-By Unwana Assam,
3rd Sept., 2021
In the early hours of Thursday 2nd September, 2021, the notice of the steering committee of Maintain Peace Movement MPM came to the public domain and the information therein read “the leadership of Maintain Peace Movement, a Pan-Akwa Ibom Political Mobilization group has approved a review in schedule for the inauguration of local government steering committees which was earlier suspended for a few days”. Under the reviewed schedule, the committee, therefore, fixed Wednesday, September 8, 2021 as the day for inauguration of Esit Eket Chapter of the movement.
This was not in any way took me by surprise because I already know since MPM is for all the local government areas in the state, the inauguration train will definitely land in Esit Eket, “the wealth basket of Akwa Ibom State”.
What baffles me most is how Esit Eket is noticed only when there is a political activity and is always thereafter abandoned to her fate and left at the edge of precipice immediately after elections, even as the leadership in the local government is perpetually at the state of an embryo with no attempt to go forward.
Esit Eket as a local government has been on the dwindling end for so many years with nobody attempting to change the narrative for good. There have been successive governments and leadership yet, all seemed indifferent. There is no commercial activity that attracts strong economic presence to the area. No industry. The Qua Palm which our governor promised to reactivate is still in limbo waiting to be used as a campaign tool for 2023. Empowerment of youths in Esit Eket has over the years been made as a political weapon of choice instead as an economic necessity for development. This should be a subject of utmost concern for all sons and daughters of the local government who are in one leadership position or the other but no, they don’t care. No accountability to the people for services rendered.
It is no longer something to beat about the bush because if “we” who are entrusted with information join the powers to shy away from our core responsibility, posterity will not only frown at us, but, will murder us. A good son cannot see his mother constantly crying, begging for help and attention and he keeps mute about it as if nothing is wrong. No normal person points at his father’s house with left hand. It is our duty, we must do it for posterity sake.
An area where those in power care about and remember the people only when elections draw near needs God’s intervention and a deliberate rejuvenation of leadership structure. This has been the case of Esit Eket over the years and her unending agony clearly fits into the words of Eseme Eyinoh that says “There are two sets of people in politics; LEADERS AND DEALERS”. Indeed, with the current state of Esit Eket, it would not be wrong to say, Esit Eket only has “dealers” and not “leaders”. What a heck!
Now, Maintain Peace Movement train is billed for inauguration in Esit Eket. As it is expected, all hands are on deck. The leadership has now come alive once again and preparations to host the state steering committee are in top gear. The last time there was such an event where the state committee stormed Esit Eket and everyone in the area was carried along or involved was in 2020 during the local government elections mega rally after which, everything returned to its status quo and everyone went away with the exclamation “to your tent Oh Israel”. During election, the people matter, after elections, they people don’t matter. Those in the political class keep using their own people and dump. How long shall we continue like this?
What is maintain peace movement when people are suffering? What is the peace movement about when people are hungry? What is maintain a peaceful movement when people suffer from negligence by the leadership? What is maintain peaceful movement when the leadership is extremely poor? How can peace thrive when leadership presence in Esit Eket is not felt by the people? And how can the people of Esit Eket maintain peace when their basic needs are not provided and their commonwealth is unduly taken away from them?
I have seen other local government areas where the leadership convene meetings. We see it every day elsewhere; youth meetings, stakeholders meetings, women meetings, leadership meetings, all-inclusive meetings where all indigenes attended and aired their views as well as profered possible solutions. They think of the way forward for their local government areas as a people. But, that of Esit Eket, the case is always a reverse. Since the current crop of leaders (both PDP and APC) got into power, none of them, not even those with the constitutional jurisdiction to do so ever deemed necessary to convene a strong-willed meeting where all indigenes of Esit Eket can attend and air their views. Instead, what we hear every day is either someone leaves APC to PDP or PDP to APC and a jamboree of political gatherings where few persons favorable to the powers that be will be in attendance. Nobody cares about the welfare of the people. Nobody cares to go back to the people and brief them on the way forward. No thank you gathering. After so many promises during elections, instead of doing what they promised, they retrieved back to their base with the peoples’ mandates while effective leadership perpetually remains oblivious.
In a short while, after the inauguration of MPM in Esit Eket, election campaigns will kick start. Already, some people have indicated interest to contest either for the position of LG chairman or state house member. Some are having aspirations for either third or second term in office. It’s high time the Esit Eket people looked beyond their heads and remember that, from 2023 onward, they will be a reflection of who they voted into different leadership positions.
Comrade Unwana Assam is an activist, a good governance advocate, the publisher of newsline9ja.com and from Esit Eket