By Aniebiet Antia
Imo Ben a Media Practitioner, Former Councillor in Uyo Local Government and Presently the Special Assistant to the to the Hon Member in Akwa Ibom State House Of Assembly in this interview reacts to recent Media Publications on Hon. Monday Eyo, Member Representing Uyo State Constituency, Akwa Ibom State Of Assembly.
Question : RECENT GLOBAL CONCORD NEWSPAPER CARRIED NEWS STORY THAT ACCUSED HON. Monday Eyo OF USING IBOM PLAZA AND AKPANANDEM MARKET AS HIS PERSONAL ASSETS.
Answer : This of course is mere blackmail because at his level in life he is far above using these points of revenue generation for his personal benefits. Firstly, Uyo people see him as their hero when it comes to reopening of Ibom Plaza. This is a prime business place that was shut down for many years during Governor God’swill Akpabio’s regime and upon all the noise and cries of the people, nobody could put adequate pressure on government to re-open the Plaza, even when Prince Enobong Utah was a Commissioner for Environment in-charge until Hon. Monday Eyo became the member representing Uyo State Constituency and took it as a task to convinced the governor, Deacon Udom Emmanuel to reopen the facility in order to create employment for the people and open up space for mass oriented business for the empowerment of the common people.
He did not just stop at causing the re-opening, but went further to secure the place to be under the management of indigenes of Uyo as the host of government to give them sense of belonging. He has broken the jinx and has become a celebrity in terms of grassroots politics of empowerment.
It is therefore only the ignorant, mis-informed and mischievous people that can say such nonsense for the selfless Patriotic acts done by the active representative. He has used that to empower many people to feel the benevolence of the Pic government under Deacon Udom Emmanuel and his humble self. Don’t misquote me, Prince Enobong Utah did his best but under a different governor. Governor Udom loves Uyo people more so he listen. Uwah remains the champion of Uyo politics.
Question : WHAT CAN YOU SAY OF AKPANANDEM MARKET AS ALLEGED TOO?
Answer : It is the same blackmailers on rampage. People who lack sound and sane conscience. What concerns the honorable member using market as his personal asset? Is he the local government Council? Has anybody seen his name in any of the management committees? These are senseless ranting from uncomfortable quarters that see his popular selfless service as uncommon of politicians of the past. The member as a stakeholder has the right to nominate supporters of Pop government to partake in committees constituted by the local government Council. He must judiciously ensure that core PDP supporters who supported the governor are carried along through his inputs. He has no personal interest whatsoever in Akpanadem market except to everybody from Uyo. As always the council gets inputs from stakeholders, so it is not new.
Question : WHAT CAN YOU SAY OF THE RECENT NEWSPAPER PUBLICATIONS THAT HON. Monday EYO IS UNDER PRESSURE TO BRIEF UYO PEOPLE ON HIS CONSTITUENCY PERFORMANCE?
Answer : Sincerely it is rather unfortunate that some people misuse the word Constituency briefing out of ignorance, they perceive it to mean gathering people weekly at a venue too spread cash. But if briefing his Constituency is to tell them of his progress so far, he has used every available opportunity and event to update them. He communicates regularly to keep his constituents abreast of legislative and Constituency developments. He has redefined communication through his open door policy.
Question : CAN YOU SHED MORE LIGHT ON THIS?
Answer : Constituency briefing is a continuous process of communication with electorates. There is no time table for it and there is no competition about it. The 26 lawmakers in the Assembly have not done so at the same time in the same public space. Elaborate public show they refer to as Constituency briefing which is done ceremonially as fanfare is occasional at the liberty of a lawmaker. This goes beyond informing the people on strides in the Assembly to social celebration and public announcement of empowerment. You can do the same during Christmas, mid-year, end of the year, in fact anytime. As far I know Hon. Monday Eyo had met publicly with Uyo people severally on different occasions to brief and empower them. He also plans for elaborate hosting until his tenure expires. People should scout for information, if they miss reading papers or social media reports. Well in politics sponsored critics are always there. That’s why the malicious news report was syndicated in several newspapers.
Question : HON. Monday Eyo IS ALSO SAID TO BE ECONOMICAL WITH FUNDS. THAT HE IS NOT EMPOWERING PEOPLE, WHICH CONTRADICTS WITH YOUR POSITION?
Answer : It depends on the mind set of these critics. If they perceive that the lawmakers will open their salary accounts and Constituency funds to splash on every desperate jobber without reasons as Father Christmas or notorious Anini, instead constructively empowering his constituents, then they are wrong. Hon. Monday Eyo is not a selfish person. From all ramifications he is very sensitive to the needs of his constituents. No matters of importance, many people receive his support for all manners of challenges and problems. Unfortunately, no matter how you give, in politics there will always be those whose past time job is to criticize politician of not giving. He has given many scholarships to university students, paid hospital bills for several people, intervene to settle fees for indigent students, support marriages, burials, naming ceremonies, sponsored apprenticeship training and many other forms of support which comes in volumes daily, weekly. He has a very humane and kind heart, although he is very modest in showcasing these assistance to people in media.
Question: BUT HE SHOULD MAKE THESE PUBLICITY ISSUE FOR PEOPLE TO KNOW.
Answer: The lawmaker is somebody who is very conservative in terms of beating media drums to announce his impressive achievements. It is difficult to convince him that even the slightest benevolence should be use as publicity stunt like most other politicians are doing. He frowns at this, preferring to assist most people off camera. For instance, he supported the training of about 350 women to learn various vocations, and skills and thereafter empowered 22 women with N100,000 each to start their businesses. The first batch of 11 received the grant. He has secured shops for lots of women. Supported the Mboho Iman Uyo with money to register a cooperate society. He has facilitated many peoples employment with financial support as processing grants. For instance, he helped youths to pay mandatory training fees into camp for Peace Corps recruitment as well as National Task Force which is yet to kick off. He has helped in employment of many in companies and contract awards. He has done so in terms of admission.
