By Uwem Elijah
His campaign theme “AMEN 2023” is very apt, yet thought-provoking when viewed from the connotative and or denotative meanings of the word, “Amen.” Amen, either in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, English, Ibibio or Annang connotes truth and certainty.
It is used adverbially as an expression of agreement, and adopted in the Septuagint as a solemn expression of belief or affirmation.
When this writer asked Hon Akaninyene Eno Eyo, an indigene of Eka Uruk Eshiet in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, a former member of the House of Representatives, why his campaign theme is “AMEN 2023,” he did not blink and eyelid and in less than a second said, “this theme is divine, inspirational, Biblical and an affirmation of the solution to unanswered prayers of my people over the past decades.”
Eyo explained that in 2023, the people of Abak/Etim Ekpo/ Federal Constituency, nay, Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District are in for a new deal, the real deal and a perfect deal.
The District, hitherto called “Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District,” comprises 10 Local Government Areas of Abak, Etim Ekpo, Essien Udim, Ika, Ikono, Ikot Ekpene, Ini, Obot Akara, Oruk Anam and Ukanafun. Eyo said the answer to their problems has been guaranteed in his occupying the Red Chambers on their behalf, come 2023.
He was, however, quick to acknowledge, albeit paying homage to Senators Emmanuel IbokEssien, Itakk Ekarika, Godswill Akpabio and the incumbent senator, Chris Ekpenyong, whose tenure in the National Assembly will expire May 29, 2023. He said they did well for the District during their tenures.
“But in 2023, if my people give me the mandate to represent them in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it will be nothing but “Amen” to their prayers.
Roaring like a lion, who is face-to-face with a very giant predator, Eyo was clinical when he said: “I’ve a record in the National Assembly that is real, visible, verifiable, people-centred, development-oriented and a pot-pouri of effective representation.
“Some of the projects I captured in the budget between 1999 and 2003, when I was in the House of Representatives are still there but not implemented. It takes a man who knows the terrain of the environment to manourver the intrigues, even the odds, to actualise the dreams of his people. That is why my aspiration is powered by capacity, ranking and cognitive experience via only God,” he said.
Listening to the former student and youth activist, an alumnus of the popular Holy Family College (HOFACO) and the prestigious University of Calabar, (UNICAL) may sound boastful but the reality on ground speaks volume of a go-getter, pragmatic politician, selfless personality and an epitome of development, peace, good conscience and strategic planner and deliverer.
Indeed, a peep into his performances in the National Assembly between 1999 and 2003, shows a bigger picture of understanding the dynamics of the legislature, lawmaking processes, oversight responsibilities and empowering the constituents. As the deputy chairman of the House Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa, member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as Chairman, PDP House of Assembly Committee in Bauchi State, Hon Akan Eyo cannot be found wanting in deliberations and oversight responsibilities in the National Assembly. He says without any fear of contradiction that “the Nigerian Senate is not a place for on-the-job- training but for people that have cognitive experience on the country legislative business.” His stay in the House of Representatives, brought many good things to his Federal Constituency in many areas, including electricity, roads/bridges, classrooms building, renovations and rehabilitations. He facilitated the
replacement of four malfunctioned transformers in Abak; electrification of high and low tension with installation of four transformers in Ediene Clan, Abak Local Government Area; rehabilitation of Ibagwa high and low tension project as well as separation of the Barracks from and supplies to adjoining communities with three transformers installed; high and low tension electrification of Manta/Midim/Utu Edem Akai/Midim II (near Ediene)/Gospel Village with four transformers installed; high and low tension electrification of Ikot Ubom/Ukana Mkpa Eyop/Ikot Ibit Ekpe in Afahaobong with three transformers installed; high and low tension electrification from Midim to Ikot Imoh/Ekpat Iduot with two transformers installed; High and low tension electrification of Utu Midim/Ikot Inyang with one transformer installed; high and low tension electrification of Ikot Odongo with one transformer installed; high and low tension electrification project at Eka Uruk Eshiet with two transformers installed; high and low tension link electrification from Ntak Inyang to Ikot Udo Nta with one transformer installed; high and low tension electrification project at Nkwot Ikono/Ikot Isemin/Utu Ikot Nkor with two transformers installed; high and low tension electrification of Uruk Ata Nsidung, Nto Edet and environs; high and low tension electrification of Obong Utut Idim and environs with two transformers installed; high and low tension electrification of Ikot Osukpong/Ikot Udo with three transformers installed; high and low tension electrification from Itak Ikot Onono/Otomo/Urua Inyang and its environs with three transformers installed; high and low tension electrification of Ikot Udodia/Ikot Ebo with two transformers installed as well as the low tension electrification distribution to Itung in Abak Local Government Area.
