By Kufre Ambrose
Etinan Local Government Area is arguably rated as the brain box of Akwa Ibom State. The antecedents of this local government span across different spheres of leadership and influence in the State. There is virtually no human endeavour that an Etinan person is not sitting pretty on.
However, despite these huge human potentials embedded in the area, there is no commensurate strides that would stand the local government out among others created the same time. From the relatively lousy local government headquarters to the suburbs, there remains a vacuum in infrastructural development, empowerment and even leadership.
Different well-known names have had their shots in leadership positions and they have tried their best to get things fixed for the betterment of the area, yet there seems to be no rowing against the waves.
From the era of Arc. Aniedi King as Transition Chairman who was later elected to represent the Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives to the tenure of the former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Elder Sam Ikon, and the present member representing Etinan State Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Barr Aniefiok Dennis, Etinan people are still in search of a performer. A performer who will undertake the development of every facet of the local government area as his personal project; a representative who will see every Etinan son and daughter as his brother and sister without creating unseen political walls; a leader who will represent the people not a cabal; a man who will not feast on people’s acrimony to survive, and a performer who will stand tall to further the interest of Etinan people. In all these, Udo Ekwere fits well into the mould of such a leader.
Udo Ekwere represents the new generation of leadership in Etinan local government area. Udo Ekwere, an unassuming gentleman from Southern Iman ward3 has purposefully been out of publicity. As Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Transport, Udom Ekwere has assisted many young Akwa Ibomites particularly those from Etinan find their feet in different business ventures through what he termed “seed fund for business”
Through his connection and recommendations too, many Etinan sons and daughters have found places in the state civil service. Udo Ekwere is a man who does not care where anybody comes from in Etinan. He believes in ONE Etinan and careless about political affiliation, ward or interest.
It may sound unbelievable to his critics that this man, with meager income, has many Akwa Ibomites in different higher institutions under his scholarship scheme. His opinion about politics and leadership lies on selfless service.
From time to time, he has always rendered help to the People Democratic Party (PDP) to run its affairs in the area. For instance, as aide to Governor Udom Emmanuel, Udo Ekwere never minces words in urging the people of Etinan local government to support the Completion Agenda of the Udom administration.
This, he does with complementary act of sharing with people what trickles to him from the government. While doing this, he always attributes such gesture to Governor Emmanuel’s magnanimity. His trait of not being power-drunk sits him well among politicians in the local government area. He based his faith on the Biblical fact that power comes from God.
Come 2023, when he shall have been elected to represent Etinan State Constituency, Udo Ekwere revealed that he will use his position to better the lives of his constituents. He promised to adopt democratic leadership style of sharing decision-making opportunities with the people; promoting their interests and ensuring equal opportunity and right to all within his local government.
It, therefore, raises no debate whatsoever that Udo Ekwere’s ambition to represent Etinan State Constituency in 2023 is not borne out of self-aggrandizement or kleptomania that historically has been the undoing of many from the area, but the pressing need to serve and attract development to the area.
From time, Udom Ekwere has always been a peace-loving individual and the people of Etinan know and hope he will radiate same once he becomes their representative.
In terms of capability and acumen, Udo Ekwere, the House of Assembly hopeful, has garnered the needed skills to project the interest of Etinan people in the House of Assembly. Already, he has outlined the areas he needs to call state government’s attention to in the local government. He has also promised to liaise with relevant agencies to ensure life-touching projects are executed.
Udo Ekwere may not be God but truth and trait of trustworthiness are two things that have clearly distinguished him. As others were given chance to mount the saddle, let’s also give Udo Ekwere a chance, for he deserves it! And the time is NOW!