2023: “I AM NOT CULTIST FOR CHRIST BUT MARK ESSET”
In this episode, Rt. Hon. Mark Esset reveals what many call cabalism, power play, intrigues and internal politics in 7th Assembly.
He fires ahead on 2023. Why Akwa Ibom needs God’s Will and why all credible Akwa Ibom persons can vie for various political positions as empowered by the constitution.
Is pension law for Governors and Deputy Governor’s valid? Peruse this interview and feel the Pulse of Mark of effective representation.
Q: Cabal, internal politics, intrigues and Power-play are features of the Legislature as soul of democracy. What is your forecast of the 7th Assembly?
A: I am looking at a united 7th Assembly. You talk about power play. Yes! in every democracy there is power play. Talking about internal politics it is there. For me to bring up a motion and for it to see the light of the day, I must play the politics of lobbying people. That is the beauty of Legislature. I must lobby my colleagues. If there is any issue in my State Constituency and I need it to be handled, I must lobby my colleagues to ensure appropriate attention is given to the issue. That is politicking and you can not roll that out in a democracy.
Talking about cabal, I want to tell you in the 7th Assembly there is nothing like cabal. The man we have at the hems of affairs, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, for those of us who have been here for sometimes know he is down to earth and he treats everyone without discrimination. He is a man who least expected he will be the Speaker. So if God so favoured him, he does not allow that to get in the way of who he has always been. He is not an ambitious young man at all. The way he has carried the affairs of the House is marvelling. I give it to him. He has been able to give us a united Assembly.
When you talk about cabal what do you mean? For some of you who have been with me for a while now, there is no how God lifts me that you will not climb the ladder with me. Definitely, you are going with me! Unless people who do not have morals. So that is it. So it does not mean if God lifts me today and those of you who have been with me through thick and thin, I will now look down on you. If it happens tomorrow I become the Deputy Governor or if it was God’s desire that as the 7th Assembly was inaugurated and Mark Esset became the Speaker, without you telling anybody, your colleagues will begin to congratulate you. Because they knew you were all with me and as I am moving forward you are also moving forward with me.
There is no cabal. There were persons who were friends with Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey before he became the Speaker. They were not friends because he became the Speaker but were friends even when they were nothing. So, you can’t expect Hon. Aniekan Bassey, someone with morals to discard his friends just because he has become the Speaker. So, people look at the bond between him and his friends and assumed there is a cabal. I can’t discard my friends because God has blessed me. That is why I applaud the young man for remembering his friends even when he was not the Speaker. I will say this without mincing words that there is no cabal in the 7th Assembly.
For internal politics and power play, I will say it is a normal thing in the Legislature. For you to have your bills and motions see light of the day, there is need for internal lobbying.
Q: 2023 seem to be closer than we thought. Sir, you are very young with promising political career, any advancement plan as 2023 comes faster?
A: As I have always told people, 2023 is far from here and when time comes, all Akwa Ibom persons qualified for any political position can vie for such positions.
I am from Nsit Atai LGA in Uyo Senatorial District and by the requirement of the Nigerian constitution, I am qualified to vie for any higher position politically. But it has to do with the will of God and the people. But to be frank, if you hear that Mark Esset is vying for any higher political office for now, it is speculation. It is too early for such speculations. I am not even dreaming of that for now. Let me continue to give effective representation to my people at the Legislature. In 2023, I will not be cultist for Christ. Let me continue to be Mark Esset, who I have always been. Only the will of God will be done in Akwa Ibom State.
I enjoined us to earnestly pray for the State and ask for God’s Will alone to be done. I just believe one thing that “it is not for him that willeth or him that runneth but is the Lord that showeth mercy.” In the House of Jesse, you had all the big names and big boys, nobody even thought David could become a King. Right there in the bush fending for animals, it pleases God to see him and choose him. He that looks at the heart and not the facial or physical appearance should be the one we look up to. There are people we will judge by our physical perception of these individuals that they are the best not minding if that is truly God’s plan.
We should pray that only the Will of God be done in Akwa Ibom State because when God’s Will is done, everyone will be happy. I am not interested who becomes the Governor in 2023. I am only interested in God giving us the Governor because if God gives us a Governor, Akwa Ibom people will be happy and there will be peace and prosperity in the Land.
Q: What can you say about the Governors and Deputy Governors’ Pension Law which some public quarters have campaigned for its abrogation?
A: Do you know anyone who served the people in the position of a Governor deprives himself and family of so many things for the period they served. Do you know there are times I go back home and changed up in the next three minutes to go out again and my children will ask me ‘Daddy you are going out again? When will you ever stay with us?’ This many times breaks my heart. We tried to keep the family bond and most times it is lacking due to the service to my people. I want to tell you I don’t use my salary for my personal needs. As it drops, there are people’s needs to meet and it is not even enough. This is why when members who have served for four to eight years, may not even have a good shelter for themselves and people who don’t know this will begin to curse them with abusive words that they were reckless with their resources forgetting the pressure mounted on them at that period of time. I was a Business man before I came to serve in public office and I tell people that the Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000) I make as a private man has more value than the Three Million Naira (N3,000,000) I make in politics as a public servant. I can stand anywhere to defend this. My Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000) revolves around me, my wife and my children, while my Three Million Naira (N3,000,000) revolves around me and the 35,000 people of my constituency including outside people. How will you rate that? At the end of the day, tenure ends and I leave, nobody will even remember that. My brother, he that wears the shoes knows where it pinches.
Let me tell you one thing. You talk about bogus allowances, but I want to let you know that reality has made clear that I am not Mark Esset I used to be in 2010. God has raised me by His special grace and the expectation by all ramification of life makes people judge me by standard even when I have left office. There are certain things expected of me after coming this far. Certain people after leaving this office will still look up on me. This is more applicable to Governors and Deputy Governors. Even House Members do not receive pension and is a big cheat on us an is like the analogy of a ‘Carpenter who makes doors but do not have one.’ We passed the law and we are not entitled to benefit from it. If I have my way, I will want the law to be amended to include House of Assembly members. My brother it is not easy. I tell you authoritatively that it is not easy.
I have Hospitals and Clinics I have retainership with and in a month, my wage bill is not less than Three Hundred Thousand (N300,000). That is just for health. I don’t talk about school fees, marriages, house rent and business support. I tell you it is not easy. I can give you the names of these health facilities to go and find out. The little I earn as salary can not effectively handle all these needs.