An age long adage says that empty vessels make the loudest noise, a statement which metaphorically answers the question of how and why a gold fish cannot hide.
In a time when politicians have turned themselves to town criers, making so much noise in an effort to gain relevance and broadcast how they have given keke or motorcycle to one or two people in a whole constituency, here is a diary of a man who dislike blowing his trumpets, despite his five star performance in all his political journey.
Rt. Hon Francis Uduyok, the member representing Ikot Abasi Federal constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Abuja is a man who has paid his dues in the political arena in the state and has at different times shown competency in shouldering the socio-political and economic burden of the electorates.
The odyssey of his political ascension portrays a gradual elevation from the very infantry level of Students’ unionism as worldwide president of all Eastern Obolo students, Special Assistant to a former state lawmaker, two term Local Government Chairman and now Member, Federal House of Representatives, Abuja.
This is in addition to a very juicy career he enjoyed in many companies and Federal Government parastatals , being a professional accountant trained by the University of Calabar, and at the verge of getting a masters degree from the University of Uyo.
The gradual political growth which comes with much experience garnered through learning from elderly politicians gives him a foundation that is largely unshakable, unlike if his ascension to political power was a quantum lip or sudden metamorphosis.
The saying that a gold fish cannot hide reveals the circumstances that culminated the choice of a none noisemaker like Rt. Hon. Francis Uduyok to his exalted office in Abuja.
The portrait of Hon Uduyok presents the personality of a silent achiever, whose impact is better felt than heard.
The lawmaker sees services to his people as his responsibility and not a favour to them, hence he prefers not to announce them, he rather make them spread across the length and breadth of any constituency his duty post locates at each given time.
A perusal of a list of his projects, services-delivered and achievements as a Local Government Chairman and House of Reps member makes one wonder if all these are happening in the same Akwa Ibom State considering what is obtainable in respective LGAs.
As a council boss between 2007 and 2015, he was one of the very few local government Chairmen who could among other things attempt road projects despite the difficulty and high cost of carrying out such a project in the coastal terrain and topology of the creek of Eastern Obolo Local government. While many other local government councils were overtaken by weed, he gave aesthetics to his council by building secretariat blocks, admin block, finance / Treasury block, ultra modern legislative block all in the Local Government headquarters.
He also carried out electrification projects in communities like Amadaka and iko, health Centers, school blocks, to many government primary schools in the area amongst so many other life touching projects running to tens of pages too numerous to list.
When it comes to empowerment, his ideology is that of the Chinese that it is better to teach a man how to fish, than giving a man fish. From his days as a Local government council boss, he has never been a rice and motorcycle politician, though he does it ones in a while at festivities due to the need of the time, but mostly he rather offered revolving loans for women, purchased over 30 cars as empowerment to supporters, and purchase of 4 fibre and 4 engine boats to ease transportation and constructed town halls in Isiotoyo and Emeroke communities.
As a lover of education, the welfare of students received prime attention as students bursaries were promptly paid, in addition to Sponsorship of law students in law school. Even workers were frequently trained and retrained, and over 15 working committees constituted, a practice that is very rare and almost alien to Local Government administration in this part of the country, in addition to prompt payment of salaries and allowances.
As a local government chairman of Eastern Obolo, his interventionist projects to his people which cannot be captured by this write up alone because of the volume, made Estern Obolo a reference point and a model in Local Government administration not only in Akwa Ibom State, but in the country.
The fact that his name is synonymous to development and empowerment is well known to his people and this must have been the reason the people stood by him against all odds in an election fiercely contested by political heavyweights from the three local governments, including a sitting House of Reps member who the people unseated on his behalf, in 2015 elections.
Just as the people who sort him out of his golden shield expected when they placed on his broad shoulders the audacity to speak for the people of the thee coastal local governments in National Assembly, the Eastern Obolo born MP has been a blessing to Akwa Ibom as a unit and the country at large through his useful contributions on the floor of the house.
For example, though a first term member, his astuteness and exposure has given him the courage to attain a level of relevance that most second and even third term members are wishing to attain. Apart from the fact that his contributions are always well received and treated with utmost importance, he has successfully sponsored up to three sensitive legislative bills in the lower chambers of the National Assembly, a feat that some longstanding members are still wishing to attain.
In the National Assembly he has sponsored motions on ALSCON reactivation, motion compelling the House members to honour and show solidarity to the victims of the Reigners Bible Church Collapse (the video of the House of Reps responds of course went viral online), motion on creation of additional State constituencies in Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria in accordance with our constitution.
As a legislator who is not only on ground but also has his eyes on the plights of his people, soon after he assumed office in Abuja he pushed a motion on dilapidated structures and abandoned projects at Federal Government Girls College, Ikot Obio Itong, Mkpat Enin LGA, Motion on completion of abandoned projects at Federal Medical Centre Uyo.
He also moved a motion on the reintroduction of toll gates to raise fund to boost our economy and co-sponsored motion on security on our coastal areas in Niger Delta Nigeria.
Talking about bills, he has sponsored some bills which are of national importance and have drawn the applause of public affairs analysts and commentators nationally and internationally. They include a bill for an act to establish election petitions tribunal to try electoral offences, a bill for an act to repeal the export prohibition act, to remove restrictions on selected items that could enhance exportation of goods to boost the economy and pending jungle justice bill amendment on past and former presidents’ entitlement act.
Away from bills, the myriad of ongoing projects he has attracted to his Federal Constituency have turned the whole area to a huge construction site to the jealousy of other Federal Constituencies who are feeling that the state government is focusing more on the area, not knowing that the green chambers man is responsible to an extent.
Through his lobbying skills and hard work even as a first time member he has spearheaded many projects for his people. Some are; construction of a Mini stadium at Okoroete Eastern obolo, 4 Classroom blocks at Secondary Commercial School Ibekwe, Ikot Abasi LGA, 4 Classroom blocks at Community High School Ekim Mkpat Enin LGA, renovation of 6 classroom block at Osong Mkpat Enin LGA, 3 classroom block at ife town Mkpat Enin LGA, 3 classroom at Ikot Esene Akpan Ntuen Mkpat Enin LGA, 3 classroom block at Ukam Mkpat Enin LGA, 3 classroom block at Qic primary school, Ife town Mkpat Enin LGA, Borehole project at QIC Primary School Ife Town, Store at QIC, Ife town Mkpat Enin LGA, 3 classroom block at Community Secondary Commercial school, Ife town Mkpat Enin LGA,
3 classroom block at African primary Ikot Eda Ife Mkpat Enin.
Recently too, even when most lawmakers were running away from the faces of their supporters and constituents due to inability to fulfill their promises of giving them a pat on the back for their support, he carried out a mind blowing empowerment scheme, giving out 10 saloon camry cars, 6 mini Buses, 40 sewing machines, 20 grinding machines, 60 motor cycles, 10 tricycles (keke), in addition to giving to Law students assistance scheme.
Additionally, his loyalty to his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has ensued peace and political stability in Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency.
Needless to say that the people are highly hopeful and anticipating that if he could do all these in such a short time, better days await them with Rt. Hon. Francis Uduyok on the saddle as their mouth-piece in the green chambers of the National Assembly.
Aniedi Ukoenang is a journalist and a public relations expert (firstname.lastname@example.org) 08065566247