Regular Interface with Stakeholders as Catalyst for Effective Representation: Senator Akon Eyakenyi’s Example


By Edet Okpo

The recent media parley distinguished Senator Akon Eyakenyi had with her Constituents in the Media industry could not have been accidental or strange. That was on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at her residence.

Since being sworn in as a Senator of the Federal Republic on 11 June, 2019, it is on record that hardly would a month pass by without Senator Akon Eyakenyi, representing Akwa Ibom South(Eket) Senatorial District in the Senate, holding one or two meetings with stakeholders and different groups or organizations in her constituency.

To say that this is representation at its best can therefore be no exaggeration.
It is an express indication that the celebrated parliamentarian at whose behest such meetings are usually held is proud of and transparent with her towering record of performance, hence cannot be afraid to face her people.

In keeping with a tradition that has differentiated her from others, the Senator scheduled for the interface with the media professionals, led by Comrade (Elder) Edet Okpo, in fulfilment of her pre-election campaign promises that she will not represent her people only within the walls of the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, but will run an inclusive template that comes with organized periodic feedbacks and updates that continually interrogate the social contract she has with her constituents.

In her speech, the Senator, who used the occasion to give a glimpse into her scorecard, said the parley became necessary for herself to openly express her gratitude to the media community,especially that of her immediate Constituency for the support she enjoyed before, during and after the 2019 elections as well as intimate them on her achievements so far by virtue of progress report.

“Thank you for your patience and unquantifiable support these past years. It would have been herculean and stressful without your understanding,support and encouragement.

“Between 2018 and April 2019 when the general elections held, I traversed the length and breadth of our senatorial district, soliciting for the support of our people towards my ambition to represent us at the Senate. God by my side, the overwhelming majority of our people entrusted the mandate on me and I was subsequently sworn into office on 11th June, 2019”, the Senator recalled with gratitude.

The meeting which was interactive accordingly offered the hostess and the media firsthand opportunity to rub minds on a broadsheet of issues. To the Senator in particular, it was an opportunity to give brief update on her performance:

“My pledged for Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District was to give us a face and voice at the Senate. I equally assured our people to bring back home whatever is given to the district”, the Senator stated.

With overwhelming evidence and greater promise for the future, Senator Eyakenyi’s scorecard showed that she has not failed the people by any criteria of assessment in the trinity mandate of lawmaking, oversight, and representation.

With modest sense of accomplishment, she told the audience in her speech: “Within the past two years, I have very consciously guided my actions in line with my promise”.

There was no doubt about Senator Eyakenyi holds the record of being amongst the first few Senators to have sponsored a motion within the first three months of inauguration of 9th Assembly, thus registering her voice and presence as early as it was necessary. This was speedily backed up with subsequent people-oriented bills. She therefore went to the Senate not as an opportunist but as a tested administrator meritoriously called to duty by sheer providence.

In addition to her cerebral and articulate contributions on the floor during plenary, Eyakenyi has sponsored many bills, two principal ones of which are a bill seeking the upgrade of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, to a University; the Nigeria Coast Guard (Establishment) Bill, both of which have enjoyed robust deliberations by Members and have been passed into Law.

Having registered her voice very early at the National Assembly, it therefore came as no surprise that the President of the Senate, Rt. Hon. Senator Ahmed Lawan, was quick to see in her a vocal, dynamic, dependable and capable law-maker to oversee or deputize critical committees in championing and harnessing the objectives of the 9th Assembly.

Hence, as part of her oversight functions, Senator Akon Eyakenyi serves as Vice Chairman on the Senate Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary), and in other Committees that drive the corporate cause of the National Assembly.

In representation, available report indicates that Senator Eyakenyi’s representation model is multi-dimensional, a template she has driven through pragmatic empowerment packages including skill acquisition, cash donations, and training of youth and women in allied oil and gas vocations.

Others include scholarship to indigent students, provision of books and other instructional materials, facilitation of employment of constituents in the civil service (State and federal), capacity-building through retreats, seminars and workshops across specific and broad areas of concern.

The Senator who has attributed her existence and attainments to God’s abundant grace in her life, has also undertaken the provision of succour to widows, the physically-challenged, sponsorship of medical outreaches, and provision of infrastructural projects, including transformers, road grading and related interventions, etc.

In her typical humility never to forget the past or take for granted the bridge she crossed to her destination, the Senator acknowledged the bold signature of Governor Udom Emmanuel and his wife, Dr. Martha Udom Emmanuel, in her life and narrative of altruistic leadership, especially in the light of the unfolding global attention that has been attracted to the State in the last six years of good governance:

“I salute the unwavering support and encouragement of our leader and performing Governor and Wife, Their Excellencies, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and Dr. Martha Emmanuel. I cannot exactly say how it would have been without their consistent and unflinching support. His Excellency’s sterling performance has also kept me on my toes and challenged me to always strive to do more for our people”.

To consolidate on the massive gains, she therefore encouraged all party men and women, youth and others to continue to queue behind His Excellency both for his Completion Agenda and Succession’s Plan, and the PDP as the people’s party.

She also urged all to go out en masse and participate in the ongoing PDP membership e-registration and revalidation exercise, arguing that “It is the only way we can have access to exercise our franchise as elections are drawing near”.

To her media constituents, the joy and honour of being hosted by a people-inclined and capable Senator like Eyakenyi in her house on December 1,2021, will always be remembered. It is instructive to note that the hosting was not solicited for by members of the media but was solely an initiative of the hostess as part of her inclusive and participatory template of representation.

Responding onbehalf of the media professionals who were at the special parley, Comrade Edet Okpo described the Senator as an “Amazon, touch-bearer and the best brand for the Senatorial District job” and said the meeting was further validation of the confidence reposed in her through votes by the electorate in the Senatorial District in the 2019 elections.

Delighted and appreciative of the Senator’s stellar performance, Okpo said although they were not at the parley to review her scorecard, it was obvious that they could not have had a better, louder and vociferous voice like hers:

“As close monitors of the mandate freely given to you by the good people or Eket Senatorial District, we want to unequivocally say that you have not been found wanting in the trinity mandate of lawmaking, oversight and representation.

“Through your effective representation and robust legislative engagement in the National Assembly, you have given our Senatorial District a stronger voice in the Red Chamber, sponsored quality bills, moved people-oriented motions and steadily fulfil your Better Deal Action Plan of Employment of constituents”,

The mutually beneficial partnership with Eyakenyi was therefore an icing on the cake. Besides, the standard of representation set by Senator Eyakenyi is both a challenge and model to be emulated by others who only come home during the next elections period.

For the times that lie ahead, the ever optimistic and pragmatic Senator Eyakenyi assured her audience: “The coming months shall be better and more impactful. I promise to double my efforts and work extra hard as we match towards the mark”. There can be no doubt about this!


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