Hon. Unyime Idem: 100 days of effective representation and maximum impact
By Vincent Aluu
Men of service and impact are never out of job and followers; they do not pass this clime often. They are part of a rare breed of whom service is life itself… Admiral Stockdale (One-time US Vice Presidential Candidate)
These are indeed interesting times for the people of Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency. Interesting because for the first in 8 long years, the people have reasons to be happy that their representative in the House of Representatives is not only doing fine but is taking care of their needs. It has been eventful as Hon. Unyime Idem, Deputy Chairman, Communications Committee in Nigeria’s House of Representatives has displayed rare impact, selfless service and has shown that government can indeed work depending on who is in charge. He has made the people have confidence that government and indeed politicians can be trusted.
Hon. Unyime Idem was inaugurated in June 2019 as member representing Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency. Ab initio, he promised to ensure that the people are ably represented and have a feel of government. He anchored his promises to the people on a 4-points agenda of Promotion of Peace and Security, Effective and People-Based Representation, Empowerment through Job and Wealth Creation, Political, Economic Inclusiveness and Development.
Suffice it to say that just within 100 days in office, Hon. Idem has left no one in doubt that he has the capacity, competence, character, the selflessness and the passion to serve the people and take them to the next level. Within three months, Hon. Idem has brought smiles on the faces of the people.
Two weeks after being inaugurated, Hon Idem moved a motion for the resuscitation of NIFOR, Oruk Anam Substation; an agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. This motion was overwhelmingly supported as the House of Representatives at plenary directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research NIFOR Headquarters to come out with a blue print to reactivate the NIFOR substation. He has also set motions in place to draw the attention of the Federal government on the deplorable condition of the Azumini-Ekparakwa-Ukanafun road.
Hon. Idem has been vocal on the floor of the House during plenary. He recently called for increased funding of the education sector and advised the Federal government to lay premium on knowledge based economy. He urged the Federal government to emulate other nations of the world who devote 26% of annual budget to education stating that any nation that cannot develop its people through education cannot develop anything else. He also seconded a motion on the urgent need of the Federal government to intervene on the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians by South Africans.
Need I mention the fact that within the period under review, Hon. Idem played host to the Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr Jyrki Pulkkinen and the meeting gave birth to the decision of the Finnish government to site an ICT Centre and Technology Institute in Ukanafun. The foundation for the Centre will be laid in December 2019 the idea of establishing the ICT hub and Institute in the state was a welcome development. He listed the benefits of the proposed project to include boosting of the economy, reduction in unemployment rate, creating a viable platform to engage the youths who are ICT savvy to learn a skill, earn a living and contribute to knowledge economy.
He was a Member of the fact finding team set up by the Leadership of the Green Chamber to resolve the crisis that engulfed the Bauchi State House of Assembly. His contributions alongside that of others saw to the amicable resolution of the crisis.
That would not be all as Hon. Idem to the surprise of many in August 2019, flagged off the training and empowerment of 5,000 of his constituents to guard against youth restiveness, insecurity and unemployment in the area. He went further to launch the Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Entrepreneurial Skills Acquisition and Empowerment Initiative, UKO-SAEI, for the purpose of ensuring that this vision of helping to raise the next generation of leaders, job and wealth creators is achieved. While the public were still wondering how a first timer will fund such gargantuan project, Hon. Idem on August 23, 2019 before a mammoth crowd of more than 7,000 constituents announced that he has willed his salaries and allowances for the next four years as a Lawmaker to the project.
Between September 2 to 14, a team of experts from SMEDAN and NDE went round the 24 political wards of the federal constituency to screen, verify and obtain data of the 5000 would be beneficiaries. Prior to this time and even before being elected, Hon. Idem built and donated to his people a skills acquisition and empowerment centre called, the Ukanafun/Oruk Oruk Anam Federal constituency Empowerment Centre.
Giving insight to the empowerment scheme, Hon. Idem said, “obtain. thank you all for finding time to grace this event even at short notice. Today is the day I have set aside to fulfil part of the electioneering promises I made during the 2019 elections. I made several commitments based on the prevailing situation in the federal constituency that as soon as I resume work in the National Assembly, I will do my best to support the efforts of the state government led by His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel in eradicating unemployment, insecurity, youth restiveness that enveloped my federal constituency in the last three years. Today, I stand here to commence part of that commitment by calling out 5,000 constituents and distribute 5000 forms for them to fill and indicate from their hearts, what they can do given their diverse skills and ability. It is important for the youths to think through before filling the form and be sure that what they are filling will help improve their lives and families. The best way to gain employment is to employ yourself, create wealth and jobs for others; to be a boss”
Hon. Idem shortly after resumption of schools and knowing full well that most parents will find it hard sending their wards back to school stepped in and assisted them. He approved the provision of 50,000 note and text books for primary 1 to 6 pupils. Goodness me! You needed to see the joy on the faces of these kids, the teachers and head teachers as a team went round distributing these books. In fact, one of the schools in Ward 10 Oruk Anam transformed into a church as the children knelt down praying God Almighty to bless and protect Hon. Unyime Idem.
When God wants to bless a people and take them to the Promised Land, He sends to them a Moses. Hon. Idem is the Moses sent to rescue the people of Ukanafun and Oruk Anam who suffered 8 years of backwardness, darkness, poverty, lacklustre leadership, near-absence of representation and deprivation. All that has changed for the better.
Cross section of constituents interviewed expressed joy over the level of representation so far by their Federal Lawmaker in just three months and expressed confidence in the capacity and competence of Hon. Idem to lead them aright and provide them with effective representation. If in so short a time, this much could be achieved, it is hoped that the next four years will be eventful as the people of Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency will be inspired, developed, empowered, motivated and supported to experience a new phase of life and future.
Let me submit that God will bless Hon. Unyime Idem for being development driven and people-focussed; his hands will never go dry and God will continue to increase him on all sides. By God’s special grace, I was privileged to be part of the team that moved round the Federal Constituency to distribute empowerment forms and the exercise books. I must say that indeed there is hunger and poverty in the land. What I saw on ground moved me to tears. What Hon. Idem has done will go a long way to assuage the situation in the zone but that is the effort of one Federal Lawmaker. If all our political office holders whether elected or appointed, can follow the example of Hon. Idem, believe you me, poverty, hunger, unemployment, restiveness and insecurity will be reduced by 70%.
Vincent Aluu, an HR/Media & Research Consultant, contributes this piece from Uyo Akwa Ibom State.08089753734