Circumstance that gave birth to zoning of political offices in Esit Eket, a Local Government that is made up of three Zones of A (three Wards), B (four Wards) and C (three Wards), has been re-enshrined by the directive of the State Governor. Over the years, political positions, particularly the State Executive Council seat, House of Assembly and Local Government Council seat, have been shared among the three zones in a clockwise order. Today, the chairmanship of the area of the area has been zoned to Zone A where a young entrepreneur who started business in 2012 with just N30, 000, Prince Ubong Akai, leads the race.
As a true party man, a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Akai, whose campaign slogan says Greater Grace 2017, sees greater Esit Eket. Ibom Telegraph caught up with him recently and had an on-the-spot chat. Excerpts:
It is no longer news that you are aspiring to the Chairmanship of Esit Eket Local Government Council. Why the aspiration?
I want to thank the Almighty God for the enablement and for courage to stand up and take on the leadership of my people. As a person, I have always desired to see good and positive things happen and I know that in life, when good men sit and do nothing, evil and negative things will thrive. Through God’s enablement, I have seen positive things happened in my life as a result of my experience and the little effort I have put into it. I know that I have what it takes for me to go and transform Esit Eket Local Government Area to become not just a destination in Akwa Ibom but a talked about and the envy of other local government areas.
Currently, Esit Eket is seen as ‘Utit Obio,’ meaning a place where nothing is happening. But that is not how it was meant to be. Esit Eket can be better than what it’s being perceived to be. I have seen the vast potentials and opportunity of turning Esit Eket into a better place. This is what has motivated me to aspire for the Chairmanship.
You are from a local government that has so much political gladiators and heavyweights across party lines. Are you tied to any of them? Are you not intimidated, aspiring for the Chairmanship of such a terrain?
Why should I be afraid? It is a source of strength for me seeing such political gladiators and heavyweights. Every leader wants his child to toe his footsteps. They say a pack of sheep led by a lion are seen fearless. So, I feel even motivated that I have people like that in Esit Eket, I am encouraged, and I want to be like them. It is right for a child to surpass his father, if I can, yes I will. So, I am encouraged. Let me tell you how Esit Eket politics is. In Esit Eket, we are one family and it is very difficult to disconnect the umbilical cord. We are all connected.
The Governor is advocating political inclusiveness, is this part of your agenda and will you do that?
I am an everyday person, a grassroots’ person. I know my people, I understand their pains. There are some things that are universal and hunger is one of that; political relevance and recognition is universal. So, as someone who truly understands my people, I know I am on ground. You can do your independent findings. Carrying my people along is a very small thing to do. Let me tell you this, there are people who left our great party, the PDP to the All Progressive Congress (APC). Some of them have Nichodemusly come to me to say that if I emerged as the elected Chairman of Esit Eket Local Government Council, trusting God that I will, that they will come back to PDP in their droves. Esit Eket is PDP and everybody will come back home.
What programme do you have, peradventure you are elected to lead your people at the Local Government Council?
Holistically, my duty is to compliment the ideals and programmes of the very capable Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Deacon Udom Emmanuel. So, I will further drive the Governor’s industrialization thrust. Esit Eket has Akwa Palm, which as we speak, is not as functional as it should be. With a purposeful leadership, we can give that place a new face.
Secondly, Esit Eket has one of the finest sands in Akwa Ibom State. If you go to Ntak Inyang, you will see that. Thank God that the road leading to Ntak Inyang has been done by the Governor which has further opened up the area, so our sand can be use for glass production. I have the connection to do that and we have the raw material readily.
Thirdly, we will ensure that agriculture is given a pride of place when we step in there. We have vast arable lands and with AKEES tomato revolution, we can explore these low hanging farm produce to our advantage. We have identified various tourism potentials in Esit Eket and the moment God, through the good people of Esit Eket, puts us on the saddle of leadership, we will definitely engage the gear in that direction. So, in a nutshell, we will partner with reputable investors and turn around Esit Eket economically.
Do you subscribe to the notion that the local government should be given autonomy?
From personal standpoint, I am a strong advocate for local government autonomy. Let me tell you my reason by using an everyday scenario to put that in place. When a man is responsible for his actions and inactions, he can be held accountable. When autonomy is given to the local government, there will be no cutting corners again because there will no body for you to put the blames on. It is my personal opinion anyway and that is not to say that my personal opinion will prevail but whatever will be handed over to us, we will definitely do a good work with it.