As a liberal minded fellow, who sees his existence as anchored in the growth of society and development of humanity, Eyo did not limit his representation in the National Assembly to only his constituency. A few of such gesture will suffice. He used his contact, connection and goodwill to provide high and low tension electrification at Mkpatak and its environs in Essien Udim Local Government Area; high and low tension electrification of Ikot Ukpong Eren and its environs in Oruk Anam Local Government Area. It must be noted here that these projects were done by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Power, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and the Cross River Basin Development Authority.
Electrification projects were not only his focus to make life meaningful to his constituents, Eyo also used his office, contact and connection to attract other amenities including several hand pump water projects across the federal constituency. It was through his efforts that a full water scheme rehabilitation with water treatment plant was done by the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) at Army Barracks, Ibagwa; full water scheme at Ikot Ibit Ekpe –Afahaobong in Abak Local Government Area; full water scheme at Midim/Manta, Abak Local Government Area; water project rehabilitation and installation of treatment plant at Eka Uruk Eshiet; full water scheme at Nkwot Ikono (Urua Jonathan), Etim Ekpo Local Government Area; full water scheme at Utu Neskhe market (directly opposite Barr Emmanuel Enoidem’s country home, Etim Ekpo Local Government Area; full water scheme with water treatment plant at Ibio Nnung Achad and full water scheme at Ikot Ese, all in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area.
Even as young as Hon Akan Eyo was then, his commitment, interest, love for his people and selfless sacrifices were as prominent, humongous and taller than Kilimanjaro Mountain. Mention must be made here that it was through this purposeful, energetic, intelligent and effective representative that the World Bank embarked upon full water reticulation scheme from Abia Okpor water station to Abak with storage/water treatment plant at Abak Market; rehabilitated the water project at Utu Ikot Nkor as well as that of Ikot Iya. Not done, it stands to his credit and acclaim that through Hon Akan Eyo, the Cross River Basin Development Authority, (CRBDA), did a full water scheme at Uruk Uso, Abak; IkotImoh, Abak; Eka Nto Obo, Abak; Eka Uruk Eshiet, Etim Ekpo; Omum Unyam, Etim Ekpo; Ikot Onono, Abiakana and Ikot Udodia, all in Ika Local Government Area.
If his achievements in electrification and water projects to communities in his constituency and even outside his constituency are this mouth-watering, check out his exploits in other sectors. Hon Akan Eyo knows the nitty-gritty of representation and can go all out to give his people the needed sense of belonging. It is on record that, among the numerous achievements of Hon Akan Eyo in the House of Representatives are: the rehabilitation of classroom block at Holy Family College, Abak; St. Mary’s Science College, Ediene; Bishop Clarks primary school, Abak; primary school, Otoro I, Abak;renovation of four blocks of classroom by the World Bank at Community Secondary Commercial School, Eka Uruk Eshiet; rehabilitation of one classroom block at secondary school, Iwukem; primary school, Uruk Ata II;construction of new classroom blocks by the NDDC at Primary School, Atai Otoro, Abak; Annang Peoples School, Nto Obo/Eka Uruk Eshiet, Etim Ekpo; secondary school, Ikot Ese, Etim Ekpo; primary school, Udi, Ika; primary school, Ikot Uko Ika;primary school, Ikot Osukpong, Ika; as well as primary school, Iwukem in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area.
