Lawmaking is one simple but herculean task requiring intellectual wit and a fine gab of faculty, intelligence and composure. Hence, for one to stand out as a Lawmaker, they must be able to prove their mettle in no small measure as being capable, reliable and trusted.
Meeting these credentials among the array of gentlemen at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly is the Member representing Nsit Ubium State Constituency, Hon. (Barr) Otobong Bob whose leadership style and prowess has projected him as one who knows his onion and mission at the State House.
The Lawmaker who came on board the House on the heels of the not-to-young-to-run Bill has indeed proven that he is neither too young nor timid to lead.
Following the presentation of scorecards by members of the House on the occasion of their 2nd year in office, the Nsit Ubium representative clearly stands out with sterling records of his stewardship to his people.
As required of every legislator, the young Bob can be said to have delivered maximally on the three basics of legislature which are: Lawmaking, Representation and Oversight.
In Lawmaking, the young Legislator in his first year sponsored a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State Security Trust Fund. The bill which had a Public Hearing Conducted, seeks to foster effective and enduring public-private partnership for crime prevention, containment and eradication in order to make Akwa Ibom safer. If passed into law, the bill will ensure that security personnel in the state are trained and re-trained to beat the ugly spate of insecurity in the State. It will as well review funding for relevant security projects and help in the acquisition of security equipment for the effective functioning of security outfits operating in the state.
Foreseeing the danger of losing our cultural heritage as a people, Hon. Otobong Bob in May 2020, sponsored a bill for a law to provide for the preservation, protection and restoration of historical properties and cultural heritage sites in Akwa Ibom State.
The bill which was passed into Law will preserve, protect and restore historical properties and cultural heritage sites in the state for posterity’s sake.
In January 2021, he again sponsored a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State Office of the Public Defender. In his opinion, the Office when established would have responsibility for the provision of legal aid services to vulnerable people in the society and amongst other things, investigate complaints or referrals made to it as well as prepare necessary legal documents, negotiate settlements, or give legal advice necessary to fulfill the purpose of the law.
Hon. Bob further furthered that noted that the Office of the Public Defender would resolve matters brought before it by way of alternative dispute resolutions, as well as publicize its services by informing and sensitizing the public.
During its first reading, the member representing Onna State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Nse Essien had commended Hon. Bob for finding it necessary to bring the Bill to the floor of the House. He had averred that when passed into law, the Bill will enhance quick dispensation of justice and ensure that people are not punished unjustly.
The member representing Ibeno/ Esit Eket, Rt. Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh and his Etinan counterpart, Barr. Aniefiok Dennis had also noted that the Bill would help people who may not afford the services of a lawyer due to financial constraints and enhance fair hearing.
Luckily, the bill has scaled through the 2nd Reading.
Besides the above mentioned bills, Hon. Bob has co-sponsored twenty-two (22) bills including: the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill, a bill for a law to make provision for the establishment of Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency and other matters connected therewith; a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State Tourism, Art and Culture Endowment Fund; a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State College of Science and Technology; a bill for a law to provide for the establishment of Akwa Ibom State Debt Management Office; a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom Bureau of Public Procurement and budget monitoring; a bill for a law to regulate free basic and compulsory education and other matters connected therewith; a bill for a law to provide for free tuition and examination fees in public primary and secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State and for related purposes; a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom Neighborhood Safety Corps and for connected purposes; a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom Professional Counseling Commission; a bill for a law to protect the physically challenged against all forms of discrimination; a bill for a law for the Administration of Customary Courts and for related matters; a bill for a law to regulate the business of scrap metal dealers and similar goods and for connected matters; a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom Park and Garden Agency; a bill for a law to impose an Education Levy to be used in accelerating and enhancing the educational development of the State and for other matters connected thereto; a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State Information Technology Development Agency a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom Residents Registration Agency; the Akwa Ibom State Administration of Criminal Justice Bill; a bill to amend the Akwa Ibom State College of Education law and for other matters connected therewith; a bill to amend the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission Law 2007 and for other matters connected therewith; a bill for a law to establish Akwa Ibom State Road Traffic Authority and for other matters connected therewith, as well as a bill for a law to provide for the compulsory medical treatment and care for child victim of sexual violence and related matters.
