By Patrick Effiom and Darlington Udobong
The gathering of who’s who in Akwa Ibom students’ politics across the tertiary institutions in Nigeria held at Macaire Resort in Ikot Ekpene, climaxed with the unanimous endorsement of Obong Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo for House of Representatives and Asuquo Nana for State House of Assembly in 2019.
Obong Ukpong-Udo and Asuquo Nana are candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for IKONO/INI Federal Constituency and Ikono State Constituency.
The epic event, which happened when the duo consulted the leadership of IKONO and INI students across the universities in the country, was vastly attended by Worldwide President of the National Association of Akwa Ibom State Students (NAAKISS), Worldwide President of the National Association of Ikono Students, Worldwide President of National Association of INI Students and all Chapter Presidents and Executives of each tertiary institution.
Climax of the event was the unanimous endorsement of Obong Ukpong-Udo and Asuquo Nana by the associations as their sole candidates for IKONO/INI Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives and Ikono State Constituency seat in the State House of Assembly ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Speaking, the students thanked the PDP candidates for IKONO/INI Federal seat and Ikono seat for consulting them irrespective of their status.
They said the endorsement was borne out of the need for IKONO and INI to have quality representation which in turn is geared towards the development of the area and indeed Akwa Ibom State.
The students’ groups described Obong Ukpong-Udo and Nana as assets and men who have greatly affected the lives of the people of the area, especially the students, through various financial assistance.
While enumerating the numerous laudable developmental projects of the Governor Udom Emmanuel-led government, the students said the basis for for their endorsement stemmed from it, adding that “the association trust and believe in Macaire (Obong Ukpong-Udo) and Mbakara (Nana to deliver good and equal democratic dividends, if elected. It is our duty to elect them come 2019 general election.”
Responding on behalf of the team, Obong Ukpong-Udo thanked the students’ leadership for the trust and confidence reposed on him and Asuquo Nana.
Obong Ukpong-Udo assured the students of his continuous humanitarian support and promised to ensure better representation, if elected as member of the Federal House of Representatives in 2019.
He urged the students to always shun social vices and stay focus to their primary objective as students and be good ambassadors of the area.[URIS id=3823]
Legislative Autonomy: In praise of Buhari and the 6th AKHA
Nigeria has taken one more step away from its current pseudo-democracy. President Muhammadu Buhari has signed Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 for the implementation of Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary.
That’s so much in one autonomy, and means a lot for balance of power as it should be in the most basic democratic setting.
It feels refreshing to be alive today to see the fruition of the struggle of the immediate past state legislatures in Nigeria. I am happy that when the story is written of our strive for democracy, Akwa Ibom will be mentioned on the very positive side. I am thankful to God that in that mentioning, the name of Rt. Hon. Barr Onofiok Luke and that of 13 other brave members of the 6th Akwa Ibom Assembly, will not be missing out for their bravery.
Ordinarily, there would be nothing brave about a state House of Assembly supporting a constitutional proposal for its own independence from the executive arm. But politics has an insane way of turning logic on its head and this was our experience in the immediate past assembly. Many state governors in Nigeria were against financial autonomy for their state assemblies. In fact, almost all of them. You cannot blame them, they had their reasons – some valid and others simply self-serving and anti-democratic. It was however left to state assemblies to take advantage of the saving powers put in their hands by the National Assembly to make a definite change. And we almost lost it in Akwa Ibom but for 13 members of the then 6th Assembly who heroically stood in defence of democracy.
Today is not the day to tell the story of how 12 members of the 6th assembly voted against their own autonomy not because they really desired to do so but because they couldn’t muster the courage to take a principled stand to save the legislative institution from the claws of the prevailing politics of that year. It is not the day to tell the story of how we all sat there watching lawmakers lift their hands high up to vote against Akwa Ibom’s support for legislative autonomy in Nigeria – their own freedom. I froze sitting right there in the gallery watching these people, those who were voted to represent the conscience of the people.
I remember the shock reverberating in the then speaker’s voice when he repeated the question:
“Dear Honourable Colleagues, may I please repeat the question: those against the vote by this honourable house for amendment 3, a vote for the financial autonomy for state legislatures of Nigeria, please lift your hands clearly again so we count”
This time, 12 hands were up, plus an infamous ‘half hand’ by a member who was clearly struggling to free herself from the strangulation of her conscience. It was an epic vote, a moment in horror for everyone who witnessed.
