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By Imo Ben

It took less than 30 minutes to conclude that the race to the Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) senatorial district has now taken a positive direction with the coming in of a dependable, tested and trusted former representative in the National Assembly, Hon. Akaniyene Eyo, who served as member for Abak/Etim Ekpo
/Ika Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003.

Within the short session together, my colleagues and I witnessed a rare display of clinical oratory with deep knowledge and intelligent content so amazing to comprehend, given the absence of all knowing posture most politician present even from a far. He appeared simple with listening ears until he displayed rare leadership capacity and qualities only experienced lawmaker possess. His excellent sense of judgement on socio-political developments in his senatorial district, state and at the federal level was stunning.

The issues based discussion on what it takes to be an exceptional lawmaker in the congregation of representatives at national level was revealing. His contributions in the dialogue exposed the additional advantage of having a tested hand in the Senate instead of wasting valuable time grooming a new comer at that level. From his presentations, we deducted that such learning period should be in the State House of Assembly and to some extent in the House of Representatives, not in the highest legislatve body – the Senate.

Through the former representative, we leant that being a green horn in legislative business at the level of Senate is of great disadvantage to where such senator represents if placed side by side with anyone who had gone through legislatve experience in the National Assembly to understand the workings, political and administrative intrigues practised in the nation’s highest Hallow Chamber. With this enlightenment, it is a fact to agree with that his cognitive experience cannot be traded for whatever reason in preference for a neophyte, if people of the district desire a Senator who will hit the ground running.

In the National Assembly, ranking members enjoy more sense of confidence to approach challenges because they are familiar with the ropes and rudiments of rules and business of the House as well as know how, who and where to lobby to get their demands quickly attended.
This advantaget is because special attention is given to them within the system as a common legislatve cum parliamentary procedure.

In fact, to enjoy this extra-attention is why as a swearing in formality forms for documentation provides a space where it demanded that members state clearly if they have been in the National Assembly before or not; and if so indicate the positions held and committees they served. This is to know sensitive responsibility and more beneficial portfolios to allocate to them. Whereas, newcomers are given lesser ones since they are not as regarded in terms of ranking as older and experienced members in any of the two arms of the Assembly.

Besides, the aspirant is a proactive person who when he seats as a ranking member will surely display better capacity to address issues affecting his senatorial district as well as state of origin. He will use this advantage to attract more dividends of democracy to his constituents. For example Hon. Eyo does not need a familiazation experience again,whereas, usually, some new members waste productive time learning through on seat.

Unfortunately, the Senate does not need raw materials, it is better to have those who have been processed already and are ready to deploy their knowledge and experiences as added value to outdo the new ones in performance. In fact, older ones are the lecturers, while new arrivals are students no matter their academic or professional qualifications.

Erroneously, novices think certain professions give advantage; like being a lawyer. But according to the former member House of Representatives, the notion is a false assumption which does not hold water and cannot stand the test of fact. According to him “for the performance of a legislator to be outstanding, it is a function of traits of naturally endowed leadership gift, aquired knowledge, selfless character and most importantly in terms of the Senate, experience. It has nothing to do with being a professor of law or political science. True!

“A lawyer basically defends in courts based on Laws(Acts)which Lawmakers make in their respective Legislatures at the State and Federal levels,” Hon. Eyo noted that 99% of those who make laws of the nation are not lawyers or read political science, rather “it is captivity and competence derived from training, on the job experience and knowledge aquired. No specific course better positions members in the Senate than cognitive experience.”

Based on the premise discussed, Hon. Eyo alone amongst those aspiring has the capacity to render best representation based on advantage of cognitive experience and is even more strengthened by his tested and proven sterling personal and leadership character.

Significant testimonies are abound to prove the politician performed exceptionally well in 1999 even at the young age of 30 years. The age when most people in his shoes were not mentally, emotionally and knowledge-wise prepared to shoulder such burdens of representation at that level. Unsurprisingly, his superlative performance was not a surprise to those who had followed his leadership and political antecedents right from his student days, after graduation and rise in partisan politics at that comparatively youthful age.

If at that the age of 30 years with minimal experience, he shocked a lot of people with remarkable representation, now with added advantage of experience, maturity in age, political connections
and boosted passion to render selfless service, what is expected of him will be amazing. It is why when compared with other fresh hands aspiring, the electorates have him as their preferred choice. His capacity cannot be compromised for those of lesser value in 2023. Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district deserves nothing less than the obvious best.

Ben is a Journalist and Public Affairs Commentator

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