These loud achievements in lawmaking, in just two years simply points to the fact that the Nsit Ubium shining star came prepared for the task of his office.
Meanwhile, his representation of his people’s interest also lie stretch in the movement of a motion to relocate the dumpsite at Uyo village Road; a call for immediate take-over of Ndukpoise Ubium Health Centre by Akwa Ibom State Government; Clarion call to stem the tide of quackery in Akwa Ibom Health Sector; Call for investigation into the gruesome murder of Gabriel Bassey Edward and drawing the State Government’s attention to the Gradual pace of infrastructural deterioration at the 65 years old centre of academic excellence at Salvation Army Secondary School, Akai Ubium.
He also cosponsored motions to intensify the Akwa Ibom State Infectious Disease Prevention Measures when Nigeria recorded it first confirmed case of Corona Virus; Post Covid-19 food sufficiency, closure of livestock market and fall in crude oil price; A wake up call to support Akwa Ibom State Agricultural Sector and Urgent need to arrest the alarming rate of rape and violence against women and children in Akwa Ibom State.
Due to his trusted diligence and commitment to assigned tasks, the Lawmaker has been assigned several oversight functions in his short stay at the House which many consider to be a giant feat for a lawmaker.
As part of his oversight functions, the Lawmaker was first saddled with the responsibility of looking into the welfare of members pending the constitution of the House Standing Committees. On the formation of the House Standing Committee on 25th of June 2019, he was appointed to chair the House Committee on Rules, Business, Ethics and Privileges where he scheduled the business of the house among many other functions.
He also served as the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission and is a member of the standing Committee on Appropriation and Finance, Labor and Productivity, Information, Education, Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Transport, Economic Planning, Environment and Mineral Resources, House Services Committee, Committee on Commerce, Culture and Tourism; as well as the Committee on Judiciary, Justice, Human Rights and Public Petitions.
In the period under review, he has embarked on various oversight functions and inspections to projects in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government under the oversight of the aforementioned committees, one of which was when he was appointed among the nine-member Ad-hoc Committee to holistically investigate the allegations of gross misconduct, inefficiency in the disbursement or administration of Nsit Atai Local Government Council Funds and petition bothering on malicious publications among other issues, in July 2020. He submitted his committee’s report later in December 2020 which was adopted by the House for the amendment of the Standing Orders of the House.
Having understood that representation entails touching the people at their areas of need, the Nsit Ubium son has embarked on: the Renovation of two (2) classroom blocks at Community Secondary School, Ikot Okwot; Ongoing renovation of six (6) Classroom blocks at St. Fabian Primary School, Ndukpoise; 600 school desks awaiting distribution to various schools; Water projects ready for commissioning in Ikot Akpan Abia Ubium, Ikot Ekpene Udo and Nung Obong villages; employment of Ten (10) indigenes as aides and constituency support staff; donation of a Toyota Salon Car to Constituent; opening of constituency office at Ikot Edibon; provision of Financial assistance to widows and youths for business startup; as well as the inauguration of an emergency Covid-19 management response team to go round the entire constituency to educate constituents on preventive measures, distribution of nose masks and palliatives all in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area.
With these depths of ability shown in just two years, Otobong Bob has emerged an example of the Akwa Ibom youth who has so much to offer in terms of intelligence, discipline, commitment, responsibility and leadership. It therefore indicates that the average Akwa Ibom youth is endowed with latent potential and should never be underrated.
Going forward, the young Lawmaker had announced plans to dole out more empowerment items to his constituents in the third quarter of 2022 and is gearing towards the introduction of the “Tenancy Bill” which will address issues and litigation involved between landlords and tenants in the state.
Without doubt, the Nsit Ubium Legislator has made his constituents hyper proud through his delivery of excellence. He has also enhanced the advocacy for the involvement of youths in leadership and governance. Even more, fellow youths within and outside his constituency now have a shining example to guide their future aspirations and ambitions without flinching in fear of uncertainty.