By Ofonime Honesty
Few weeks ago, June 11, 2022 precisely, National Assembly legislators in Nigeria, elected in 2019, completed the third lunar cycle of the four year mandate bestowed upon them. Drums were rolled out across the land in celebration. Both active and inactive national legislators were in the thick of merriments. It was a celebration of national service (or disservice) to their respective constituents.
I hail from Etinan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. I am therefore, by virtue of my roots, being represented in the green chambers of the National Assembly by Onofiok Akpan Luke, who is a Right Honourable (Rt. Hon.) by virtue of previous legislative experience and a Lawyer by training. He represents the three Local Government Areas of Etinan, Nsit Ubium and Nsit Ibom lumped together and codenamed Etinan/ Nsit Ubium/ Nsit Ibom Federal Constituency. Luke heads the Committee on Judiciary, and is a member of several other committees in the House of Representatives.
I had to review his national legislative sojourn in order to ascertain how successful or unsuccessful the journey has been. Yours truly had to gather pieces of information, verify same, before drawing inferences.
The body of information gathered and verified paint the picture of one who has been very active in Abuja and Akwa Ibom State since being elected in 2019. It also portrays him as one whose voice features prominently and regularly in the hallowed chambers, and in fact, one who stands more than he sits in the chambers.
Available information can form a very voluminous compendium that his contemporaries and aspiring national legislators can use as a case study.
In three years, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Akpan Luke has sponsored bills and motions. He has done oversight, committee works, and empowerment of constituents. Without infusing any tinge of exaggeration, I make bold to say that Luke has performed all the primary legislative roles since his national assembly career began in 2019.
He has many Bills to his credit, namely:
A Bill For An Act To Establish The National Institute For Electoral Studies (HB.251).
A Bill To Amend The Legislative House (Powers And Privileges) Act 2019.
A Bill For An Act To Amend The Institute Of Transport Administration Of Nigeria (HB. 373) 2019.
Sheriffs and Civil Process Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB676).
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fifth Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 804).
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fifth Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 805).
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fifth Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 806).
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fifth Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 807).
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fifth Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 808).
Court of Appeal Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 809).
Police Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 810).
Sherriffs And Civil Process Amendment Bill 2020.
Constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB 1056).
A Bill for an Act to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to make a Chief Judge of a State the Head of Judiciary of a State and increase the number of years of qualification for appointment as a Chief Judge or Judge of a High Court of a State and for related matters.
Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (Establishment) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB.1053).
Trafficking In Person (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB.1054).
A Bill For An Act To Repeal The Legal Practitioners Act, Cap L 11, Laws Of The Federation Of Nigeria, 2004 And Enact The Legal Practitioners Act 2021.
Legislative House (Power and Privileges) Act (Amendment) Bills, 2019 to Proscribe The Offence And Punishment For Content Of Legislative Houses, Provide Punishment For The Police Or Any Other Law Enforcement Agent That Refuses To Arrest Any Person As Directed By A Legislative House, Such As President, Vice President, The Executive Governors And Their Deputies, Diplomats And Their Agents, Representatives Of International Organizations Such As United Nations, The African Union, The European Union, ECOWAS And Commonwealth, And For Related Matters.
A Bill For An Act To Preserve The Sanctity And Authority Of Court As A Sacred Institution In Order To Effectively Discharge Its Functions And Exercise The Judicial Powers Conferred On It Under The Constitution Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria And Other Statutes, And For Related Matters.
A Bill For An Act To Alter The Constitution Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria, CAP C. 23, Laws Of The Federation Of Nigeria, 2004 To Provide For Traditional Rulers Council To Advise The President And Governors On Culture And Tradition And Help In Maintaining Peace And Order In Their Traditional Domain, And For Related Matters.
A Bill For An Act To Amend The Court Of Appeal Act, CAP. C.36 Laws Of The Federation Of Nigeria, 2004 To Increase The Number Of Justices Of The Court And Provide For Appointment Of A Minimum Of Six Justices In Every Judicial Division Of The Court For Speedy And Efficient Justice Delivery And To Implore Citizens Access To Justice, And For Related Matters.
A Bill For An Act To Freeze Limitation Periods Stipulated In Statues, Regulations, Rules Or Bye-Laws During Public Health Emergency Or Any Emergency Declared In Nigeria, And For Related Matters.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act (Amendment) Bill.
Legal Practitioners Act (Repeal And Establishment) Bill.
MOTIONS credited to him are:
Motion Calling On The Federal Government To Revive The Abandoned Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) In Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State.
Motion On The Need To Call On The Federal Government To Appoint More Justices For The Supreme Court Of Nigeria.
Motion Calling On The Federal Government To Postpone The 2020 National Sports Festival In Edo State And Other Large Gatherings Owing To Covid Pandemic.
Motion Urging Security Agencies To Ensure The Immediate Release Of The Kidnapped Justice Chioma Nwosu Iheme Of The Court Of Appeal.
Motion Condemning The Extra Judicial Killings Of Unarmed Nigerian Youths During The Lekki Toll Gate Protest.
Urgent Need To Regulate Online Advertising and Sales of Drugs for the Safety of the Public.
*Motion of Urgent Public Importance On The Need To Ensure Transparency And Accountability In The Rehabilitation Exercise Of The Nation’s Refineries.
A cursory review of the forgoing Bills and Motions reveals that some of them have judicial undertone, reason deduced from the MP’s background as a Lawyer.
His headship of the Judiciary Committee further reinforces this stance.
Luke has also facilitated, or attracted several projects for his people, including free medical outreach and health education, provision of laptops to youths for educational training and enterprise development, vocational skills training for women and youths/ distribution of hair dressing equipment, sewing machines and generators, and construction of ICT Knowledge Centre at Nsit Peoples Grammar School, Ikot Ukobo in Nsit Ubium.
Others are: Construction of 2 No. Classrooms Blocks With Furnitures, Fittings, Stores, Toilet At Four Towns Group School, Ikot Obio Inyang Iman, Etinan LGA; construction of another 2 No. Classrooms Blocks with furnitures,, fittings, stores and toilet at Four Towns Group School, Ikot Obio Inyang Iman, Etinan LGA; construction of 2 No. Classrooms Blocks with furnitures, fittings, stores and toilet at St Andrew’s African Church School, Edebom 2, Nsit Ibom Local Government Area; construction of 2 No. Classrooms Blocks with furnitures, fittings, stores and toilet at Government School, Ikot Imo, Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, and Construction of constituency community centre at Etinan Local Government Area.
He has also facilitated the following programmes for his constituents:
Zonal Intervention Programme For Skill Acquisition And Empowerment for women and youth in collaboration with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
Engagement Of Critical Stakeholders On The Amendment Of The 1999 Constitution and other matters affecting Etinan Federal Constituency.
Speaking In Favour Of The Ibom Sea Port As Recently Approved By The Presidency.
Educational Support Cum Loan Scheme For The Women And Youths Of Etinan Federal Constituency.
2 Days Capacity Building And Leadership Masterclass Training For All The 31 Councillors Of Etinan Federal Constituency At GOTNI Leadership Centre, Abuja.
In the past week, he again called for improved welfare of the judiciary.
This, he said, would lead to the effectiveness and true independence of the judiciary, if implemented.
All information captured in the foregoing paragraphs has been duly verified as factual by me. While there is room for improvement, I wish to state unequivocally that the quality of Onofiok Luke ‘s representation ranks high above most of his contemporaries. This is no ego-massage, but a simple statement of fact.