The 7th Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly is here, we know the members. The composition is at the moment 100% PDP. Forget about the election tribunal, it’s an inconsequential distraction. PDP won in Akwa Ibom convincingly and the elected members who had received certificates of return from the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC) on 28th March will commence duty latest 8th June.
To my knowledge, no zoning has been done by any authorized body on which state or federal constituency should produce the speaker or other leadership positions in the 7th Assembly. The tale about the position being zoned to Uyo federal constituency remains factitious as APC zoning the presidency to the south East in 2023 until manifested.
Probably the Uyo federal constituency as widely speculated by some persons of consequence will have the position zoned to them or maybe they will not, but whatever, I appeal to whichever body outside the assembly that may finally influence the polity to extol competency, experience and capacity over the principle of zoning.
For the interest of Akwa Ibom state, the speaker of the 7th Assembly by all means shouldn’t be a local champion and of course not an infantile lawmaker. The people need a matured lawmaker with strong business acumen coupled with international exposure to complement the effort of the governor in the industrialization of the state between 2019 and 2023. His Excellency Gov. Udom Emmanuel in his completion agenda aims to open Akwa Ibom state to more international investors. He was himself a man with national and international exposure and earned the accompanying recognition before becoming a governor in 2015, hence his ability to attract and retain foreign investors in the state. For us to achieve more, in a faster pace, am of the opinion we also need a speaker equipped with similar experiences if not better.
The most ranking member of the would be 7th assembly is no doubt the current house leader and member representing Oruk Anam state constituency, Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian Akpan. He is indisputably the most qualified person among other qualified lawmakers likely to clinch that position. Except zoning does not favor Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal constituency, I don’t see him losing that position, irrespective of other deciding factors. He is my best bet for the job.
The speaker of the 6th assembly, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke has in the last 3 years collaborated with the members to established an irreversible standard for Akwa Ibom state by introducing openness, transparency and effective communication into the polity. The people can only ask for more, nothing less. His successor must be a speaker that shall continue to ask the governor in every transaction, ‘what is in it for the people not something for himself, his or her federal constituency or the members of the state house of assembly alone.
The people, especially members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should take it as individual responsibility the obligation to fix watchful eyes on the members of the 7th Assembly. We should be guided by the truism that the success or failure of any government is not solely the responsibility of the governor or the executive arm of the government- commissioners, special advisers and assistants but largely that of the house members and by extension the people. If house members who are the representatives of the people take personal the plight of the people and effectively communicate same to the executive, I think the government will treat it with every sense of urgency it deserves.
As implemented by the 6th Assembly, the 7th Assembly must pay attention to critical institutions, empower the people in all aspects of living, provide social security and seek to foster and fortify the unity of the people. It should be opened, transparent and be always ready to communicate with the people not necessarily during a year or two to elections in the name of constituency briefing. As established and reiterated by the 6th assembly, the 7th assembly must maintain a robust working relationship with ministries, departments and agencies of government for the attainment of its set goals. It must necessarily insist on continuous accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility in the management of both internally generated revenue and federal fiscal allocations to the state.
For a better Akwa Ibom, the house members must at all times be reminded that they are first the peoples representatives before government officials and accordingly the interests of the people should supersede that of the government at every point in time.