Women are one of the major stakeholders in the development project of any society. Globally and sadly, the issues of women marginalisation and low participation in political leadership and decision making have remained worrisome. Most practices and situations, especially, in the third world nations, have continued to make the involvement of women in leadership, especially, in the political sphere, very difficult. Nigeria is not an exception.
However, there are few women who, having had an opportunity, have challenged the seeming dichotomy between men and women in power. Senator Akon Eyakenyi PhD, is not a new name in this part of the world. She represents Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District in the Nigerian Senate and has before now, held various positions of authority with very laudable footprints. She adds credence to the adage that “what a man can do, a woman can do, even more.”
Senator Akon Eyakenyi has proven beyond doubts, that although women and men have different biological and physiological make-up, they (women) share common features with men in terms of educational qualification, intelligence, socioeconomic status and can excel in any sphere.
The 9th National Assembly was inaugurated on the 11th of June, 2019. It was on that same day adjourned for 2 weeks to enable NASS leadership allocate offices to members to settle in. After 2 weeks the Senate resumed plenary and standing committees were yet to be constituted. This was the third week since inauguration but the first week the legislators resumed parliamentary work formally.
The duties of a parliamentarian are; to make laws, undertake oversight functions and represent their people in the parliament. Distinguished Senator Akon Eyakenyi PhD is in the parliament for the first time. Normally, it would be expected that she would take some time to learn the ropes of legislative business. This was not the case as Senator Akon Eyakenyi hit the ground running when she was barely 3 weeks in the Senate. Eleven months after, Senator Eyakenyi has shown focus, zeal and determination in her service to her people. With her recent strides, one would have no doubt, that the Senator is a compassionate mother to all.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the existence of mankind and forced many businesses to close down, with many who depend on their daily income for survival, groaning in hardship. However, in Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, Senator Eyakenyi rose to help the situation when she supported more than 300 individuals with cash to help them cushion the adverse effects of the COVID-19 lockdown. In fact, she has donated to groups within and outside the Senatorial District. To be very specific, there is hardly a day the Senator does not help one person or the other since the lockdown was ordered by Akwa Ibom State Government. That is leadership!
Let’s cast our minds back. Less than 2 months in office, Senator Eyakenyi launched her Youth Skills Acquisition Training Scheme which started off from Oron Federal Constituency in August, 2019. Eket and Ikot Abasi Federal Constituencies took their turns in September and October respectively. In all, the Senator trained over 400 youths of Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District in Scaffolding, Industrial Safety and Rigging. The significance of this is that Senator Akon Eyakenyi is bent on reducing youth restiveness-thuggery, cultism, drug abuse etc,- by engaging the youths in useful venture that will up their living standards. The best way to help a man is not give him fish but teach him how to fish.
Senator Eyakenyi has also sponsored a Football Tournament for inmates of Eket Correctional Centre besides making donations to the Centre’s management for the upkeep of the centre.
The Senator is also quite concerned about the health status of her people and so, in November, 2019, Senator Eyakenyi cosponsored free medical services for the people of Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District where several persons were treated. Over 600 eyeglasses were given out to people besides free drugs given to many. Lots of surgeries (major and minor) were performed during the outreach that lasted for more than 10 days.
Again, within the same November, Senator Akon Eyakenyi reached out to students with grants, extended empowerment packages to women and the physically challenged within Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District. During the last Christmas and Easter Celebrations, the Distinguished Senator reached out to hundreds individually and in groups both in kind and cash.
On the 24th of February, 2020, the Senator celebrated her birthday with over 250 widows selected from across the state. Each of them went back home with empowerment package from the Senator.
Several have been supported in school while many more are still drawing regular support from the Senator to to further their education. The Senator has sponsored burials for many, taken care of medical bills of many, paid rents for several who were at the verge of being thrown out by their landlords; empowered several individuals to start up businesses.
On the floor of the Senator, the Dame has been very active. On the 2nd of July, 2019 the passionate and energetic Senator Eyakenyi presented her first motion on “Urgent Need to Address the Sorry State of Computer Education by Providing Training for Teachers and Basic Computer Facilities in Public Schools.” The motion was well received and deferred till the setting up of Senate Committees. It was eventually referred to Senate Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary) upon the setting up of Standing Committees of the Senate. The committee went to work and subsequently presented a very robust report which was adopted and forwarded to the relevant ministry, departments and agencies of government for implementation.
