Rt. Hon. Mark Esset, a renowned oil and gas mogul, two-term member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and former Chairman of Nsit Atai Local Government Area, is the Chairman of the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. He represents the people of Nsit Atai State Constituency. He shares his thoughts with members of AKWA IBOM LEGISLATURE on the 32nd Anniversary celebration of
What message do you have for Akwa Ibom State as she turns 32?
Thirty-Two years of age has made Akwa Ibom a business hub in Nigeria and I thank God for keeping me alive to be part of this anniversary celebration. I sincerely congratulate Governor Udom Emmanuel for his sterling leadership so far. He has moved Akwa Ibom from a civil service state to an industrialized state and investors’ hub. At 32, we have actualized the dreams of our forebears. I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the people of Akwa Ibom, as we celebrate 32 years of statehood, to have it at the back of their minds that there is still a lot of grounds to cover for us to actualize the dreams and visions of our forebears. We can only do this by staying united. Let us put away every ethnic sentiments and vices of disunity and disharmony. We have no other state than Akwa Ibom. If we do not strive to stay united and develop Akwa Ibom State, no one will do that for us.
It has been kudos all the way for you. You hit the ground running immediately you were sworn in as Chairman of the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. Expectedly, many have also accused you of being overbearing and harsh on the Local Government Council Chairmen during your oversight function. Do you subscribe to that?
I do not subscribe to the insinuation and I do not think it is Mark Esset but the Committee, which I am fortunate to be its Chairman. Everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. There are a lot of people glamouring and commending the Committee and there are others who are also saying the contrary. But in all, we had expected the divided opinions, which is a welcome development. The many criticisms have emboldened us to do the right thing. We have never and will never go out on our oversight as a Committee to witch-hunt anybody. Ours is to ensure that the dividends of democracy are felt at the grassroots.
What is the prospect of the 7th Assembly?
The prospect of the 7th Assembly is enormous. Our leader and Speaker of the 7th Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, is a working Speaker. He is someone that believes that action speaks louder than words. What he has achieved in the last three months is unprecedented, the actions are everywhere. You can see for yourself. So, there is a vast prospect for the 7th Assembly and I am sure at the end I, alongside my colleagues and indeed the people of Akwa Ibom State, will be proud of the achievements of the 7th Assembly.
How has it been representing a State Constituency that has prominent political gladiators and what is your message to the people of Nsit Atai?
There are certain things in life that we cannot choose. Where you come from is one of such things. But then, I do not think if I am given the opportunity to choose a Local Government Area to come from, that I will choose any other than Nsit Atai Local Government Area. It is a wonderful place to come from and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to come from Nsit Atai. It has been so wonderful, having great men and women who are highly intellectual in their field of endeavours. They act as motivators for me. Their experience, constructive criticisms and advice have kept me on track. I sincerely thank all of them for being there for me and the Local Government. I thank them for being part of the success story of Akwa Ibom State. In all humility, I urge them and the entire people of Nsit Atai to keep peace, unity, harmony and progress alive.