Messrs Henry Isaiah Udofia, a former Majority Leader of Uruan Legislative Council, is an aspirant for the Chairmanship of Uruan Local Government Council. He gives his blueprint in an interview with Itoro BASSEY, Essien INYANG & Abasifreke EFFIONG. Excerpts:
Who is Henry Isaiah Udofia?
I am Hon. Henry Isaiah Udofia, a native of Idu in Central Uruan Ward One. I was born some fifty years ago. I am happily married with children. I started my primary education at No.1 School in Idu Uruan where I obtained my first school leaving certificate in 1981. I later proceeded to Community Secondary Commercial School, Ifiayong Usuk. I read and obtained my General Certificate in Education in 2001.
Before then, I was a successful patent medicine dealer. Due to my burning desire for service, my community elected me to represent them at the Uruan local government council as a Councillor. At the council legislature, I was elected Majority Leader and I served in that capacity between 1999 and 2002.
Again, due to my burning desire for further education, I applied and secured admission to the prestigious University of Uyo, where I studied Political Science and Public Administration. I graduated with a second class degree (lower division) in March 2010 . Now, I am seeking to serve my people in the capacity of Council Chairman.
What contributions have you made so far to the development of Uruan that makes you believe you will be accepted by the people?
As a Councillor, I had passion for humanitarian services. At the time, I gave scholarships to several students in my community, in addition to assisting market women to support their trade. I may not enumerate some of those gestures at the moment, but I’m sure I touched lives with the little I could provide as assistance to the needy at that level of my councillorship. I believe I have what it takes to serve my people in that capacity. I’ve been in the council before now, so I understand vividly the yearnings and aspirations of the grassroots people. At the electioneering for the last elections, I was able to provide a campaign office for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the election of His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Still during the electioneering period, I used the Akwa Ibom Consolidation Alliance (ACA) with strength of 2800 members to campaign vigorously for Mr. Udom Emmanuel. In addition, I donated N1 million to the Uruan PDP for the governor’s campaign. And this was done in the presence of political leaders and stakeholders.
If you are elected Chairman in the forthcoming Local Government Elections, what programmes will you give to the Uruan people?
First, my administration will build a good skills acquisition centre in Uruan for the training of youths in vocations of their choosing. We are going to design a special package in that regard to assist graduates from the centre with start-ups to help them hit the ground. With that, I believe we can reduce unemployment and further alleviate poverty among our people. We will provide social amenities such as portable water. We will pay attention to rural electrification to improve power supply. Uninterrupted electricity for instance will assist our graduates at the skills acquisition centre, particularly those who will be trained in welding and fabrication.
My administration will equally provide periodic free medical services for the people as well as good roads network. I will employ no fewer than 110 strong young men to help us sustain the culture of Sanitation and road maintenance. That’s about 10 young men from each ward. I’m sure that will also help to reduce unemployment too which my people are languishing today.
The periodic free medical services, I believe, will help reduce child /infants mortality and improve maternal health. The water and power supply will reduce extreme poverty and hunger in Uruan. It means that we’ll take as priority the welfare of the population through assistance measures guaranteeing access to sufficient resources for food and shelter and to promote health and well-being of the population at large, and particularly, potentially vulnerable segments such as children, the elderly, the sick and the unemployed. Uruan deserves a strong and visionary leader.
How do you intend to do the road maintenance?
We are going to empower the 110 young men to be engaged with manual tools and implements to do the road maintenance for us, and we will pay them well and what we intend to do is to encourage the able-bodies to use local tools.
In this era of dwindling revenue from the Federal Government, how will you generate revenue to achieve the projects you have elucidated?
We have sources of revenues in Uruan such as our various markets like the Adadia beach, Ekpene Ukim, Ifiayong markets and the rest of them which we intend to explore. We can get revenues from there in addition to what will be coming to us from the Federation Account.
At the moment, how would you describe your support base?
Ever since I made known my intention to contest to the position of chairman of Uruan local government council, the responses I have got have been overwhelming. I am sure by the grace of God; Uruan will be greater as we progress in the new phase of leadership that is to come.
What is your assessment of the State Governor?
His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel has hit the ground running. We’ve seen roads that he has completed and the ones that are ongoing. The ground breaking ceremonies for several live-touching projects have been done and work is ongoing; rehabilitation of moribund industries such as peacock paints etc., renovation of dilapidated structures like the St. Luke’s Hospital Anua, abandoned Independent hotels and shopping mall to mention but a few. We are aware of the car assembly plant in Itam, the cocoa project in Ikono, and the rest of them. When these projects come into full operations, I’m sure they will be of great value to Akwa Ibom people. They will surely create wealth and jobs. We will support His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel in full swing when we come on board at the local level for faster development of the State. I believe wealth is assured with His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel.
As we await the elections, what is your message to the people of Uruan?
I want Uruan people to remain calm and law abiding and support the government of His Excellency Udom Emmanuel positively. We shall continue with the good works of the Tony Akan-led administration in Uruan since government is a continuum. I ask Uruan people to trust me with their votes and I promise I will not let them down. God bless Uruan local government, and God bless Akwa Ibom state.