DOES OTOBONG BOB DESERVE A SECOND TERM? (Part 1)

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Naturally, one is always reluctant to descend into the arena of evaluating the performance of political office holders in order to avoid being blinded by the dust raised by their supporters or detractors. But, as watchdog of the society, I owe a sacred duty to raise my voice in the court of public opinion in the belief that the society is doomed if public opinion is rigged by false propagandists.

It is against this background that it becomes imperative to evaluate the performance of Hon. (Barr.) Otobong Effiong Bob, member representing Nsit Ubium State Constituency, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, in order to ascertain the rationality or otherwise of his second term bid.

In simple terms, every legislator performs three basic roles namely: Lawmaking, Representation and Oversight. So, members of the House of Assembly are expected to: make laws, carry out representative functions on behalf of the people who in our case, are demarcated in 26 State constituencies, and at the same time oversight the executive arm of government which include the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to ensure that government is held accountable to the people from where it derives its sovereignty. In the part 1 of what promises to be a series, the lawmaker on the ‘Hot Seat’, Hon. (Barr.) Otobong Bob, would be assessed on Lawmaking and Representation.

LAWMAKING:

On the business of law making which is his primary assignment, the parliamentarian ranks as one of the most productive members among his colleagues. In fact, when an Akwa Ibom based Newspaper reported on the 12th December, 2021, that, “a good number of lawmakers in the 26 members House, were yet to sponsor a bill more than two years after assuming office”, the member representing Nsit Ubium State Constituency stood head and shoulders above most legislators. In 36 months, he sponsored no fewer than half a dozen Bills, co-sponsored at least thirty (30) bills and a dozen impactful motions of urgent importance; an impressive record for a first term member.

The Bills he has tabled before the House are as follows:

(1) A Bill For A Law To Establish Akwa Ibom State Security Trust Fund.

(2) A Bill For A Law To Provide For The Preservation, Protection And Restoration Of Historical Properties And Cultural Heritage Sites In Akwa Ibom State.

(3) A Bill For A Law To Establish Akwa Ibom State Office Of The Public Defender, to mention a few.

Besides the above mentioned bills, Hon. Bob has co-sponsored the following bills:

(1) The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill.

(2) A bill for a law to make provision for the establishment of Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency and other matters connected therewith.

(3) A bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State Tourism, Art and Culture Endowment Fund.

(4) A bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State College of Science and Technology.

(5) A bill for a law to provide for the establishment of Akwa Ibom State Debt Management Office.

(6) A bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom Bureau of Public Procurement and budget monitoring.

(7) A bill for a law to regulate free basic and compulsory education and other matters connected therewith.

(8) A bill for a law to provide for free tuition and examination fees in public primary and secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State and for related purposes.

(9) A bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom Neighborhood Safety Corps and for connected purposes.

(10) A bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom Professional Counseling Commission.

(11) A bill for a law to protect the physically challenged against all forms of discrimination.

(12) A bill for a law for the Administration of Customary Courts and for related matters.

(13) A bill for a law to regulate the business of scrap metal dealers and similar goods and for connected matters.

(14) A bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom Park and Garden Agency.

(15) A bill for a law to impose an Education Levy to be used in accelerating and enhancing the educational development of the State and for other matters connected thereto.

(16) A bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State Information Technology Development Agency.

(17) A bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom Residents Registration Agency

(18) The Akwa Ibom State Administration of Criminal Justice Bill.

(19) A bill to amend the Akwa Ibom State College of Education law and for other matters connected therewith.

(20) A bill to amend the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission Law 2007 and for other matters connected therewith.

(21) A bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State Road Traffic Authority and for other matters connected therewith.

(22) A bill for a law to provide for the compulsory medical treatment and care for child victim of sexual violence and related matters, among several other bills.

REPRESENTATION:

A member of the House of Assembly is elected to represent a constituency to protect their people’s interest and take constituents’ grievances to the Chamber for effective representation. Though they are to be committed to the unity and welfare of the people, their constituents expect that they engage issues on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence.

In representation, the Nsit Ubium law luminary-cum-parliamentarian has moved a good number of motions, including:

(1) A call for immediate take-over of Ndukpoise Ubium Health Centre by Akwa Ibom State Government.

