Constituents of Oron Federal Constituency are battling with the process of recalling their Member of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Nse Ekpenyong from the Federal House of Representatives.
At least the second largest Federal Constituency in Nigeria, the Oron Federal seat is made up of five local government areas of Oron, Mbo, Okobo, Urue Offong Oruko and Udung-Uko, which also make up the Oron Nation.
Incidentally, the area is the third largest ethnic nationality in Akwa Ibom State, most blessed with oil deposit and other littoral endowments, but suffering endless marginalization from the state government.
Led by a group of radical thinkers and patriotic citizens of the constituency under the aegis of Coalition for Development (C4D), the people are pained that Mr Nse Ekpenyong is unable to engage authorities to stall the planned relocation of Ibaka Deep Seaport by the Akwa Ibom State Government.
Recall that the Ibaka Deep Seaport was conceived by the Victor Attah administration but was clearly evaded during the eight years of Godswill Akpabio, making it a campaign promise for Mr Udom Emmanuel, the current governor of the state.
But on assumption of office, Mr Udom Emmanuel dismissed natural conditions which favour(ed) Ibaka as the site for the Seaport.
He rather moved the Port to somewhere in Ibeno LGA where he is allegedly making plans to build a dugout port, causing agitation among the Oron citizens as a result.
Since the federal government has approved the commencement of the port, Oro people believe their Member of Parliament should move a motion on the floor of the house for the suspension of the construction, pending when investigations are concluded, and allegations of political manoeuverings determined.
Speaking to newsmen, the Lead Advocate of Coalition for Development (C4D), Barr Alexander Asuquo lamented that Oron Nation was being strangled by the silence of their representative.
He said, “Ibaka Deep Seaport and Maritime University are the most important issues on the mind of an average Oro person at the moment.
“As important as these issues are, the Member representing Oron Federal Constituency has maintained a conspiratoral silence over them and the silence is killing us.
“Oro people have elected to take the bull by the horns by petitioning relevant authorities to prevent the politically motivated, environmentally destructive and scientifically manipulated relocation of the seaport.
“The Executive at the Federal level has purportedly approved the relocation of Ibaka Deep Seaport to Ibeno.
“Other arms of the Federal Government such as the legislature and judiciary still have constitutional powers to question the relocation and the purported approval.
“The national assembly has the power under the constitution to halt the relocation.
“All it takes for the issue to be brought to the attention of the national assembly is a motion backed by empirically verifiable scientific, engineering and historical data. Motions do not move themselves. Someone has to move it. This is why he must speak for us or return home”, Mr Asuquo affirmed.
He insisted that Oro was “an environmentally raped community, a politically subjugated ethnic nationality, and economically challenged people”, who cannot afford to have a ‘silent’ lawmaker trading with their destinies.
“The quietness and ineffectiveness of Nse Ekpenyong have huge consequences and we cannot ignore it anymore. We must correct our collective mistake through a Recall. Currently, we are in the Wards and Units of the Constituency collating signatures for the recall.”
Barr Asuquo stated that “Nse Ekpenyong was not only uniformed and unaware of governance and the essence of representative democracy, but that he was also insensitive to the effects of his deficiency.”
He said it was self-destructive to sit back and watch Mr Ekpenyong trade with destinies of Oro people.
Barr Asuquo described the Rep as “an insensitive, ineffective and incompetent political parochialist who has proven himself a misfit for the House of Representatives.”
Also baring his mind on the issue, a renowned elder statesman and former State Chairman of PDP in Akwa Ibom, Arc Otu Ita Toyo aligned with arguments put forwarded by proponents of the recall.
He explained that being a constitutional right, the Oro people were free to make their demands on the lawmaker who has failed to show impressive representation after six years at the national assembly.
“The recall has its merit, since his representation is unimpressive. His legislative record is unseen and this makes his reputation as a representative gasping for air.
“There is no sensible line of defence against his recall because his continued stay speaks volumes of the monumental disservice those who sponsored his candidature have done to the constituency”, he said.
Another community leader, Chief Ante Ante observed that the recall is something that should have taken place during the lawmaker’s first tenure. He urged coordinators of the recall to apply more speed in doing so.
His words, “Please those who are coordinating the recall should be more serious and faster about it. This is an exercise that should have taken place even during the first term. After the House of Representatives Member, those in the State House of Assembly should be recalled as well to pave way for a new and effective political order in Oro Nation.”
Although a few persons seem to have no interest in the exercise, basically saying that all Òrò lawmakers were currently inactive, we could not directly reach Hon. Nse Ekpenyong for comments.
Meanwhile, his Personal Assistant, Mr Collins Jackson is opposed to the recall agitation, saying his boss is a “silent achiever.”
He listed Ekpenyong’s achievements in six years to include renovation of three classroom blocks, construction of two boreholes, provision of two street lights, construction of 2km of road, construction of one school block and construction of one community hall.