ADDRESS PRESENTED BY HON. (OBONG) BARR. IME BASSEY OKON, MEMBER REPRESENTING IBIONO IBOM STATE CONSTITUENCY AKWA IBOM STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ON THE OCCASION OF HIS CONSTITUENCY VISIT AND THE OFFICIAL COMMISSIONING OF HIS CONSTITUENCY OFFICE ON FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2012.
My dear Ibiono Ibom people, when you unanimously elected me to serve as your member in the 5th Assembly of Akwa Ibom State, you did so with expectations that I would periodically brief you on the activities of the House as they affect your well being in terms of my representation.
Today provides me the singular honour and privilege to present my score card to you as we mark the end of the first session of the 5th Assembly.
As you all know, the House was inaugurated on the 6th of June, 2011, and by the benevolence of the Speaker and the support of my colleagues, I serve as the Chairman of the Rules, Business, Ethics and Privileges committee in the House.
Today, my constituency office would be formally commissioned. The constituency office would serve as a rallying point for the collation, articulation and processing of your suggestions, ideas, comments and pieces of advice on the best way I can serve you. It will not be dormant, but, active and functional as it has been equipped, and staffed to respond to all your enquiries.
I had since adapted to the skills and processes of law making which is my primary duty as a legislator, and in exercising our duties collectively as a House and individually as members, we are always guided by the fact that our mandate is an expression of the trust of our people in us as those whose duty is to make laws for their well being and the overall development of our various constituencies. In the light of this understanding, I have contributed effectively and efficiently as the Chairman, Rules, Business, Ethics, and Privileges committee in all deliberations, resolutions, and bill passage processes in the period under review. I have sponsored one motion, and co-sponsored four bills which had all been passed into law.
I have built bridges of relationship and partnership that would bring about a gradual and progressive transformation of Ibiono Ibom. Already the partnership has started yielding some positive results in the different areas of our socio-economic development: the renovation of classroom blocks with offices, and conveniences at Community Secondary School, Ikot Usen is at advanced stage, the construction of a six classroom block at Primary School, Ikot Esen is ongoing, while the construction of a mini water project in Urua-abasi/ Ikot Okpoko community is advancing.
Within the period, a special fund has been created to extend financial assistance to needy constituents. So far, over one hundred indigenes of Ibiono Ibom have benefited from the scheme in the areas of health care, small business financing, education –( projects/school fees), community development, purchase of motorcycles/replacement of lost ones, and social welfare. Over four million naira has been spent in that direction. This is in addition to the monthly subvention of N100, 000 and N50, 000 to Ibiono Welfare and Development Union, IWADU, and Ibiono Ibom Staff Association in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly respectively.
Ten constituents through my recommendation have benefited from the Integrated Farmer's Scheme, while fifteen women have been empowered under the Women Agro-Entrepreneurship Development Programme. Through my recommendation, some Ibiono Ibom indigenes have gained employment in public and government establishments, including AKISIEC. In remembrance of the roles of our late politicians in the political development of Ibiono Ibom, the sons of the late chapter treasurer of our great party Mr. William Ebong, and the late Asukwo Ekpa are currently undergoing skills' acquisition training programmes under the Ibiono Ibom Constituency empowerment scheme. These facts can be verified from our constituency office. Under the Ibiono Ibom State Constituency Human Development Fund, twenty youths carefully selected across the eleven wards after due consultations are enjoying monthly grants to improve their businesses and welfare. Over N5million has been spent so far in that area. This is one of my humble ways of assisting in ameliorating the impact of unemployment in the society. Reports from the monitoring team have shown that the beneficiaries are doing well. Just yesterday, a quiz competition for Primary Schools in Ibiono Ibom sponsored by my office was concluded with prizes to pupils and schools that performed well. This is to boost the free and compulsory education programme of the State Government.
Today, in affirmation of my resolve to contribute to the betterment of our people, one 27 KVA sound proof generator is to be presented to one of my constituents. Six persons from the different political zones in Ibiono Ibom would be presented with vehicles to aid them in their mobility. These include one SUV, and five salon cars. Also the sum of five million naira would be disbursed as seed capital to various groups of persons, including, youths, widows, and the physically challenged. I charged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the fund so as to achieve the purpose of the scheme.
With effect from the next academic session, the sum of one million naira scholarship scheme would be inaugurated to cater for the educational need of our undergraduates and HND students in Nigerian recognized institutions of higher learning. A committee to be headed by Obong Ene Uwak is to be inaugurated next week to handle this assignment. Arrangements for another one million naira to be set aside for skills' acquisition programme for interested and qualified youths have been concluded.
