JOE EFFIONG, UYO
The senatorial candidate of Young Democratic Party (YPP), Mr Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, for persons sent to represent Akwa Ibom South (Eket) Senatorial District in the past 16 years had often been swallowed by the senate chambers to the point that they could not even move a motion.
Speaking with Daily Sun in Uyo, Inyang-Eyen said one of the senators from the district was only noticed when the camera focused on him sleeping while other senators were busy speaking and attracting projects to their people.
“About 24 years we have had about five senators. When Udo Udoma got to the senate in 1999, we heard his voice. He defended the cause of our people. Even when the then president wanted to embarrass him by appointing him minister of state, he said No. Udo Udoma spoke and we felt his presence. And when an issue came up concerning my posting to the far North, which ought not to be, as a customs officer, I went to my senator and he called one or two persons and the issue was settled. Even when we watched the television and debate was going on on national issues, Udo Udoma was in the forefront. That’s what representation is all about.
“Today, after Udo Udoma left, we have not been that lucky. Like this woman who has been in the senate, she has not passed a bill, even one. When the issue of Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) came up, it was the senator from Uyo that championed the cause of Eket. Where was our senator?
“The senator before her (name withheld) did not even come home to call a town hall meeting, whereas representation requires you to bring feedback to your people. The least you can do as a representative of the people is to come home seasonally to brief your people about what is going on
“Where do Unyime Idem and Emmanuel Ukpong Udo, first timers in the House of Representatives get the money to be empowering their people. Sir, there has not been one empowerment in our senatorial district.
“Why do others perform and we cannot perform? You don’t speak for your people; your voice is not heard; the empowerment that others do, you are not able to do but you are in the same senate. A senator representing the people shouldn’t be silent when communities are fighting.
“Oil companies operate across Nigeria Sir. Some of us who have been privileged to go out have seen how they treat their communities. I have gone to Warri. I took a tour of Delta State. The way ExxonMobil treats our people in Eket is not the way they treat people in other places. I saw Shell headquarters in Warri. Why is ExxonMobil in Lagos? We should demonstrate against ExxonMobil for them to bring their headquarters here.
“There are a lot of things that we need to speak about; a lot of things that the voice of those producing 33% of the wealth of this nation need to be heard, have not been heard for a long time. And I’m of the opinion that if you go to represent the people and you have not brought a report card, you have no qualification to represent them
“ I want to go to the senate, because I believe, what God has put in my life, I will be able to go there and come back with a report card for my people.
“The North, the West and the Igbos are sending their first eleven to the senate. Why are we sending our third eleven? Why do our people go there and the chamber swallows them up? Throughout the four years of one of our senators, I never saw him on television except when he slept off while others were championing the cause of their people.” Inyang-Eyen said.
He said so far he has received a lot of recommendations and support for his ambition, though he emphasized that a lot of such support is not monetary since the 2023 election would not be determined by the volume of money at a party’s disposal.
He said he has that audacious capacity to be able to speak where there is need to do so and that he is not going to toe anybody’s line and neither does he have a god father except God.
“And I’m not going for a stomach. God has helped me to train me children. By next year my last child will have been a graduate of civil engineering. I’m not going there to look for money to build a house. I live in houses.
“I’m going there to represent my people; if they have complaints, Nigeria should hear that these people are having complaints. The flood in Idua is as bad as the flood in Bayelsa, but it is the flood in Bayelsa that is being announced everywhere; even our governor went to Bayelsa to give them money, But in Idua, so many houses were swept off. But nobody in Nigeria hears about it because nobody is speaking for them.” The senatorial candidate lamented.