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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Being the text of the 4th and last briefing of Nsit Ubium State Constituency by Rt. Hon. Barr Onofiok Luke, Speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly and Out-going Member representing Nsit Ubium State Constituency in the House, today 5th June, 2019 at the Council Secretariat, Nsit Ubium


I stand before all of you in this solemn gathering deeply thankful to God who has made everything possible in His time. I thank Him whose words never fail to be made manifest in due season. I thank Him who made the times and ordered the seasons so that His glory be made manifest as He pleases. And this morning, it has pleased God that we gather here to mark the passing of a season, and to usher in another.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, our Elders, women, students and youths, the political class, this is a moment of very mixed feelings for me. Mixed feelings in the sense that I feel a terrific joy in my spirit that what seemed impossible at the start has now dovetailed to a seamless end. I feel also the depressive and sober side of me as I stand to address you the very last time as the Member Representing Nsit Ubium State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

For 8 years since venturing formally into the mainstream political arena, I have not known a political abode that was warmer than the political family of Nsit Ubium. I have not felt more accepted anywhere else than I have in Nsit Ubium. No embrace has felt more fatherly than those of our elders led by Sen. Effiong Bob, and no prayers have built a stronger hedge around me like the prayers of Nsit Ubium women. I have not had more energetic defenders than I have had in Nsit Ubium youths and no set of students have expressed greater faith in me than the students of Nsit Ubium.

When I stood before you under the hazy political atmosphere of 2011, talking to men and women who had paid their dues in the great political arena of this local government area, I did so with the profundity of hope that perhaps a young man like me with a family that had no name in Nsit Ubium, would find a friendly hand or two to help my toddler steps. I had stepped into the ring hoping that I perchance I would get enough cheers to sustain me through every round of the fights.

But 8 years down this fateful road, I can say that I got far more than I ever imagined I would get from you. From every village and clan in Nsit Ubium, I got more than helping hands; I got a multitude of people who were ready to sacrifice anything and everything to see to my rising. You disregarded my background and showed me unmatchable love, loyalty and faith. For 2 solid terms, you trusted me with a most coveted mandate to serve in the state parliament. When I promised you a robust legislative engagement in the first term, you believed and you supported me to deliver on that promise. When I came back and asked you to return me to the House to consolidate on that engagement, you rode against the political tides to grant me that request without questioning.

And so I have come to say thank you. Today is not the day to reel out achievements made in the past 8 years, or the accomplishments made since the midterm. Instead, I have come to say thank you. I have come to pour out my heart in appreciation to you. I have come to thank the elders for the prayers and their wise counsels. I have come to thank the women for rallying other women to stand by me. I have come to thank the youths for defending me and always tuning out to solidarize with me. I am indebted to many of you who showed me support even without coming an inch close to me or without directly benefitting at all from me. I thank the clergy for the altar they raised everyday for my success. I thank the political class which sowed the first seed through giving me the opportunity to serve. Today I stand before you as the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly and as the member-elect for Etinan/Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom Federal Constituency in the 9th National Assembly. This would never have been possible if you in Nsit Ubium did not provide me with a solid home base which God used to make the politically crooked paths straight for me. Let me reiterate that my victory in Nsit Ubium in the last election which contributed to my ultimate emergence as member-elect for Etinan/Nsit Ubium/Nsit Ibom Federal constituency is one of the many testimonies of the overwhelming love that you have for me and the confidence you have reposed in me. I promise to reciprocate this mandate you have given to me by working harder towards ensuring better lives for our people.

Let me also use this opportunity to thank His Excellency the Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, for his cooperation with me and by extension with the people of Nsit Ubium. I am confident that he will continue with this partnership with us as he takes up the mantle for second term. I encourage you to please give him maximum cooperation and trust in his sincerity to execute the completion agenda which he has set before him.

I thank the People’s Democratic Party, the very party which showed faith in me and which internal democratic systems stood undauntedly to see to my return to the House of Assembly in 2015. For a party which has offered Nsit Ubium so much since 1999, it is only fair that we join hands and build our party, support it, and stand by it to remain the winning party in our local government and in our state.

And very specially, I want to thank His Excellency Senator Godswill Akpabio and his wife who in 2011 gave me the opportunity which led me to the state House of Assembly. I want also to thank His Excellency Obong Umana Okon Umana who supported me to run in that election and in stood my me in many other ways. Four other people deserve my special recognition for their role in my entrant into politics at the local level. Mr Friday Udo Dick, David Udo Umana, Victor City and Victor Umoh.

Iwant to thank the Amazing Grace family for supporting me. I thank the OLB and a whole lot of others who stood by me and ensured that I succeeded. I thank my wife and my children, my mother, my siblings and their spouses for all the supports. I thank my family for tolerating and embracing all the inconveniences that came with these 8 years of service. 

I have not come here to give a long speech but to thank you and to simply hand you over a report summarising my 8-year engagement in the state assembly particularly in the three cardinal mandate areas of lawmaking, oversight and representation. I have decided to document these modest achievements in the report in order to provide you with a pedestal upon which to get a better view and perspective of my legislative efforts, and to make informed assessment therefrom. As you may already be aware, I have sponsored 3 private member bills since our last meeting of this setting. I have also attempted to open up newer legislative frontiers for you though multiple oversight engagements within and outside the state. All these efforts are captured summarily in the legislative report.

Dear constituents, let me state here categorically that the verve exhibited in my commitment to legislative representation will never grow weaker. Even from the National Assembly, I will continue to implement my representative agenda to the extent that my resources and network can fuel. Today, we will be expanding the scope of that representative effort to encompass two new schemes called the Special Education Intervention Programme (SEIP) and the Start-Up Expansion Grant (SEG). Both programmes will complement the ongoing Seed Capital for Business Start-up, the Skill Development Support Programme, Constituency Education Support Scheme Small Scale Business Support, the Agriculture Development Scheme, the Constituency Infrastructure Development Project, and the Constituency Transport Scheme. All these programmes have been ongoing and their implementation will continue even while I am in Abuja.

Today, we will be launching the Special Education Intervention Programme and the Start-up Expansion Grant. For the education programme ten students will be getting a total sum of One million Naira at 100,000 Naira each. Under the start-up category, we are offering 500,000 Naira to ten widows at 50,000 Naira each, while there is One Million Naira for 20 enterprising youths at 50,000 Naira each. Ten women will receive 500,000 Naira at 50,000 Naira per woman, and another 500,000 Naira will be given to 10 physically persons at 50,000 Naira per person. I promise that from time to time we shall continue to inject funds into our new and flagship empowerment programme in order to continue to accelerate growth in economy and skills among our constituents. Let me state that even while we are doing this formally, everyday that God gives us life, we have continued to provide empowerment to people.

I encourage you to please forward concerns which we could form into a bill or motion and table before the national house. 

Let me congratulate my brother Hon. Barr Otobong Bob who will be taking over from me. I am confident in his capacity to do more. I therefore urge you to give him unflinching love and cooperation.

If I ever had the opportunity to take the job of a state lawmaker a million times, Nsit Ubium State Constituency would be the choice a million and one times. As I bow out tomorrow, I invite you all to the valedictory sitting to end the 6th Assembly.

Thank You and God bless you for standing by me.

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