Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong: Is He A Nigerian Politician?

Apr 10, 2024 - 13:30
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Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong: Is He A Nigerian Politician?

"Leadership is service, not position." - Tim Fargo

By Anthony Bassey

I have had time to ponder and wonder about this kind of Senator called Asuquo Ekpenyong. Is he really a Nigerian politician? Does the blood of a typical Nigerian politician flow through his veins? Is his conscience alive and active? How come he does not take members of his senatorial district for granted? How come he neither slumbers nor sleeps at the floor of the Senate and abandon his legislative duties as we watch his other colleagues do on screen? Why is he always awake, alert and active and even goes ahead to sponsor bills, move motions and even push for projects and programmes for the benefits of his people? Those questions riot in my mind each time I see, read or hear of the good he does, either by himself or the ones he initiates and attracts from the Federal Government to his people. Asuquo Ekpenyong (Jr) is a rare breed of politician. I pray he keeps his best and not disappoint some of us who root for him and right his actions. He is an exact opposite of many Nigerian politicians we have known in past and recent times. 

Distinguished Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong does not seem to be a typical Nigerian politician. A typical Nigerian politician remembers the people who voted him into office when another round of election is near. That is when he deems it fit to do empowerment of short ends and mostly benefited by those who would either carry weapons or sponsor those who will do so to hound, harass and humiliate their opponents. What he refers to as empowerment hardly go beyond the distribution of small bags of rice, sizeable cartons of indomie, thin tubers of yam, small generators commonly referred to as "I better pass my neighbour" and in rare cases, a few motorcycles and tricycles make the list in order to give a clever impression that such a donor politician cares. After the exercise, he disappears and appears again during another cycle of election. That paints a vivid picture of how a typical Nigerian politician takes the poor masses for granted. Given that scenario, you can see reasons with me that it is difficult for some of us to classify Asuquo Ekpenyong (Jr) as a typical Nigerian politician. 

As the people's senator and of course, representative at the upper house of our nation's legislative chambers, his job takes him to Abuja and it would not be out of place if he decides to remain there until it is another time for election. Nonetheless, for the love of his people, that is a no-no for Asuquo Ekpenyong (Jr). He lives with his people. He loves his people and his people love him too. He is so popular among the people and so, prefers to stay with and among them. Work takes him to Abuja and he returns home at every slightest opportunity. Popularly called "Suki" the young Senator is so much at home with his people. There is hardly any local government area within his senatorial district that is yet to feel his impact. There is hardly any ward in any local government area that he does not know at least, one person. That is 'Suki' for you. 

There were those we sent there and they preferred to shuttle between Abuja and choice countries of the world. They only came back home during election time(s) to pick a return ticket from the Governor, as if it were an appointive position. Today, as they look back, I wonder if history is kind to them. It is no longer possible for such persons to return to those days. They had the privilege to touch lives yet they toyed with it. Here, is Asuquo Ekpenyong transforming and touching lives from persons to persons, from communities to communities, from local governments to local governments, as well as the entire senatorial district.

As at today, some of us have lost count of the number of solar-powered lights he has installed in many areas that make up his senatorial district. We cannot tell the number of times he has distributed food stuffs to tens of thousands of people especially, in rural communities within his senatorial district. This has become a habit for him. There are numerous beneficiaries of his empowerment schemes. There are those on his payroll and there are men, women, youths and even children who have enjoyed access to basic health care and services exclusively sponsored by him. As I write and as you read, he has commenced the 2024 edition of education support grant to students from his senatorial district in any higher institution of learning at pre-degree, degree and post-graduate levels. Ekpenyong, wants to limit the frontiers of ignorance among his people by giving them education. He shares in the thinking of late Nelson Mandela, who once opined that: "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world."

Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong is an extraordinary legislator. Since he was elected to represent the civil people of Cross River Southern Senatorial District at the upper legislative chambers of the national assembly, he has been up and doing. He is the one who championed the bill that proposes the creation of the South-South Development Commission. He is also the one who raised the motion that alarmed the deplorable condition of Calabar- Oban-Ekang road and beckoned on the Federal Government to rehabilitate the road for ease of conveying people and goods along that road. I do not want to start counting the number of projects he has attracted to his people back home. All in one year since he was elected as a Senator representing Cross River South Senatorial District which comprises of seven local government areas namely; Biase, Akamkpa, Odukpani, Calabar Municipality, Calabar South, Akpabuyo and Bakassi Local Government Areas. Can anyone name any, among the aforementioned Local Government Areas, that is yet to feel his impact? None! Is he a typical Nigerian politician? Does he behave like one?

As we criticize the evil among us, let us also commend the good we see. This is what I have done.

Anthony Ekpo Bassey, PhD, is a public analyst