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Impressive Roll-call Of Achievements By First-time Akwa Ibom Lawmaker in Two years

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Two eventful years have gone by since Obong Emmanuel Ukpong-udo was unanimously chosen by the people of Ikono and Ini Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State to represent them at the National Assembly. Despite what has been one of the most tortuous times in recent history, the people of Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency can still look back at the last year, and indeed the last two, with relish.

When canvassing for their support for his aspiration to represent them, Ukpong-udo made several promises. He promised to represent them robustly by bringing to the fore, as well as speaking out on, issues that affect or could affect them. He promised he would see to their welfare by empowering them to create wealth and to develop their capacity, attitudes and mindset. He promised he would support the student body and that, where possible, he would ensure that qualified indigenes are given a fair employment opportunity. He also promised physical development in terms of infrastructure in the area. Overall, he promised he would “bring back to Ikono-Ini people what is rightfully theirs.”

During the second of these two years, the entire world was brought to its knees by a pandemic of epic proportions, with shocks still resonating to this day. This was followed by local and international protests over racial injustice and police brutality. Things further escalated to far-reaching cases of insecurity occasioned by religious extremism, ethnic intolerance and banditry across the national landscape.

In the face of these challenges, however, one of the more heart-warming features of these times has been a wide gamut of completed, ongoing and nascent people-oriented programmes and projects within Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency in the last 24 months.

In line with his promises, Ukpong-udo has stayed true to his colour of selfless dedication to the common good. He triggered a prompt response by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to address an incident of a landslide in Odoro Ikpe and Ibam Edet communities of his constituency. He has also drawn the attention of the Federal Government to the need to complete Nkari Dam in Ini Local Government Area which will help with flood control, energy generation, irrigation as well as human and livestock water supply.
These have been followed by a massive infrastructural facelift in the constituency, with a focus on communal utilities; a sequel to Ukpong-udo’s promise of “…provision and rehabilitation of social amenities and basic infrastructure in needy communities.”

Several new market stalls have been completed and are now in use at Edet Ukpom Market. Within the two local government areas of the constituency, multipurpose Civic and Entrepreneurship centres, in the place of regular town halls, have been constructed at Itak Ikot Obio Ise, Ini Local Government Area, for example, while some are still under construction. Similarly, council halls for Traditional Rulers have also been either completed or are ongoing.

Road infrastructure has remained in the pipeline due to the multiplicity of stakeholders involved in their execution, especially post-covid. However, propositions for the construction of several roads within the constituency, including the Uyo Afaha Nkan-Urua Naira-Ikot Nseyen-Ibiaku Ntok Okpo road, the Nkara Obio-Ediene Atai-Osuk Ediene-Udok Atai road, and very recently, the Uduo Ndiad Road, Ikot Akpa- Edet Ndiya road have been appropriated and provided for in the 2021 Budget.

On the contrary, Health and Educational infrastructure have enjoyed increasing patronage by Obong Ukpong-udo in the last couple of months. Classroom blocks have been constructed and completed in various schools like Comprehensive Secondary School, Obotme, in Ini Local Government Area and Comprehensive Secondary School, Ndiya, Ikono Local Government Area, while renovation work has been proposed to commence at the Lutheran Senior Science Secondary School, Ibakachi.
Among the health facilities in the area, work is ongoing at the Primary Healthcare Centre, Nkari, as well as a Healthcare Delivery facility at Ndiya.

Rep. Emmanuel Ukpong-udo’s dedication to healthcare has been further expressed in his unprecedented attention to pregnant women and newborn babies, courtesy of the ‘Macaire Mother and Child Care Programme.’ This novel initiative has been geared towards lowering maternal and infant mortality in the state by providing incentives to encourage pregnant women to submit to professional medical care. Following Ukpong-udo’s financial input to the programme, the constituency at large has taken delivery of 146 newborn babies with no fatalities since its inception in 2019.

The welfare of every indigene of Ikono/Ini has been something of a personal enterprise for Rep. Emmanuel Ukpong-udo. He has ensured to leave an imprint of benevolence on every single family in the constituency – directly or indirectly – by tactfully spreading welfare programmes and packages across the social divide throughout Ikono and Ini Local Government Areas. From miscellaneous, spontaneous and distress gifting, to structured empowerment and wealth-creation initiatives, he has indeed brought to the people what is due to them like he promised before office.