Question: WHAT ABOUT CONSTITUENCY PROJECT?
Answer: It is sad that people wake up to say what they don’t know and do not bother to know and some even if the know pretend they do not know. Constituency projects by lawmakers are always very visible that if you are from Uyo and you are in touch with your home community, then that person should know that Hon. Monday Eyo presently has embarked aggressively on projects that have serious impacts in the four clans of Uyo. There is electrification project at Etoi clan. Renovation of school at Ikono clan, building of library at Oku clan, town hall at Offot clan, etc. Sometimes, I am forced to believe that some critics are speaking from exile or are in prison custody where they are restricted. This lawmaker has set standard in Uyo above any past representative. The fact is that he is not a noise maker. These Constituency projects are located at
*Renovation of 3 Classroom block at Ikot Mkpong Ikono, Uyo LGa
*Construction of library block at Primary School Ikot Ntuen Oku Uyo.
*Construction of Ultra Modern Civic Center at Atan Offot, Uyo.
*Electrification Project at Ifa Ikot Idang, Etoi, Uyo LG.
*Donation of 50 set of Writing desk at Apostolic Primary School, Ifa Ikot Okpon.
Question: THE HONOURABLE IS NOW CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, BEFORE NOW HE WAS THAT OF NDDC : WHAT IMPACT HAS HE BEEN DOING?
Answer: As chairman NDDC he confronted serious challenge and even sacrificed his personal interest for the general good of Akwa Ibom State people. It would have been easier to romance with the management of the commission and get his interest attended to instead of the collective interest of his constituents and the state. For instance roads and projects were abandoned across the state before he came in, but he wrote to all the House Members and communities affected to submit reports on such projects and drew the attention of the NDDC strongly that attention must be given to these abandoned projects as well as intervene on other roads. Even when oversight function Belongs to National Assembly that approves funding according to NDDC reply, Hon. Monday Eyo challenge that position because according to him these projects are located in the state and as far as communities petitions are concern, the Assembly must react and raise important oversight actions, citing that by the mandate setting up the House Committee, NDDC must be responsible and responsible enough to address any issue raised by the Assembly as it affects the state’s welfare. It was a very serious encounter between him and the then managing director.
He accordingly compiled list of all abandoned projects in the state with pictures as well as recommended roads in the capital city to NDDC and therefore moved a powerful motion on the floor of the Parliament to call for urgent intervention from state government on repairs of roads in Uyo metropolis. It is one of the most appreciated motion so far.
After that roads across Uyo and the state started receiving attention from both quarters. This is affective representation. It is not about making noise without effect. Hon. Monday Eyo believes in silent revolution and only ignorant or mischievous persons will score him low in just one year as NDDC committee chairman. He approaches issues tactfully to achieve results rather than make noise to attract attention of the media without results. He does not compromise when his interest competes with public interest, he choose the public side because he is a selfless representative.
NDDC of then would have loved somebody who would come for his contract and abandoned the people, but chose the people’s interest above his. He never got or solicited for a single contract during his period as chairman of the committee. One Ime Ben now studying for her masters program in the UK was recommended by him and suretied for the NDDC post graduate scholarship. He recommended many people to NDDC for training and empowerment, but NDDC was such as place that internal interest was so much that public interest was compromised by staff and management. Maybe it has changed now.
Question: NOW HE IS CHAIRMAN HEALTH COMMITTEE WHAT IS GOING ON?
Answer: You know he just took over and this sector is very critical to the people’s well being, so he is trying to gather technical opinions to ensure programs are done right by government to benefit the people. The committee is about to organize public hearings on health related bills before they are passed as laws. The health insurance scheme for Akwa Ibom people is one of such important bills to be deliberate on. Don’t forget the bill for establishment of school or health technology has been passed as a law. He is concern about issues of HIV/AIDS and other proposals on health care services in the state. According to him , his committee is very committed to reduce any bottleneck that will delay passage of goods laws on health care.
Question: WHAT SPECIAL CHARACTER DISPOSITION YOU SEE HIM HAVING AS A POLITICAL ASSET?
Answer: He listens to people: he is very peace loving and hates to lie about what he cannot do. He is very honest to be called a politician the way people consider politics in Akwa Ibom state.
This is why people criticizing him must be in opposition or engage in blackmail as a trade. He is very responsive to advise, when media attention was drawn that the pupils of the Apostolic Primary School, Etoi, the village of the immediate past elected chairman of Uyo were sitting on bare floor to study, he reacted personally and gave benches that accommodate 150 pupils. He didn’t say that Hon. Ekerette Ekpenyong as a former chairman should have done this since it is his village. He nurses no malice. Because he loves education, he is giving Uyo students grant to over 150 beneficiaries in higher institutions soon.
Question: SO THIS IS JUST PROPAGANDA TO SMEAR HIS IMAGE?
Answer: It is organized scheme to blackmail him so that they can extort money and score negative political points. I am aware that one editor of Global Accord sent a text message alleging all sorts of incriminating issues. I strongly believe these lies are aimed to distract the member who is so popular that he has become a political icon in the grassroots of Uyo. He is so focused that he will not give them the honour of a reply. They are wasting their time.
Question: SO IN SUMMARY, HE HAS DONE WELL?
Answer: He has done exceptionally well and will continue to improve upon these achievements.
©Abasiubong Tom is a social commentator and analyst. Read more on nextreporter.com