These people would later try to save face by talking about local government autonomy which was already a controversial item at the time given National Labour’s position. But this is now history.
Today is the day to thank President Buhari for getting this right. His administration will at least be remembered for this one thing. We must also thank the 8th NASS for their doggedness. It is the day to celebrate our ultimate victory, victory for our democracy and victory for the brave members of the Akwa Ibom 6th assembly who stood on the side of conscience and who saved our state a huge embarrassment. I remember all these great guys today. I remember them for buying into Speaker Luke’s philosophy that the institution’s interest, by every intent and purposes, had to tower above that of any individual interest regardless of what was at stake. These brave members distinguished themselves, choosing to be politically incorrect for the sake of democracy. And for this, they will surely live to be favoured by democracy and everything that has to do with it. All of them, no matter what party they belong today, will reap the fruit of their faithfulness. God bless our state legislature, and God bless and flourish democracy in our country.
4 BEDROOM BUNGALOW FOR BLIND EKERETTE NEARS COMPLETION
~By Mfreke Udonkang
Hope rises for 62-year-old blind Ette Ekerette Udo Ebong, from Ikono Local Government as the Councilor representing Ikono Ward 8, Hon Aniekan Asuquo, has assured that, in no distant time, Ekerette Udo Ebong will take possession of a newly constructed four bedroom bungalow.
It could be recalled that few months ago, the Councillor had promised to take it upon himself to provide shelter for Ebong after he discovered Ebong, who is blessed with four children, had no place to rest his head.
Ette Ekerette Udo Ebong hails from Ikot Akpa Edet, Ndiya in Ikono Local Government Area.
Hon. Aniekan, popularly called “Pele” gave the assurance while addressing pressmen who visited the site to see the level of work done.
He said the construction of the building commenced two months ago, and should have been completed by now but for the COVID-19 lockdown. He assured that the house will soon be completed for the beneficiary and his family to move in.
The Councillor noted that he decided to provide a shelter for Ebong as fulfilment of the promise he made the day he first saw the disconcerting, horrible and unhealthy state of the family’s shelter. He maintained that his motivation came from his political mentor, Hon. Emmanuel Ukpong-udo, the member representing Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, who he described as a philanthropist and a man with liberal heart for the needy.
Speaking at the site, the visually impaired person disclosed that he was a welder until his sight began malfunctioning and eventually got damaged completely on March 7th 1999, making him homebound for 20 years.
He could not hold back tears of joy as he praised the Councillor and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for giving Hon. Aniekan the platform to serve his people, portraying himself as a major beneficiary of the councillor’s milk of kindness. He admitted that he least expected to own a house of his.
While praying for God’s protection upon the Reps member, Councillor and his family, Ette Ebong called on public office holders to emulate Hon. Aniekan Asuquo Akpan.
Recall that on Monday, 16th March 2020, the Honourable Councilor representing ward 8, Ndiya, Hon. Aniekan Asuquo Akpan who is the Chief whip of Ikono Legislative Council and also double as House Committee chairman on Chieftaincy Affairs performed the groundbreaking take-off of the project.
GOVERNOR EMMANUEL FLAYS DOCTORS FOR IGNORING COVID19 SYMPTOMS
•••As 68 WOMAN YEAR OLD PASSES ON
Governor Udom Emmanuel has frowned at doctors in Akwa Ibom who refuse to adhere to repeated warnings, by keeping patients in their facilities instead of reaching out to the Covid19 team.
In a chat with journalists in Government House, Governor Emmanuel decried a situation where doctors tend to make the Ibom Specialist Hospital a dumping ground after their cases had reached crises stage.
He said that in the last couple of days, 44 samples were sent for testing and only 3 tested positive for the Corona virus and one being a dead victim.
Mr Emmanuel who reacted to an incident where a 68 year old woman passed on few hours after arriving the hospital unconscious, urged people to avail themselves of the call center numbers of the situation room, to report any case for prompt response.
He said that the medical facilities put in place by his administration were second to none and said cases could easily be arrested once they are brought on time.
The Governor expressed delight at the recovery rate of patients in the state Isolation center and applauded the medical Team for the job well done, saying their contributions attracted plaudits from the Nigerian Center for Diseases Control.
He maintained that only 6 active cases of Covid 19 are receiving treatment at the Isolation centers.