From miscellaneous and consistent financial grants for well over 400 individuals and families and counting to instituting an ongoing monthly alternative income scheme in the aftermath of Covid-19 – the U-Martha Ambassadors Scheme – for about 200 families. From providing about 11 motorcars and motorcycles, in addition to various other household items (like power-generating sets, deep freezers) for countless indigenes, to identifying with and supporting a Trust Fund for members of his constituency under the aegis of Ikono-Ini development Association (IIDA), Abuja, and even to facilitating the disbursement of cash relief from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management for 30 women in the constituency.

A wise leader knows not only to give his people fish but to point them towards financial independence by encouraging them to fish for themselves. Ukpong-udo has provided platforms for business and entrepreneurial development via his ‘Macaire Enterprise Development Scheme’ – a wealth creation programme to which over N100 million worth of support for start-ups and pre-existing entrepreneurial ventures was allotted. Courtesy of this empowerment programme, well over 100 members of the constituency received between N500,000 and N1million in cash grants. The Lawmaker has also facilitated the registration of about 50 indigenes to benefit from the Federal Government’s N-Power Programme.

In furtherance of this drive towards sustainable financial freedom for his people, Ukpong-udo has encouraged and empowered indigenes to leverage and access employment opportunities locally and nationally. In two years under his watch, over 109 new employment opportunities have been made available to his people within the public and private sectors, as he communicates employment opportunities, offers recommendations where required, not to mention creating the Macaire “I earn, You earn” Scheme, which cumulatively had 62 persons under his direct employ, drawing monthly wages from his personal earnings.

Rep. Ukpong-udo’s pledge to develop human capacity has seen fulfilment in the lives of Ikono-Ini indigenes, especially the youths. At the secondary level, educational materials have been providing in schools like Comprehensive Secondary School, Obotme, in Ini Local Government Area, while there is a proposition to equip the Science Laboratory at Lutheran Senior Science Secondary School, Ibakachi in Ikono.

Ukpong-udo also bankrolled free UTME Registration for 150 indigenes, many of whom have commenced undergraduate studies in tertiary institutions across the country. He has provided full undergraduate Scholarships for five undergraduates, while also bankrolling two educational Tours/Excursions for undergraduates from the constituency.
The development of human capital has been extended to a wider cross-section with the facilitation of a training Workshop on Peace and conflict resolution for over 800 indigenes comprising Traditional Rulers, men women and youths.

Despite his tight itinerary, Ukpong-udo has exemplified humaneness in leadership; making it an obligation to identify personally with his constituents – offering a handshake and thumbs up in times of celebration, or offering a shoulder in times of crisis.

The last 24 months have therefore seen a bountiful rain of unprecedented and deliberate people-centred developmental milestones which have impacted the elderly, the men, the women, the youth and the children – including the babies and the yet unborn – in Ikono-Ini Federal Constituency. The pulse of the Ikono-Ini people resonates with happiness with Obong Emmanuel Ukpong-udo for his stewardship at this mid-term mark. With two further years to go this term, the people have every reason to look forward with satisfaction and belief.

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ATTAH SEEKS SUPPORT FOR GOV. EMMANUEL’S SUCCESSION PLAN

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By Edet Ikotidem

A former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Arc ( Obong) Victor Attah has canvassed support for Governor Udom Emmanuel’s succession plan.

Obong Attah made the call in Uyo during an audience with members of the Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum .

The ‘Eduek Ekpe’ who expressed interest in the Governor’s succession plan, expressed his concern about who becomes the next governor of Akwa Ibom State

“As a Governor, I could not have left the state the way i met it and the development of Akwa Ibom has been dear to my heart”, he said.

“Any person who wants to govern Akwa Ibom must tell the people what he wants to do and how he intends to go about it, he added”.

The former Governor called on Governor Emmanuel to dialogue with the people to guide against avoidable mistakes in the choice of a successor.

Obong Attah also noted that naming anyone now without the acceptance of the people may frustrate the process from being actualized.

