to ANPP, joined with APC. The conscience of the party is with the BoT, who are the founders of this Party. Sheriff must give peace a chance because; PDP is a viable opposition in Nigeria.
What have been those things that drive you in life?
If God gives you a position, you have to understand that, it is a privilege; you are not better than the next person. I am not a professor, so I may not have been the best for this position but, God chose me; my people also through God whom He used to raise me because, I feel so privileged; I must be thankful every time to God first. I must also be thankful to my people. The love of my people has been the driving force.
What is your last word for ONNA people?
My people must believe in God because there is nothing God cannot do. They must support the Governor of Akwa Ibom State whom God has found favoured enough to lead Akwa Ibom State. It is incumbent on Akwa Ibom people to support him and give him a chance to industrialise the state. I sincerely believe that His Excellency, the governor, before he finishes in the next six and half years because, he is going for a second term that is for sure. He will leave this state better than he met it. We must support him and hope in God all times because; with God all things are possible.
Talking about second term for the governor, will you also seek a second term for the ONNA State Constituency in 2019?
I have a mandate for one-term, so it’s renewable but, I will not talk about it for now, when we get to the bridge, we will cross it.
Thank you very much for your time with us.
It is my pleasure, God bless Akwa Ibom state; my commitment is always to the people.