By Iniodu Bassey, Esq.
I would not have had a compelling reason to be at Ikot Esenam Obom on that fateful Monday if not that one of my cousins was going to benefit from Rt Hon Udo Kierian’s empowerment programme.
July 17, 2017 was the day Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian has set aside for his Constituency briefing cum empowerment programme.
Ignatius, my cousin who had lived with us when he was younger had invited me to the constituency briefing cum empowerment ceremony of the lawmaker since he was one of the beneficiaries. Since we arrived at the venue early enough, we were lucky to find a strategic place to sit somewhere in front. This helped me to see everything that happened and hear each of the speakers audibly enough.
When he stood up to make his remarks, His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel said something about Rt Hon. Udo Kierian that made me went back home and dug deeper to get more information about Rt. Hon. Kierian’s stewardship at the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly.
Governor Udom Emmanuel said of Udo Kierian at the event “Today, through what you have done here, you have achieved one important thing: Using public office to make a positive impact on the lives of the people who gave you the mandate. That is what Public service is all about. And that is what I stand for. And to you the beneficiaries,through what is doing today your lawmaker is handing over a ladder to all of you which could help you to scale to the top, and this is in line with the Dakadda philosophy which this administration espouses. You have to be willing to use the resources you are given today to rise to your greatness. And then let me say to you Rt Hon Kierian that the reward for commendable performance is more work. Hence you must be prepared to always accept the call of your people to serve them in even higher capacities whenever they decide to call upon you to serve them.”
A peep into the programme of event showed that Rt Hon. Kierian gave out 13 Mini Buses for 13 persons (one per ward), 2 Mini Buses for women cooperatives, 28 Motor Bikes, Generating sets, Computers, Mechanic Tool Boxes, Welding/Fabrication Machines, Video Camera, Sewing Machines, Barbing kits, Carpentry Tool Box, Hair Dryers, 5,000 customized Exercise books and other items including millions of Naira doled out as Business support fund for youths and women Bursary and to PDP Chapter Executives in the area.
In my effort to dig into the record of stewardship of Rt. Hon Udo Kierian after that day, I was highly inspired when I found that the present Leader of the 6th Assembly State Legislators has, apart from his socio-economic interventions for the people, also set a record for himself as one of the lawmakers who have sponsored the highest number of people-oriented bills at the Assembly.
Take the Public Private Partnership Council Bill chiefly sponsored by Rt Hon Udo Kierian in league with a few other lawmakers, and passed by the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly in November last year as a case in point. That bill seeks to among others things to protect the economic interest of Akwa Ibom people through an established public-private partnership council.
When he spoke shortly after the passage of the bill, Speaker Onofiok Luke said had said the Public Private Partnership Council Bill will regulate the rules of government-private sector engagement against the remote possibility that either government or private players may want to bend partnership rules at the expense of the masses.
In 2016, Rt Hon Udo Kierian had also earned for himself the admiration of his colleagues in the house and many Akwa Ibom people through the sponsorship of a bill to make for the effective collection and administration of revenue in Akwa Ibom state. The bill has the sole aim of helping to boost the revenue profile of the state.
When he led debate on the bill during one of the plenaries last year, House Leader, Hon. Udo Kierian Akpan had explained that the intention for the bill was not to scrap the already established state Internal Revenue Service but, that it was intended to inject more professional expertise in the revenue generation and management system while encouraging efficiency.
Last month, one of the people-centric bills sponsored by the House Leader, Rt Hon Udo Kierian Akpan –The Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2016 was read for the second time. The cerebral and vocal lawmaker had hinted while leading debate on the bill that the bill when passed and assented to will also ensure prudent management of funds in a transparent manner while regulating financial transactions in line with the due process.
A careful look at all the bills sponsored, motions moved, actions at the committees he has chaired or acted in as a member as well as initiatives pushed forward by Rt Hon Udo Kierian Akpan will reveal one truth: that he is deliberate and proactive about giving the people best in terms of representation.
For instance, the various beneficiaries of the business starter packs he distributed during his empowerment program should be earning living right now.
In all, it is instructive for as people of Oruk Anam State Constituency to note that this five-star representative and former labour leader has already left a formidable template for representation which will take tasking efforts to fill. We will become of all people most miserable if we settle for anyone who would take us back to the dungeons of ineffective representation. I do join my faith with majority of Oruk Anam people who are either praying for his reelection as the member to represent us or to be called for a higher services. I will also stand with them to take actions to make this come to pass!
Well done and Congratulations in advance Rt Hon Udo Kierian!
*Udo Iniodu, a legal practitioner is an indigene of Ikot Akpan Essien in Oruk Anam and wrote this piece from Abak.