The Evangelist News Edition, Saturday August 19, 2023. By Solomon Okpo. Kindly like, share the link.
Since the creation of Akwa Ibom in 1987, it has been the usual practice for Council Chairmen to abandon their domains and use council funds to enjoy themselves in choice hotels in Uyo, the state capital.
This practice has also caused the civil servants posted to local government areas to attend work from Uyo instead of residing in their places of work.
Since the local government areas were primarily created to fast-tract the development and transformation of the rural areas, one wonders how the aim of such creation are achieved when the helmsmen are residing outside their domains.
Efforts have been made by past governors to motivate the council bosses to settle in their local government areas but the efforts had always met a brick wall since the chairmen have found life more comfortable in Uyo than in their home towns.
In effect, for more than 30 years since the creation of Akwa Ibom, the local government areas have remained the same except with a secretariat which goes to sleep immediately after close of work at 4pm.
Former Governor Victor Attah built housing estates in all council areas which were abandoned for reptiles and overgrown with giant grass.
During Godswill Akpabio’s era, security villages were built to accommodate all principal officers of the council, including the council bosses, but this effort was not enough to lure the chairmen to vacate the luxurious hotels in Uyo.
Recently, Governor Umo Eno has directed that those who are not ready to reside in their areas should not bother to aspire or pick forms for chairman position during the next election.
Surprisingly, one woman has deviated from this norm and has made herself a shining light for others to emulate.
She is the chairman of Ibesikpo/ Asutan Local Government, Mrs Akon Michael Asuquo, who has been living with her family in her village, Ikot Ebre, since her inauguration as council boss.
Giving reason for her decision to stay with her people, she said she has nothing to fear since she had always been living there when she was a teacher, adding that since living in Uyo is very expensive, she decided to stay in the village to avoid the headache that comes with looking for money to pay house rent.
The Ibesikpo Asutan boss hinted that God has blessed her with confidence and she is not scared of anything since everyone there is her sibling.
On her challenges as local government chairman, she told our correspondent that her main challenge is how to source for a huge amount of money to build an industry/factory to create employment for the people.
She added that she will soon meet with people to plan on how to draw the attention of the big and prominent people in government to assist in creating businesses and companies.
The council boss continued: “God has helped me, and about the health center in Nung Udoe, all the ceiling at the block were pulled down,
so I was able to fix that, and even got a new 800 KVA generator for the council.
“I built and commissioned the Urua Edemetaha at Ikot Ebre and supervised the construction of speed bumps. I have paid furniture allowance to all councilors and they’ve all helped and supported me in the works that I have successfully done.
In a few weeks time, she hopes to use the upcoming legislative week to Launch and publish the Local Government Bye-Law, the first since the creation of Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government.
This fearless woman of substance has cultivated the habit of interacting with various groups in her domain and through these meetings, peace has prevailed in the area, and there is a free flow of communication between her and her subjects.
Mrs Akon Asuquo lavished praises to the state government for establishing signature projects like the 21- Storey Smart Building, the International Worship Center and other infrastructure in her domain which are likely to positively affect her people.