“I SURVIVED THROUGH IT ALL AND GOD BROKE THE JINX.” – RT. HON MARK ESSET.
In this interview with Member representing Nsit Atai State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Mark Esset bears his mind to Nigerian Pulse Newspaper on the journey of the bumpy-road to his second term in office which is unprecedented in Nsit Atai politics.
The decision, struggle and victory according to this Legislator is by sheer benevolence of God’s grace and mercy which was manifested through the believe of his supporters who remained unwavering through the tides.
In this edition, light will be thrown on 7th Assembly. The present and the future hope. What is expected?
Q: You are rightly called a Jinx-Breaker and the David of Nsit Atai. Sir, how did you survive the rocky road?
A: Thank you very much! I am member representing Nsit Atai State Constituency by God’s grace for the second time. This has never happened in the political history of Nsit Atai State Constituency. This is why I am now addressed as ‘The Jinx Breaker.’ It is not him that willeth or runneth but it is God who showeth mercy. It is through God’s grace I am here. If you look at the Statue of the man seated here you will know is not a very tall person not to talk of being powerful. It is the grace of God that brought me this far. The good the bad and the ugly that I witnessed all worked for good.
It was a journey that some wished you dead, some said you are the most useless human while there were those who prayed for God to preserve you. It was full of experiences and I thank God for making me have all these experiences.
By my height, you will not say it was because I was gigantic that made me win or survived. The challenge was very severe.
I remember there was an incident where a chief made incantation over a tusker and asked the people of his clan to cross over with an injunction that whoever vote Mark Esset will die. When I heard, I called the man and dared him that his threat on the people will not work except there is no God.
There were things I did by the boldness and grace of God which God glorified himself at the end of it all. Believe me, it was stressful.
There was a period which only the Political Leader of Nsit Atai, Otuekong Raphael Bassey and very few others were on my side. The majority of Stakeholders were yet to reckon with the second term decision. So many times when confronted with the reality, I will by boldness of faith told them, “Egyptians were men. Only God has the final say.” I was only seeking for a level playing ground.
Despite the betrayals which could break a soul, God was faithful and eventually things turned around for good. I give God all the Glory!
I really thank God for the foot soldiers who stood by me and believed in me. I don’t want to talk about social media insults, but I thank God for the people who stood by me and believed in me.
Q: As one of Power-Brokers in 7th Assembly. Sir, how has the Assembly fared?
A: I want to disagree with you. I am not one of the Power-Brokers in the 7th Assembly. I am just Mark Esset, Member representing Nsit Atai State Constituency and by God’s grace one of the Members of the 7th Assembly like every other member. I am not a Principal Officer but just a member. The only Power -Broker that we have here is the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey because he is in charge. My duty is to support the Speaker to succeed. My loyalty, commitment is to support the Speaker and other members to succeed as a team so at the end of the day when history will be written our names will be written in gold. So, I am looking at a very robust and united 7th Assembly without any divide. That is my major campaign. For power block, there is no power block. We only have leadership.
Q: Sir, I am worried why there is no dissenting voices while considering bills and motions?
A: If you were in the 6th Assembly, you could remember there were dissenting voices on ‘Property bill,’ ‘Illicit Bread’ and others. You don’t just oppose motions and bills for opposing sake. You have to examine the positive effect these bills and motions will have on the people we are representing. If we look at these bills and motions and see that it is not people-oriented, we have to say no to it. That is what Mark Esset stands for.
So far, the motions and bills brought forth by the 7th Assembly are people oriented. Like the motion on the Proliferation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Sales outlets within Residential Areas in Akwa Ibom State moved by the Deputy Leader and Member representing Etinan State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Aniefiok Denis; would you say such motion should not be supported? We have also the Akwa Ibom State Urban and Regional Planning bill 2019 which are very timely and people oriented. For example, if you give a visitor an address to come to House of Assembly and the person ask what is the adress number, you will just say Udo Udoma Avenue as there is no number. There is need for proper planning of the town. So such bills needs to be supported.
You just have to wait, 7th Assembly just begun, bills and motions which need to be opposed will be opposed. Ours is to ensure we have a very robust legislation. Of course, you can see it from our debates where members speak for the people whom they represent.
Q: Sir, what causes delayed assent to some of these People oriented bills by the executive?
A: There are processes before a bill passed is given assent to by the Governor. Many times, Ministry of Justice in its scrutiny could observe lapses and write to the House for upgrade. Such bureaucratic process can cause delay. Also, bills which has to do with Agencies and Boards need to be funded and machinery put in place to empower its setup and functionality. Most of it need to be in tandem with policies and programmes of present leadership. Many a times too, we make appeal for very important ones to be given assent to by the Governor. Of course bills passed not given assent to during the lifespan of a particular Assembly, needs to be given life to by bringing it up again for discussion and subsequent legislative procedure for passage and assent.
Many of such bills passed and assented to have added value to the policies and programmes of the present leadership and of course it is one of such that empowered the establishment of a Board handling issuance of Loans to Small and Medium scale businesses in the State.
Q: After the tour to the third tier of Government by the Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs which you head, Sir has the exercise yielded positive result in governance at that level of government?
A: Prior to the tour, Local Government Administration was nothing to right home about. Local Government was in a very abysmal state. But after the tour, you can agree with me that there has been a 360° turn around in the administration of Local Government Council. There is change in Staff attitude towards work and the Local Government administrators have improved in services. By the grace of God, we have been able to give life back to the Local Government administration. There is no Local Government Council in the State that you will go today that is not alive with activities. People are up and doing as they don’t know when the son of man shall appear.
We used caution on those Councils which did not live up to expectation as you give them time to improve. If caution falls on deaf ears, you can now use sanction. We still have our ears on ground to see if the defaulting Councils will work on the areas the Committee had observations. Even my Local Government which was the worst then when we visited has a facelift now as everyone is up and doing. We will go back. Those we invited, we have been able to have interface with them at the Committee level. They have implemented our recommendations to make life better at that level of government. This is a good thing which prior to this time, was not like that.
I remember in one of the Radio programs that I featured, I was on air when a woman called and appreciated the Committee for the exercise that she went to a particular Local Government for a month on daily basis and could not get her Certificate of Origin. Common Certificate of Origin for a month? The woman said nobody was on seat for the period she was going. According to the woman, it was a week after the visit that she went back and everyone was on seat which she was able to get her Certificate of Origin.
This encourages us to do more as the little effort we are putting in is yielding positive result which people appreciate.