BY Ubong SAMPSON
Just as Aristotle had described man as a gregarious animal that exists interdependently with each other, same way nation states exist and operate in interdependence. Meaning that not even bearing the title of a major world power can make a nation state an Island. Hence, irrespective of the economic, political or military might of a nation, it must have some sides of dependence.
As a matter of fact, the idea of colonialism was birthed by the dependency needs of the major world powers. Britain and other early European powers for instance depended on slaves from the red Indies first, and later, Africa to drive their plantations. The slave trade history is of course common knowledge. Even after the break of the industrial revolution in Britain in the 18th century, it still depended on Africa for raw materials to feed its industries. A primary reason for its reversed interest in the slave trade business, even though it fronted religion and humanitarian grounds. So that was a leading world economic power depending of Africa that was yet to produce one independent state.
It is this interdependency that makes for the existence of the international community which has no geographical structure, but simply an organized non-physical structure where nations interact in pursuit of their national interests. Scholars have given that for a guaranteed success of this pursuit, a nation must have: 1. Economic viability – to have its citizens fed to satisfaction so as to have their cooperation and support; 2. Military prowess – to withstand threats from contemporaries or situations that may hinder the pursuit and achievement of their interests; and 3. Good leadership, especially the head of government.
Enter Etinan Federal Constituency and the 2019 puzzle… let us liken the Federal House of Representatives to the international scene with 360 nation states. As much as we know that the primary reason for their assemblage is to work together towards strengthening the laws of the nation, but to the constituencies which elected them, they are not expected to return only with volumes of papers showing how many new laws they were able to make or how many of the old ones they were able to reform. There must be evident records of how much of the government programmes for developmental purposes they were able to channel back home. Same way we see the assemblage of nations in the international scene as primarily to foster world peace and security, but to the individual nations, the said peace and security is only important because the system must be conducive enough for them to successfully pursue and protect whatever their interests are.
Therefore, for the interest(s) of a constituency to be guaranteed, whoever they choose to send as representative must poses qualities similar to the economic viability, military strength and good leadership required of a nation in the case of the international system. These qualities are what the Etinan Federal Constituency electorates have been searching for in those seeking their mandate to represent them in the lower arm of the National Assembly come 2019. And it appears they have found someone already in possession of these qualities – someone scarcely known, but well known by all within and beyond the federal constituency and state. With the way the name of Onofiok Akpan Luke is heavily seated on the lips of the electorates, one would not be wrong drawing the conclusion that the search has finally ended satisfactorily.
But why Onofiok Luke? Yes, ordinarily, this question, though simple in appearance, should be a profound one, but goodly, the man in question had proactively made it simpler with his antecedents. His records are there and glaringly so. His leadership record from early youthful days till date will hastily tick him right past the good leadership test, just as it is required of a representative to earn him the confidence and support of his constituents. Eight out of every ten randomly selected indigenes of Etinan and Nsit Ibom will sure have attestations to this in the affirmative; and the remaining two will most likely not have anything negative to say, except a confession of either not encountering him closely or not hearing much about him; and if time permits further enquiries, they are also most likely to confess being Diasporans of Akwa Ibom origin. As for Nsit Ubium, his immediate constituency, even the diasporans will know him, because they must have been directly or indirectly touched by him through the mandate he was given which is due for expiration before this time next year.
Onofiok Luke’s representative strength can be likened to the military strength of a super power in world affairs. But unlike the latter, his strength is not to fight wars, or have the capacity to bark and bite. However, his own strength will serve Etinan Federal Constituency the functions of penetrating the power valves at the national level, subdue oppressing forces and place Etinan FC at the fore of developmental programmes of the government.
Finally, the question of Onofiok Luke’s economic viability should best be answered by Nsit Ubium people who are his present day constituents. The question should be about how he has managed the resources of the constituency that came through his office. Here, the satisfaction of the constituents as regards how well they have been fed, as well as the littered developmental projects that came to life through his office will provide the best response. And like I earlier scripted, ten out of every randomly selected ten persons will have something evident either in themselves or a relative of theirs to show as proof.
Ubong Sampson is Head of New Media to the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly