Performance review: Senator Oba, Nelson Effiong better than Akpabio
By Emma Akpabio, Ikot Ekpene
To every political office, there are primary and secondary responsibilities attached.
Section 47 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that “there shall be a National Assembly for the Federation, which shall consist of a Senate and House of representative”.
That members of the Senate are referred to as Senators or law makers, therefore suggests that the Chief function of any Senator is to make law, while functions like correction of defects in law, approval of federal appointments and other oversight functions are categorized as secondary.
An independent appraisal of the legislative performance review of Nigeria’s 8th Senate (current Assembly) reveals that there are some Senators perceived to have performed below the bar, many others depend on media hypes for survival, while lots more have completely gone into oblivion.
Official record from 2015 till date shows that out of 109 Senators that were elected from the 36 States of the federation plus the Federal Capital Territory, so many Senators are yet to have a bill to their names, with less than 3months left to the expiration of their tenure. Records also show that about 40 of the senators had some of their bills passed, with Ali Ndume (APC, Borno State) topping the list with over 47 bills.
Aside from having the highest number of bills passed, Ndume a former Senate Leader tops the chart of bills sponsorship with about 70 bills.
On the performance of the three Senators representing Akwa Ibom State, reports gathered, indicated that, out of the three Senators from Akwa Ibom state, Senator Bassey Albert’s performance supersedes the other two in all ramifications while Senator Akpabio has the least numbers of bills to his credit. In an appraisal done some months ago, the former House of Assembly member and Senator representing Eket Senatorial District, Senator Nelson Effiong with four bills to his name, is rated the best APC senator from Akwa Ibom state, while the former Senate Minority – Senator Godswill Akpabio can only boast of two bills to his credit.
Other former Governors also found to have been wanting in the discharge of their primary legislative functions are; Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima of APC – Zamfara State, Senator George Akume of the APC – Benue State, Senator Danjuma Goje of the APC – Gombe State, and Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim of the APC – Yobe State.
Record has it that the aforementioned Senators, in their first two years in the senate and beyond, were neither heard contributing to sensitive issues nor have a single bill to their credits.
It is note worthy that Akpabio was nominated for the position of the Senate Minority Leader by the South-South caucus of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), ratified by the caucus of the PDP in the Senate and announced by the Senate President as Senate Minority Leader on 28 July 2015. As a Minority leader, he was supposed to act as the chief spokesperson for his political party(PDP), and also responsible for the coordination and management of his party’s agenda in the Senate. Unfortunately, Akpabio’s performance as a minority leader was rated below average.
During sensitive deliberations, Akpabio was either seen cracking jokes or boasting of his uncommon achievements as a Governor. On several occasions, the PDP members in the Senate under his leadership felt betrayed. He never rose to speak when necessary, he was seen to be timid and always scared of the unseen forces. Above all, he was repeatedly accused by his colleagues to always conspire with the APC, this accusation was proven right and just, when he announced his defection to the APC in August 2018. A defection described by many, as “The end of his political era”.
Recall that In 2015, Senator Akpabio contested and won the Senate seat of the Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District to represent the district in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Running under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he polled 422,009 of the 439,449votes to defeat his closest rival – Chief Inibehe Okorie of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who recorded 15,152 votes to be declared elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
While Akpabio boast of his Achievements in the senate for four years to include: construction of market Stalls, solar powered boreholes, construction of classroom blocks, donations of vehicles, tricycles, generators, computer sets and training of some few constituents.
The people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district have expressed their dissatisfaction with the performance of Senator Akpabio, this is the top reason they went out massively during the National Assembly Elections to vote for Engr Chris Ekpenyong of the PDP, who recently received a certificate of return from INEC to succeed Senator Godswill Akpabio in the incoming 9th Assembly.