It was indeed a unifying moment in Akwa Ibom State as a single event performed multifaceted functions. It was a day that Nigerians gathered in Akwa Ibom State to chart a new course for Nigeria. Even the location of the event was symbolic.
Held at Ikot Ekpene stadium, Senator Godswill Akpabio Constituency briefing brought people across the country to the ancient city of Ikot Ekpene, the first Local Government Area in West Africa. It was symbolic in the sense that the hallmark that birthed Local Government administration was to bring government to the grassroots where the poorest of the poor, the often perceived voiceless masses in the countryside can feel the impact of good governance and as well channel their problems to the central authority.
The Constituency briefing was a day of returning to interface with the very people who may not have known where National Assembly is in Abuja but have the power to decide whom the pendulum of power swings in favour when the political gladiators come during elections to seek their votes. Indeed, it was a day that Senator Akpabio brought back his scorecard to show his ‘Parents’ the very people who through a democratic intercourse birthed him at the red chambers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
People across the State suspended their other engagements to come and witness the colourful event. The Ikot Ekpene stadium was filled to capacity with people even before the anticipated time for the commencement of the event. Uniform organizations, socio-political groups, cultural displays and other side attractions added more flair to the event.
The arrival of Senator Akpabio was signalled with great jubilations from the crowd who were already in high spirit waiting for the home coming of their son, whom according to them, has made them proud on the floor of the red chambers. Clad in his traditional annang attire, Senator Godswill Akpabio arrived the stadium with a cream of PDP and APC senators from National Assembly who accompanied him to the event not only to show their solidarity but to get first hand information on the worth of the audacious Akpabio among his very people. Indeed, the crowd, the euphoria among the people and the warm reception given to Akpabio and his guests by the people across the State had proven the gold worth of Senator Akpabio among his people.
Senator Dino Melaye who spoke on behalf of the APC caucus in the senate, clearly attested to the personality of Godswill Akpabio and the sterling track records of his performance.
‘’The truth is that Senator Akpabio is doing well and it is also fundamental that the governor of Akwa Ibom State is doing well. I am very happy to be in Akwa Ibom and on behalf of the APC caucus in the Senate, we are here to appreciate one Nigerian with multiple competences, highly sagacious, politically great, Senator Godswill Akpabio. Akpabio good teaching, good product, wetin good no get another name, good them dey call am. We are asking you to support him, we know God is already supporting him, because Akpabio has done well and is still doing well,’’ Senator Melaye said.
According to political analysts, such a remark from a senator from the opposition party was an explicit testament of the performance of Senator Akpabio beyond rhetoric.
Furthermore, the presence of senators from the opposition party also a clear demonstration of how Nigerians can bury their differences and unite to chart a new course of peace, unity and growth for the country. Like Senator Akpabio had said, Nigeria a child born out of rape can still survive and fulfil her destiny.
Speaking on the significance of the constituency briefing and his empowerment programme, Senator Godswill Akpabio said the gesture was his own idea of giving back to his people in appreciation of the mandate they willingly gave him in 2015. He stressed the need for public office holders to always return to their people to give them reports on their stewardship.
‘’We have not come to mobilize for war, because we don’t believe that politics is about war. We believe that Politics is about servitude and service to humanity. We are trying to set a record that this is how it should be. When we send you to Abuja or anywhere, come back and give us a report… and I want to set this example that this is the way it should be, when you go out there come back and give report,’’ senator Akpabio advised.
Speaking, the senate president Dr. Bukola Saraki commended the Senator Akpabio for his performance at senate and described the empowerment packages as timely in view of the economic situation in the country.
According to him, ‘’this is an economically trying time for our people, especially the teaming millions of our youths, therefore, any programme geared towards entrepreneurship and skills acquisition empowerment for our youths, is timely.’’
The senate president was represented at the event by Senator Philip Aduda.
Senator Akpabio doled out various empowerment packages for the people of his constituency which include: scholarship awards to 250 beneficiaries, Bursary awards to 22 beneficiaries, 20 Cars, 10 Buses, 4 Tractors, 58 tricycles, 113 Computers/ Printers, 194 Sewing machines, Generators among others.
According to pundits, Senator Godswill Akpabio has set a record of outstanding representation which other representatives should emulate.
Senator Godswill Akpabio aside from the empowerment packages used the event to warn against the eminent danger in the country and called for urgent attention to address the situation.
‘’The war drums in our country have overwhelmed unity lines in our National Anthem. It has threatened the cords of our brotherhood. The political pressure is high but the country is not yet hypertensive. However, that heart needs close monitoring because if the diseased parts of this country is not healed soon, the heart will get worse for it. If the Biafra agitation is not fixed; If the Arewa threat of the eviction of the Igbos is not addressed; If Boko Haram and insurgency which despite the gallantry of our armed forces in crushing them still perpetrate their evil of bombing and launching of attacks at soft targets, are not totally diminished; If all the flash points are allowed to fester; then the uneven heartbeat of the country could degenerate into a cardiac arrest.’’ Senator Akpabio warned.
In his remarks, Governor Udom who also graced the event said the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District were lucky to have Governor Akpabio as their Senator and described the crowd at the event as an explicit manifestation of the love the people of the state has for the Senator Godswill Akpabio.