- By Unwana Assam
An ancient philosopher, John Quincy Adams once opined, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” This aphorism aptly describes the leadership style of Hon. Iniobong Robson as the executive chairman of Esit Eket Local Government Area.
I am not of the intent to sweet talk or sway a censer of praises on the person of Iniobong Robson, I am rather set out to simply bring to the fore his leadership prowess and political feats across the key sectors especially since he assumed office in December 2017 as the executive chairman.
One could easily deduce that Hon. Robson had been dogged on annihilating any factor that could pose a threat to the life and safety of his people, as he made clear thus: “I have come in to serve my people; one of the things I would not joke with is security of lives of my people and property. If you are a cultist, pick-pocket, thief, armed robber, assassin or involve in anything that is a threat to life and property, the best option left for you now in Esit Eket is to denounce it or relocate from Esit Eket to elsewhere.”
It is on record that when he made this statement, he was neither bluffing nor pulling a show of braggadocios. As a man of his words, he ensured the safety of the lives and property of his people. Orderliness, tranquility and peace became the new normal. This is not just some hyperbolic utterances to score cheap political points. It is without doubt that during Robson’s reign, safety and peace have come to replace the former informidable security system.
Experience has shown that one of the best things a leader can do for his/her followers is to empower them. This, according to Howard Schultz, a great scholar, is the best form and great attainment of leadership.
Within the space of two and half years, as the helmsman of Esit Eket, Hon. Iniobong Robson has invested in human capacity development more than ever envisaged. Interestingly, he attained this beyond the available resources at his disposal. As a result of his uncommon human empowerment, a good number of Esit Eket youths are today beneficiaries of different companies operating under subsidiary of Exxonmobil, many have functional skills to use in search of Job. Most of them own houses, cars, business of their own; many are excelling in the civil service. A good number of Esit Eket students in the Tertiary Institutions are on scholarship across the Country and so on. Due to the paucity of job demands from different oil firms to Esit Eket, in order to rein in the insidious rate of unemployment in the area, he placed a bounty which permits him to secure legitimate jobs from employers for the unemployed yet qualified youths of the locality. This sort of penchant to uplift the people’s life could no doubt, only come from a leader who has the sole interest of his people at heart, and Hon. Iniobong Robson has proven himself to be such in the past few years of his leadership.
Inclusiveness is one of the stellar qualities of good governance, just as ingrained in the Nigerian constitution that the best form of leadership is that where everybody is carried along especially at the grassroot level. The transparency is worthy of emulation especially as the people of Esit Eket can easily be aware of the amount of money coming in from the State Government as monthly allocation, number of slots coming in from all the operational companies linked to Esit Eket. The latter are virtually shared equally to those earmarked for such jobs. Hon. Robson has also ensured that everybody is involved in every activity in the Local Government as people have unhindered access to the council chairman which enable them make known their concerns without any form of bias or segregation. He pays attention to people across party lines. In a nutshell, Hon. Iniobong Robson makes sure, everybody in Esit Eket, irrespective of class, political party or qualifications, feels the impact and dividends of his leadership.
It is not a hidden fact that a take home monthly allocation for the maintenance of the Local Government is nothing to write home about and yet, in the past few years, Hon. Iniobong Robson had judiciously made good use of the meagre fund made available to him. This is just one way to prove that despite how paltry the monthly allocation seemed, Robson was never deterred in serving his people thereby leaving an age long legacy for his people.
It is pertinent to bring to mind that Hon. Robson started building state-of-the-art Legislative Chamber; a beautiful edifice which when completed, will stand a test of time. Between late 2019 and early 2020, Hon. Iniobong Robson fixed and put to use all the already existed boreholes across villages in Esit Eket. He made sure all the vandalized boreholes with solar panel abandoned for years were fixed. Needless to mention individual houses he has helped build to completion.
The leadership of Hon. Iniobong Robson has animated and conscientised the Esit Eket people to come to terms with the fact that no Esit Eket person can be victimized or treated with disregard. This is exemplified in the local based company Frontier Oil, where he discovered that Esit Eket was not given its due by the company. As such, he placed an embargo that instead of accepting crumbs from the company, they should continue to operate without bothering to pay MOU the agreed annual entitlements until when the court will decide. And today, the court case between Frontier Oil and Esit Eket is still pending and Hon. Iniobong insists until the right thing is done by the company and accountability rendered from day one by the company to the people of Esit Eket, a dime will never be accepted from them. Hon. Robson has proven beyond every reasonable doubt that nothing in the seat of power in Esit Eket can be done without being properly accounted for. He has exhibited resilience, transparency, sincerity, accountability, humility, fear of God, accuracy, and pragmatism in his dealings.
Hon. Iniobong Robson has not only fulfilled all his 2017 campaign promises, he has done beyond expectations.
Today, Esit Eket people in one accord say, it is either Iniobong Robson (Etebe Again) or nobody. They say they want Hon. Iniobong Robson to stay in office till 2023 to bring to completion the good work he had started since 2017.
Comrade Unwana Assam is a Social Commentator, Politician a Blogger and writes from Esit Eket.