It is also through him that the NDDC rehabilitated one classroom block at Northern Annang Secondary Commercial School, NASCO, Etim Ekpo Local Government Area and in appreciation of the gesture, the school authority gave him an award. Records also show that Hon Akan Eyo was not just in the House of Representatives, he had an excellent relationship with the state administration and attracted several school renovation projects to his constituency. Some of the projects include: the Universal Basic Education projects at primary school, Afaha Obong, Abak; primary school, Uruk Ata Ikot Isemin; primary school, Ika; roofing/rehabilitation of a laboratory block at secondary school, Ikot Ese, by the state government; rehabilitation of one classroom block at primary school, Eka Uruk Eshiet/Ikot Inyang; primary school, Offiong Ekpor, both under the state government (inter-ministerial); rehabilitation of one classroom block at St. Augustine secondary school, Urua Inyang, Ika;rehabilitation of one classroom block by the NDDC at secondary school, Uruk Ata II.
At some point in the late 90s and 2000, there was rampant cases of accident around the Ibagwa bridge by the Secondary School, Ika Annang but today, such issue has been given to the past courtesy of a good, coordinated, connected, visionary and outspoken representative. It was Hon Akan Eyo, who used his good offices to facilitate the construction of the new Ibagwa bridge; completion of Ibagwa to Abak round about; the partly constructed Atai Otoro, Uruk Uso to Ikot Obioko road by the NDDC. The love for his people was commonplace. That was why Hon Akan Eyo, used his personal resources to give scholarships to five university students per clan in the federal constituency; gave five slots to Churches; five slots to the physically-challenged persons and five slots to nominees of market women association.
A staunch believer in education, the lawmaker did not end at scholarships. Records abound that during his tenure, he bought books and donated to select schools across the three local government areas that make up the federal constituency. The beneficiary schools in Abak were: Holy Family College, St.Marys’ Science College, Ediene, Army Day Secondary School, Ibagwa, Loreto Girls Grammar School, Secondary School, Midim and Government Technical School. Etim Ekpo schools were: Community Secondary School, Eka Uruk Eshiet, Secondary School, Esa Obong, NASCO, Obong High School, Obong Ntak, Iwukem High School and the then Government Technical School, Etok Uruk Eshiet (which wil soon be returned to a Technical College). From Ika Local Government Area were: St. Augustine Secondary School, UruaInyang; Government Technical College, Ikot Uko, Secondary School, Ikot Osukpong and Secondary School, Ikot Akpan Anwa.
Within four years in the House of Representatives, Hon Akan Eyo sponsored many bills, motions and petitions which, for official and proper filing, could be found in the hansard of the National Assembly. He was one of the strong voices of resource control at the time. A singular motion was raised which led to the laying of the official position of the Akwa Ibom government, culminating to the setting up of a committee by the leadership of the House. It is the recommendation of the committee that the House adopted and sent to the Chief Tony Anenih Political Solution Committee, which recommended the withdrawal (amongst others) of the case from the Supreme Court.
It goes beyond lips saying that, as a selfless politician, a man whose philosophy is live-and-let-live and one who has the interest of his people and or constituents at heart, Hon Akan Eyo had the opportunities to do all the jobs but he nominated contractors from the constituency and even within the state. He also undertook several personal responsibilities to supporters, constituents across party lines and friends, which he refused to make public. His only regrets are that most of the projects he toiled to insert in the budget of Nigeria for his constituency, are still there and unattended to. Besides, one contractor, “FIST AND BRAINS” abandoned a classroom block at Community Secondary School, Eka Uruk Eshiet, given by the NDDC.
For Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, a New Dawn has beckoned. History, antecedents, pedigree, experience and ranking will be the joker for better and higher representation. Hon Akan Eyo is the man to beat.
Uwem Elijah is a Journalist and Public Affairs Commentator.