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Monday, July 8, 2019


The Akwa Ibom State house of Assembly has urged council chairmen across the 31 local government Areas in the State to remain dedicated and committed to the course of bringing governance closer to the people and enhancing development in the grassroot.

Rt. Hon. Mark Esset, who is the chairman, House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the 7th Assembly, gave the charge Tuesday, July 2, when he led members of his committee on a routine oversight function to enable the committee ascertain with facts the level of development, projects and compliances as well as challenges faced by respective council Chairmen.

The routine inspection by the committee first landed in Ibiono Ibom which was their  first point of call. On ground to welcome the team were the Head of Service, Mr. Owonam Akpan, members of the legislature led by their leader/councillor representing Ibiono Ibom ward 3, Hon. Enobong Ekong and a few staffs.

The committee chairman, Rt. Hon. Mark Esset, who frowned at the ugly sight of the council environment. Advised that sanitation within the council premises should be significantly upgraded to make the council environment conducive for both the chairman and staffs and not as a breeding zone for reptiles so as to depict the face of government.

As the team proceeded to Abak and Ikot Ekpene local government Areas, chairmen of these LGAs were not seen in their offices.

Welcoming the committee chairman and his members to Abak LGC were the council secretary, Head of service as well as leader of the legislature. They submitted that Abak legislative council has no chambers for councillors to carry out their core constitutional functions. They added that the council has the renovation of administrative block and legislative chamber as ongoing  projects.

While in Ikot Ekpene, the committee chairman ephasized that the purpose of the oversight function is to see to reality efective implementation of projects initiated and  programs carried out for the benefit of those in the grassroot.
Mark Esset while inspecting Ikot Ekpene council Secretariat and the cenotaph which was covered by grassess, lamented on the reckless abandonment of government properties by the council boss. He equally advocated for an improved maintanace culture and dedication to duties.

Ibesikpo Asutan LGC, according to the Head of service, elder Samuel Ufot, the council has total staffs strength of 480. Ibesikpo Asutan was the only LGA where the council boss was physically present to recieve the committee members. The committee commended the council boss for living by example.

"On behalf of this committee and by extension, members of the 7th Assembly, I congratulate the chairman of Ibeskpo Asutan LGA for his great works in keeping his LGC environment clean and for being in office. This is the true character of a leader" Mark Esset said.

"Local government is the closest government to the people, and the impact of governement is felt through the local government. We have gone round the entire premises; the environment is clean and this further portrays your seriousness and commitment to change the face of governance" Esset added.

On their arrival at Nsit Ubium, the team were received by the Head of Service, Mr. Clifford Ubak. The committee after their assessment demanded to know the number of projects initiated under the incumbent council chairman.
Responding, Mr. Ubak said renovation of the council Secretariat to give it a new face-lift and painting of the perimeter fencing are the only projects. Though, he claimed ignorance of not being aware of the actual cost estimate for the council perimeter fencing project, stating that he is yet to receive any document relating to such project.

Council chairman, VC, Secretary, members of the legislature and supervisors were all absent. Nsit Ubium Council has a total of 292 staffs strength, while only 37 out of the 292 were physically present during the assesment tour.

On his part, the deputy Chief Whip and member representing Onna State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Nse Essien, advised all council's  Head of Service and directors of works to always inquire from their respective Local government chairmen source of funds for any project approved to be embarked upon. He said this will help in improving transparency and  fund prudency.

"With what we have seen which is  obvious, the environment of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area is an eye saw, it's apologetic, its very very disheartening that a government that is closer to the people, that tells the image of the local government can be in this dilapidated state. Gentlemen of the press, if you can look behind us, what ought to have been a signage of this local government and the flag is not there; this is very disappointing". Mark Esset siad.

On arrival at  the council secretariat, the committee chairman announced to the Chairman of Eket Mr. Frank Archibong, who represented by his Vice chairman, Mr. Nsikan John, who was on ground to receive them that they came for an oversight function to enable his committe ascertain the  level of development, projects initiated as well as challenges faced by the council.

The VC who was  accompanied by the Head of service led the the committee round the council secretariat which they carefuflly  inspected the newly constructed and commissioned staff canteen, mini buses transport scheme, waste  disposal bins,  as well as the council environment.

The VC and Head of Service also informed  the committee of the ongoing legacy project (200,000 capacity hall), initiated by the executive chairman, Mr. Frank Archibong;  but, due to time factor, the committee were unable to visit the project site for inspection.

"Comparing to other local Government we have inspected so far, it is obvious that in Eket LGA, staffs are seen on duty. Considering the staffs strength you have told us, and their numbers here in the time book;  i must say it is commendable.
So, i want to appreciate the staffs in Eket local government for being committed and faithful to their  responsibilities justifying their salaries which they are paid.
*Here in Eket Local Government; you have demonstrated that you are really happy with what Governor Udom Emmanuel is doing by being at your duty post. This House of Assembly Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs sincerely commend you for this"*

"The closest government to the grassroot is the local government, and the local government is seen as a yardstick where government can be appraised by the people. So, if the local government is not effective, it therefore give out negative impression about the government in a whole; let me at this point commend the chairman, Frank Archibong for initiating legacy Projects which will surely stand the test of time". He added.


Here, the Big  question arising is, IS NSIT ATAI LGC IN EXISTENCE?

"Looking at what was seen on ground, it is very possible for one to believe that "Nsit Atai" is not in existence as a functional local government"
-Member, Ibiono Ibom, Hon. Godwin Ekpo.

The state of the council environment is in total mess. unsafe for staffs, councillors etc. The whole place seem to be a breeding zone for reptiles.

Though, its been under renovation for about a year plus now. And considering the pace of work done and the amount said to have been released, I doubt if the renovation project will be completed without external supports and funding from individuals and organizations and this is the constituency of the committee chairman, Rt. Hon. Mark Esset.

"Your council chairman is not on duty, the vice chairman is not on duty, your directors are not on duty, in fact; the entire serene of the environment is unkept. This is embarrassing.

Madam, (HoS), are you telling us that you have not been receiving allocation meant for #NsitAtai LGA?  This committee will have to revisit this LGA because this apologetic state of LGC we are seeing does not reflect government existence.

We are not happy with what we have seen, the level of job, project cost you cannot even say. we are not satisfied with what we are seeing here on ground. Staffs are not on duty, this clearly shows that the council is not in existence. This is so sad".

-Hon. Godwin Ekpo. Member Representing Ibiono Ibom State Constituency, speaking yesterday in Nsit Atai LGC during the House of Assembly Committee On Local Government And Chieftaincy Affairs oversight function to the area.

Mark Esset however applauded  His Excellency Deacon Udom Emmanuel whom he described as one governor that does not joke with workers welfare in terms of prompt payment of salaries.

Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, is chaired by Rt. Hon. Mark Esset /Member Represnting Nsit Atai State Constituency. Other members of the committee include, Rt. Hon. Nse Essien, Deputy chief whip and member representing Onna State constituency, Rt. Hon. David Lawrence (Eket), Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Aniefiok Dennis, Deputy House Leader (Etinan),  Rt. Hon. Uduak Odudoh, (Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo), Hon. (Dr.) Charity Ido (Ukanafun), Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko (Ibesikpo Asutan.)

Others are Hon. Godwin Ekpo (Ibiono Ibom), Rt. Hon. Effiong Bassey (Oron/Udung Uko), Hon. Asuquo Okon Frank (Mbo) and Rt. Hon. Asuquo Archibong (Urue Ofong/Oruko).


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