Senator Akon Eyakenyi further sponsored another motion on “Urgent Need to Address The Menace of Banditry In The Gulf of Guinea And Nigerian Waters.” This was another motion that caught the attention of the Senate. It received a swelling support across political divides and geopolitical spread. The motion which was referred to the Senate Committee on Maritime Transport produced a far reaching report which was adopted and resolutions taken thereto. Besides the above mentioned motions, Distinguished Senator Akon Eyakenyi co-sponsored the following motions:
a) Motion On The Need To Increase Funding To Primary Health-Care Centres
b) Urgent Need To Ascertain The Status of Nigeria’s Extended Continental Shelf Project And The Constitution Of An Ocean Advisory Committee
c) The Deplorable Conditions Of Ikot Ekpene-Umuahia Highway Linking Akwa Ibom State and Abia State
d) Existing Petroleum Subsidy, Ensuring Self-Sufficiency In Demostic Refining of Petroleum Products.
e) Urgent Need To Look Into Incessant Loss of Commuter Lives on Our Waterways.
f) The Urgent Need To Establish A Medical School At Modibbo Adam University of Technology, Yola And To Upgrade The Federal Medical Centre, Yola, To A University Teaching Hospital.
g) Urgent Need To Review And Recover Additional Revenue Accruable To The Government of the Federation From Sharing Contracts Pursuant To Section 16 Of The Deep Offshore And Inland Basin Production Sharing Act Cap D3 LFN 2004
h) Urgent Need To Perform The Housing Mortgage Financing In Nigeria To Meet The Escalating Housing Demand In The Country.
Senator Akon Eyakenyi has also sponsored a Bill To Repeal the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron Act And To Establish The University of Maritime Studies, Oron And Related Matters. The Bill has since been referred to Senate Committee on Maritime Transport and a public hearing was scheduled to hold for stakeholders to have the opportunity to contribute to the making of an acceptable law to establish a Maritime University in Oron before the lockdown occasioned by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. It is however certain that the public hearing shall go ahead as planned immediately after the lockdown.
The Senator has as well given good account of herself with respect to oversight functions. Senator Eyakenyi has virtually visited every part of Nigeria both onshore and offshore. She has travelled to various countries in Africa and beyond in the course of her duties. Senator Akon Eyakenyi has been inducted into Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians and other reputable organisations, and these further gives credence to the fact that, our Senator knows what she’s doing.
With respect to representation, Senator Eyakenyi has done creditably well by speaking up on the floor of the senate in favour of her constituency and Akwa Ibom State as a whole. She equally reports progress to her constituency on a very regular and constant basis.
Senator Eyakenyi was the first amongst the first time senators who opened a Constituency Office so Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District constituents can have unfettered access to her. In order to empower youths of her constituency, she employed well over 60 staff. While some work in the expansive and well-furnished Constituency Office, others are to serve within their respective Federal Constituencies as linkmen to the office of the Distinguished Senator.
She has facilitated the employment of some of the trained youths of the Senatorial District. Others have equally been assisted to secure employments in State and Federal Government agencies, departments and institutions. She has helped many get enlisted in several paramilitary services while many are awaiting enlistment.
Senator Akon Eyakenyi has assisted over 500 of her constituents to get enlisted into the Federal Government Social Investment Schemes like N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer and the likes. Senator Eyakenyi has several other programmes designed to empower her constituents beyond the lockdown (Post COVID-19). She is always ready to attend to any and every call to serve the owners of the mandate she holds.
No individual leader shall be able to solve everybody’s problems. Governance is a continuous process. This explains why government budgets its programmes per period of time. Resources are limited while human wants are insatiable, hence, no leader can undertake to do everything or solve everyone’s problems at the same time.
Senator Akon Eyakenyi means well for Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District. She is faithfully committed to serving her people. Let’s keep supporting her to serve us better. Let’s encourage her for the little she has done while putting across our requests and inputs meaningfully. Let’s pray for our leaders and give them the cooperation needed to enable them deliver on their mandates.
Together we shall move Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District forward as Senator Eyakenyi is on course to deliver on her promise to offer Akwa Ibom South a BETTER DEAL!
©️ FRANCIS EYO
SA on media to Distinguished Senator Akon Eyakenyi Ph.D