He further stressed that the idea of a University of Technology in Akwa Ibom was to meet the technology needs of the state and nation at large for wealth creation and accelerated economic development.

“Any Science Park in the world is a centre for foreign exchange where millions of dollars are made through incubation of ideas and software production. So, the idea of a Science Park and the University of Technology should not be jettisoned “, he said.

In his remarks, , the former governor commended the Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum for her initiatives and support for the government of Mr Udom Emmanuel and his succession plan

Reacting to the former Governor’s remarks, Chairman of the Forum, Elder Ofonimeh Isong appealed to Obong Attah not to relent in his support and assistance to Governor Emmanuel, especially in the choice of a successor.

He informed the former governor that the Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum is in strategic partnership with relevant agencies to ensure the success of the completion agenda of His Excellency, the governor.

Those in the audience with Obong Attah were the Vice Chairman of the Forum and Publisher, Dailynews Newspaper, Prince. Emmanuel Ndon, Director, Contact and Mobilization, Mr. Victor Ukpong, Chairman Board of Trustees, Comrade Joseph Okon, Special Assistant to the State Governor on Project Monitoring, Comrade Ernest Akpan, Reverend Osendu Ahirika, Secretary Board of Trustees, Reverend Richard Peters.

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NDDC should be given necessary supports from stakeholders – President Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has directed all contributors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to remit all outstanding funds owed the Commission to enable it pursue its mandate of developing the Niger Delta region.

President Buhari gave the order in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, while commissioning the ultra modern 1050-bed space hostel built by NDDC and donated to University of Uyo.

He stated: “I want to use the opportunity of this commissioning to direct all statutory contributors to the NDDC to remit all outstanding funds to the Commission, because the Management has shown that it can manage its affairs with prudence, transparency and accountability.”

According to figures released by NDDC, the Federal Government and the oil companies owe the Commission N1.9 trillion and $4billion (about N2.2 trillion), respectively, according to the NDDC Establishment Act 2000.

President Buhari stated that “the forensic audit, which was completed a few months ago, is achieving one of its core objectives, adding: “That objective is to rebuild NDDC into an agency that is well equipped and better placed to facilitate sustainable regional development.”

He said that NDDC “should be given all necessary support it deserves from stakeholders and commended the Commission’s management, led by its interim administrator, Dr. Efiong Akwa, for a job well done.

In his welcome address, Dr. Akwa assured that there is a new spirit in the NDDC “permeating the Commission’s affairs and how it approaches its mandate of sustainable regional development.”

He stated: “It is a spirit, the New NDDC spirit, inspired by President Muhammadu Buhari and fuelled by the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, which compels greater enthusiasm that we can deliver on our collective promise to the Niger Delta region and our people.”

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Rep. Emmanuel Ukpong-udo canvasses the support of the House to tackle a key problem in the Nigeria’s education sector

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday mandated the Committees on Basic Education, and Science and Technology to address the issues of

falling standards of education in Government-owned schools to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and ensure the training and retraining of Teachers across the Federation.

This resolution followed a motion on the “Need for Continuous Training and Retraining of Teachers in Nigeria” moved by Hon. Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo (PDP, Akwa Ibom).

Presenting the motion in the House, the lawmaker noted that the Federal Ministry of Education is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of
minimum standards in Primary and Secondary schools across the Federation.

Hon. Ukpong-Udo expressed worries that the current standard of education in government-owned schools does not equip the pupils and students to compete effectively in the modern age of science and technology and to raise a creative generation of entrepreneurs that will be self-sufficient.

The lawmakers expressed grave concern that even when the curriculum is appropriately reviewed to promote STEM education, the teachers are not trained and sensitized to teach the same.

The motion further noted that there is a need to engage the Primary and Secondary School Teachers in continuous training and retraining to enhance their capacity and productivity to be in line with modern-day realities.

“This motion is seeking to improve the performance and management responsibilities and to also improve quality teaching and learning processes.

“The quality of any educational system depends to a great extent on the quality of teachers.

“Teachers are the most important component any of any educational system because they are the people to shape the behavior, thinking, and attitude of the pupils and students in the teaching and learning situation,” he said.

The Lawmaker insisted saying, “we all know that quality of teachers determines the quality of knowledge imparted to the students and the quality of learning outcomes.”

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