Friday, June 14, 2024



By Ndueso BENSON


Socrates, in one of his philosophica postulations once states that, “A man is justified in embarking on a political career, if he posseses knowledge of moral values, capable of changing the characters of people that he seeks to lead.”


 This postulation, indeed, has also been amplified by Plato who notes that, “The best, rational and righteous political order, leads to a harmonious unity of society, and allows each of its part to flourish.”


Socrates used the pronoun “he” because there is no word that depicts masculine, feminine or neuter and until recent times, the male pronoun dominated and controlled the most aspect of life, including politics and law.


Hon Emem Ibanga, the transition chairman of Nsit Atai Local Government Area, has fitted squarely into the descriptions of the two renowned philosophers, when one undertakes a logical insight into the happenings in Nsit Atai for the past eight and a half years.


History is replete with incontrovertible facts and proofs that, before the emergence of Hon Emem Ibanga as the chairman of Nsit Atai Local Government Area, the area was a hot bed of problems and a serious red flag zone for security in the state. But since Hon Emem Ibanga assumed the leadership throne of the Local Government Area, insecurity and other threats to human lives and property, have been thrown to the dungeon because like Socrates says, she “posseses the knowledge of moral values capable of changing the characters of people that he seeks to lead.”


For the past eight years, Nsit Atai has incredibly worn a toga of distinction in development, representation, change and responsible leadership, courtesy of Hon Emem Ibanga. The Amazon has not only broken the jinx but has departed from it. She has brought to bear a leadership that is seen, felt and enjoyed by a vast majority of the people of Nsit Atai.


Her towering height in rural development, passion for change, compassion for her people and the communities, have inadvertently pitch her against a few individuals, who, at one time or the other, have had the opportunities to steer the ship of affairs of the council.


But like the Biblical Esther, Hon Emem Ibanga has committed herself to rebuild the ruins of her fatherland and give her people a new lease of life and a breath of fresh air.


Of course, one is not oblivious of the fact that,  changing an old order is not a mince-meat affair. One is bound to step on toes and even receive opprobrium. That is why, Hon Emem Ibanga has been at the centre of various unfounded allegations, name-calling, mudslinging and calculated tactics to diminish her records and bring her low in the eyes of right thinking members of the society.  She has a penchant for truth and does not believe or allow herself to be entangled in dirty deals. Many have said, her vocal posture when one of the stakeholders allegedly used the party Exco list of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to bargain for sex with a girl, which culminated in the list being leaked to the public, has added to her pounds of hatred.


Her uncompromising mien and demeanour towards sharing the Council’s money to a few self- acclaimed leaders against providing quality life for a vast majority of Nsit Atai people,  have again become her greatest crime. Every well-meaning citizen of Nsit Atai are aware that Hon Emem Ibanga speaks truth to power. She has resisted and vehemently so, the notion of conducting the Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee, FGPC, in a private residence of any stakeholder, which was the order of the day by past administrations.


Several threats to her life and development of the local government area, have failed. Only recently, the account of her Council has been garnished through the handiwork of “a few detractors and those, who, no matter what she does, can be recommend her. People close to her said, “Mma does not entertain anything that distracts her attention. She is focused on writing the story of Nsit Atai on gold plates.”


On several occasions, attempts have been made to assassinate, maim and or remove Hon Emem Ibanga from the seat by these few individuals but providence, forthrightness, discipline, pragmatism, always available to her people, have made the voice of the majority, cutting across the youth, women and elders, to always prevailed. Records on ground have shown that the local government chairman has keyed into the Arise Agenda mantra of the Gov Umo Bassey Eno administration, even before the administration came into power, and littered development projects across the length and breath of Nsit Atai Local Government Area for the past eight years.


Suffice it to mention some of the programmes and projects that have made Hon Emem Ibanga the most “hunted” and “taunted” local government chairman Nsit Atai has ever had. She has within her stay in the council provided standard boreholes at Afahabang, Ikot Nyoho Edong, Ikot Ubok Udom and even the Traditional Rulers Council, TRC, in the area; sponsored surgeries for children with cleft  palates and lips; donated hospital equipment to the Primary Health Centre, Odot; graded a good number of roads yearly; donated food items, cash and clothing to rural and vulnerable women;donated vehicles to key Council Officials, the paramount ruler and some private citizens of the area;gave business grants to some youth as well as yearly Christmas packages to youth, women and party members.


Hon Emem Ibanga also built and inaugurated an ultra-modern office complex, code-named *Peace House;” empowered persons living with disabilities; assisted wives of ex-servicemen; invested in sports development; caused the demarcation of the boundary between Ndon Ikot Itie Udung and Ikot Edong in Nsit Atai LGA and Ekpene Ukim in Uruan LGA to end over eight decades of boundary feud that claimed so many lives; trees were recently planted at the new boundary to signify peace.


 In line with the agricultural development of the Arise Agenda of the Gov Umo Eno administration, she has also  established  demonstration farms at Odot and Okoro Nsit villages; renovated the council block;  paid compensation to land owners within the Stadium site and went ahead to open up the stadium for use. It was first used for the last Children’s day celebration;  empowered members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, on passing out; gave premium to the development of culture and tourism in the area;  financed the rebuilding of a collapsed bridge at Odot 2,  to connect the village with neighbouring communities; built the first ever abattoir in Nsit Atai; she is an  instrument to the building of an ultra modern market at Ikot Akpabio.


So, who is afraid of Hon Emem Ibanga? They should let Nsit Atai be! Providing an answer to this question is not far-fetched. A former councillor in the area, Hon David David told yours truly that, “those who are afraid of the towering political profile of Hon Emem Ibanga; those who have been shamed by Hon Emem Ibanga to the extent that, a local government chairman can be close to her people and also meet their needs; those who are enemies of peace because their means of survival was always to stoke problems and corner Council’s money in disguise; those who have refused to embrace light over darkness in Nsit Atai Local Government Area; those who are yet to come to terms with the new socio-political cum economic order that Hon Emem Ibanga has brought to Nsit Atai Local Government Area.


 “Nsit Atai politics has camps; those who hate her have never and may never say anything good about her. They sponsored the late Smart Ben who was rusticated from University of Uyo to contest against her in 2017 and the whole local government rose against them. Every other person or groups are applauding Hon  Emem Ibanga for doing well. Recently, she was given a leadership award from the Presidency for doing well. Another organization, The Rootswatch also honoured her with  award in Abuja recently.


A youth activist and first legislative leader in Nsit Atai, Hon. Owodimo George poured encomiums on the Chairman for leading the people in such a superlative and rewarding manner.


Hon. Mercy Robson, a woman activist and a former Councillor said, she was in love with the Chairman for her excellent showing.


The traditional institution and even the elders are with her. Please, let Nsit Atai be!


… Benson is an Uyo-based journalist.


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