(2) Motion to relocate the dumpsite at Uyo village Road.

(3) Clarion call to stem the tide of quackery in Akwa Ibom Health Sector.

(4) Gradual pace of infrastructural deterioration at the 65 years old centre of academic excellence at Salvation Army Secondary School, Akai Ubium: A passionate call for government reclamation.

(5) Call for investigation into the gruesome murder of Gabriel Bassey Edward.

He has also co-sponsored the following three motions;

(1) Intensification of Akwa Ibom State Infectious Disease Prevention Measures as Nigeria records first confirmed case of Corona Virus.

(2) Post Covid-19 food sufficiency, closure of livestock market and fall in crude oil price; A wake up call to support Akwa Ibom State Agricultural Sector.

(3) Urgent need to arrest the alarming rate of rape and violence against women and children in Akwa Ibom State.

It is worthy to note that the aforementioned bills are at various stages of passage, while the Motions enjoyed overwhelming support and approval of the Members of the 7th Assembly.

Still under representation, Hon. Otobong Bob, has surpassed the achievements of some two–term lawmakers with juicy positions in the legislature. With respect to human capital development and youth empowerment, Bob is a reference point among his colleagues. Checks divulge that the strength of the soft-spoken young parliamentarian’s workforce (Direct and Constituency support staff) is more than twenty five (25). The youthful and youth-friendly legislator tapped mostly youths to work for him in order to encourage the maximization of their potential as well as create room for mentorship experiences.

The Ikot Ekwere in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area born lawmaker has also facilitated the employment of his constituents in different spheres, including in the Navy, Airforce, Nigeria Police, Civil Defence. He has also secured jobs for Nsit Ubium youths in the Federal and State Civil Service.

In addition to facilitating the employment of youths in the aforementioned establishments, Hon. Bob has shown practical commitment to the up-skilling of youths. He has sponsored the training of many youths in agribusiness, fashion, industrial welding, carpentry, make-up, catering among others.

Hon. Otobong Bob is an avid promoter of small and medium scale enterprises. He is a strong advocate of working women. This explains his seed capital initiative which has benefited many women and widows in Nsit Ubium. He has also donated sewing machines, hair dressing machines, complete make-up kits to women to advance their livelihood.

The education friendly lawmaker has sustained and expanded his scholarship scheme which he started upon assumption of office. Last week, Bob sponsored a medical treatment for an indigent constituent abroad who had complicated issues. Charitable acts of this nature, the lawmaker said, they are innumerable, but quoted the Biblical admonition in Matthew 6:3 (New King James Version): “When you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

On infrastructural development, Barr. Bob has facilitated/sponsored the following projects in Nsit Ubium:

(1) The Renovation of two (2) classroom blocks at Community Secondary School, Ikot Okwot.

(2) The renovation of six (6) Classroom blocks at St. Fabian Primary School, Ndukpoise.

(3) Distribution of 600 school desks to various schools in Nsit Ubium.

(4) Water project in Ikot Akpan Abia Ubium.

(5) Water project in Ikot Ekpene Udo

(6) Water project in Nung Obong villages.

(7) Opening of constituency office at Ikot Edibon.

(8) Donation of Toyota Salon Cars to Constituents

(9) Opening of constituency office at Ikot Edibon

(10) Inauguration of an emergency Covid-19 management response team to go round the entire constituency to educate constituents on preventive measures, distribution of nose masks and palliatives.

SUBMISSION:

Without controversy, the scope of Otobong’s impact in 36 months as member representing Nsit Ubium in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, has dwarfed the achievements of his co-travellers in and outside the State. Nsit Ubium people can bear witness that their son and brother’s first term has yielded evidence-based results, the like of which is rare in our part of the country.

With every sense of honesty, Hon. (Barr.) Otobong Bob has dutifully acquitted himself as the trustee of the mandate of his constituents and therefore, earned a second term, for it is said in latin: “Res ipsa loquitur,” meaning “Fact speaks for itself”

His inexhaustible list of achievements has indeed recommended him for a second term in office. Therefore, without any equivocation, Otobong Bob is the only choice for quality representation that the peace loving people of Nsit Ubium can make in the forthcoming election.

*Nsit Ubium, keed anem ntom, iba ndien – e???*

… _to be continued!_

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