This brings the total number of cases to 16, 9 discharged and 2 deaths.
He also used the occasion to sympathize with the people for the inconveniences the lockdown might cause but affirmed that Government is doing everything possible that would enable gradually reopening up of movement within the state.
The state chief executive also noted how people have flouted the interstate lockdown and warned that anyone or vehicles with passengers entering the state would be made to isolate for 14 days at the point caught by the Security agencies.
AFRICAN GRASS THAT ‘CURES’ COVID-19 ATTRACTS AMERICAN FUNDING, GERMAN AND DANISH RESEARCHERS
The drink, said to be made from a common African grass (known in English as Artemisia, Yoruba – Ewe Egbin, Zulu – Umhlonyane, Ibibio – Mkpatat, Hausa – Tazargade) is being distributed for free in some schools that are reopening and in poor neighborhoods.
COVID-19 herbal remedy made in Madagascar, an African island on the Indian ocean, is fast receiving global attention as the United States government is paying “additional $2.5 million” to expand its fight against the pandemic that has infected more than one million Americans to date.
According to USA ambassador in Madagascar, Michael Pelletier “the contribution of $2,500,000 is additional funding granted to Madagascar as part of the fight against the coronavirus”.
“The exclusive allocation of this sum is for the popularization of the national territory of the solutions found” Michael Pelletier said.
As secondary schools reopened yesterday after being closed for a month due to the coronavirus, students in Madagascar were given a small bottle of the herbal extract to drink as a protection against COVID-19. Many grimacing at its bitter taste, the students swallowed the drink and entered schools to resume classes, where they were now seated one to a desk instead of two, for safer distance.
Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina promoted the drink, Covid Organics, on national television saying it will “change the course of history.”
Madagascar with a population of 26 million, currently has 128 recorded cases of Covid-19 and no deaths. The herbal drink has not yet received the approval of World Health Organisation, WHO, but Madagascar president is enthusiastically promoting it. “What we want to do today is to popularize this drink to protect our population,” said Rajoelina on television as he gulped a bottle of medicine on the spot, with his ministers following suit.
The drink, said to be made from a common African grass (known in English as Artemisia, Yoruba – Ewe Egbin, Zulu – Umhlonyane, Ibibio – Mkpatat, Hausa – Tazargade) is being distributed for free in some schools that are reopening and in poor neighborhoods. Elsewhere it is being sold for about N1,000 for a liter bottle.
The drink was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research, a private organization that for more than 30 years has researched the uses of Madagascar’s traditional medicines. Some African countries, led by Senegal, are already in contact with Madagascar for shipment. Hitherto, artemisia ( or Mkpatat in Ibibio) was used in some malaria drug successfully in Madagascar.
Already, three teams of Western researchers including Germans, Danish and Americans, have combined their efforts to carry out analysis on the preventive and curative scope of the use of artemisia or Mkpatat for the treatment of coronavirus.
Only time will tell whether this African remedy will be the ultimate solution to this ravaging global pandemic.
By ANIETIE USEN (with Agency Reports)
IKONO-INI LAWMAKER WELCOMES ANOTHER SET OF TWINS
Another beneficiary of the ‘Macaire Mother and Child Care Programme,’ Mrs Patience Udoh of Mbiaobong Ikon in Ikono Local Government Area, last week delivered a set of twins at the General Hospital, Ibiaku Ntok Okpo. In line with his promise, the Initiator of the programme and Member who represents Mrs Udoh and all other sons and daughters of Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Obong Emmanuel Ukpong-udo, was on hand (through his personal Assistant on Community Health Services, Theresa Nde), to welcome the infants with a handsome amount of cash as their first gifts
‘Macaire Mother and Child Care Programme’ has been a massive tool in the eradication of maternal and infant mortality in the state. The programme provides pre- and post-natal cash and material requirements as incentives to
pregnant women within the constituency to submit to professional medical care. As at the last count, about 90 women from the constituency have been encouraged to enrol and attend the antenatal clinic. This the second set of twins delivered since the inception of the programme which has baby-sat 33 successful child deliveries in the nearly 5 months of its existence.
The Programme which is bankrolled by the Lawmaker is absolutely free and provides basic supplies preparatory to childbirth and afterwards, including a welfare stipend, hospital cards and medical consumables. Pregnant women in the area are advised to leverage this noble initiative to receive professional medical care, for their good and that of their unborn babies.