Through my contacts with the various agencies of government, communities in Ibiono Ibom Western that were cut off from the national grid during the construction of Nung –Udoe –Itak-Oko-Ita road are now enjoying electricity. We have also made a compilation of villages in Ibiono Ibom that are yet to be linked to the power grid with the view to fast tracking the process of linking them to the national grid. As soon as we were inaugurated, I facilitated the linking of Ekimbok community to the national grid. The plight of Government Technical College, Ikot Ada Idem is receiving the attention of the State Government.
In liaison with other prominent Ibiono Ibom sons, I am working to actualize the projects earmarked in the 2012 budget for Ibiono Ibom. They include, the construction of access road to the Paramount Ruler's palace, the second phase of the Oko-Ita-Use-Ikot –Amama, the extension of road linking Idoro and other Communities, and the General Hospital at Oko-Ita, amongst others.
Despite the modest strides recorded so far, what I consider as one of my greatest achievements is the return of unity and peace to Ibiono Ibom. Today, you will all agree with me that we are enjoying peace, togetherness and harmony like never before in Ibiono Ibom. Knowing the importance of peace in the socio-economic development of any society, you would appreciate that we are already laying the foundation for our political and economic growth. We are building the necessary partnerships that would bring about our common and collective prosperity. We are forging relationships that would greatly improve the socio-economic development of Ibiono Ibom.
From where we are today, to where we are going, I am certain that the future looks brighter. The modest achievements recorded so far were made possible through the cooperation of several persons and groups which I cannot ignore.
I place on record the support and cooperation of the leader of our party in the state, and Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency, Chief Godswill Akpabio, (CON), and the Deputy Governor, Mr. Nsima Ekere.
The Speaker of the Akwa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Elder) Samuel Ikon has been exemplary in steering the affairs of the House in the last one year. I am persuaded to believe that in the coming years, he would certainly do more. Sir, I salute you. I cannot thank my colleagues enough for their show of solidarity and support. You have been worthy partners in the uncommon transformation of Akwa Ibom State. It's been nice working with you, even as I crave for more years of partnership and comradeship.
To you the people of Ibiono Ibom who through your votes made it possible for me to be your member in the House, I say thank you very sincerely. Your support for me so far has been my source of strength and courage. I promise that I will not fail you.
To my leader, brother, friend, and mentor, Obong Bassey Albert Akpan, Honourable Commissioner for Finance, Akwa Ibom State whose support has contributed in no small measure to my political height, I say a very big thank you. Your love for humanity is indescribable. To Chief Ime Albert Akpan, I say thank you for being a pillar of support. I will always remember you for your kindness and selflessness.
Otuekong Senator Ita Enang, you have been a source of inspiration to generations of legislators in Nigeria. I thank you for your support. I recognize the traditional institution in Ibiono Ibom, most especially, my father, the Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom and Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs, HRM (Dr.) Ime Udousoro Inyang whose royal blessings, encouragement, and support since I came in contact with him in 1997, have seen me through these past years.
I would not fail to specially recognize the members of Ime Okon Campaign organization and the Restoration Team for their labour of love.
I salute the leadership of our great party, the Peoples' Democratic Party, PDP, at the state, Ibiono Ibom chapter and the ward levels for their tremendous support.
To the political class, party elders, party men, women, youths, and other socio-political groups in Ibiono Ibom who toiled tirelessly to ensure my victory at the polls, I hold you in high esteem, and also wish to pledge my loyalty at all times to the cause of promoting unity, peace, progress, and development of Ibiono Ibom.
To our Chairman-Elect, Obong Godwin Ekpo, I congratulate and welcome you back to a familiar terrain. I acknowledge you as a worthy partner in the development of Ibiono Ibom. Be assured that you can always count on my support.
I would not fail to acknowledge the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN in Ibiono Ibom, and the various Churches for their prayers and tremendous show of love and care.
To my colleagues in the Nigerian Bar Association, the Academia, other professional groups in Ibiono Ibom, friends, well wishers and the media, you have been wonderful in your support for me, and I cannot fail to express my gratitude to you all.
If time and space have not permitted me to mention you in persons or groups, please accept my sincere appreciation for your sacrifice. I urge you to continue to support the government of Chief Godswill Akpabio in his uncommon transformation agenda. Let me assure that those who are not accommodated in today's exercise will be considered in subsequent empowerment programmes as this is just the beginning of better things to come. I solicit their patience and understanding.
I thank you all for your listening attention. God Bless Ibiono Ibom.
Hon. (Obong) Barr. Ime Okon.