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How Senator Effiong Bob, Won the Heart Of The People Of Akwa Ibom State As A grassroots Politician

By Inemesit Ndueso Ebu

 Effiong Bob, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigerian, elected on the platform of the  ruling People’s Democratic  Party,  PDP, in  Akwa Ibom state, could  beat his chest that he is a grassroots politician.

 This is evident going by  the provision of  the basic  democratic  dividends to the people of his  Senatorial  district as promised in his  electioneering Campaigns in 2019 . His philosophy  ‘’that power emanates from the people’’ may have informed why he could not fail but to fulfill such promises in order to remain  in the good book of the electorates in the Senatorial district and the state in general.

According to him, ‘’Power is transient which  political  leaders , both at the Federal, State and local government levels, including political appointees hold in trust for the people and therefore, should not make their head to be  to swollen headed.   He is right.

He has his reason.  This is because the  voters  who   give you their vote today  could decide to vote you out in a subsequent  elections to prove a point that’’ their vote counts’’.  Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of the state,  Senator, and now  minister of  theministry of Niger Delta, would not forget that in a hurry.

 He had taken advantage of his popularity in the state as a former governor to decamp from the PDP, to the All Progressive Congress,  APC,  where he  had picked one of the Senatorial slots in the state to contest the 2019 general election , but got it wrong.  He was defeated by the PDP, Candidate, who had the support of Udom Emmanuel, the state governor, and who  incidentally  was one of his godsons in the state politics.

Political watchers believe that  to be a  grassroots  politician  is the surest  way  of making  it in Akwa Ibom politics, particular, if the political; leader could   listen to the demands of the people  as well as solve their problems as presented to him ,instead of  treating the people  as inconsequential.  Senator Bob may have learnt this lesson from the onset that he ever lost any electoral battle in the state.         He knew he needed to carry the people along by taking  practical steps to meeting  their needs  without complaining.

Indeed, he has come to understand in the oil rich  state ‘that grassroots politics is the major yardstick for measuring the performance of elected political  leaders. This may have informed why he  is  still very much relevant in the state politics.

Many believe that Senator Bob , may have won the heart of the people  of the state because he grew  up among them,  particular, people of his  Senatorial district  where h knew  their major needs and how to  solve them. It  was therefore, a matter of time for him to address such needs in his Senatorial district. He believe that he could achieve that through politics.

 It was therefore, not very surprising that when he was elected as one of the Senators from the state in the 2019, general election, he saw it as opportunity to say ‘’Thank you to the people who has the vote that can make or unmake any politician seeking for any elective office in the state by fulfilling  all the  electioneering campaign promises made in order to make the people happy and still vote for him agin.

Unlike the political prostitutes in the state who had been jumping from one party to the other  to feather their nest, bbut  Bob, who was one the pioneer members of PDP, in the state had remained a loyal party  member  . This may have gained from it as his views are well respected  both at the state party and the Federal level. Even  among  his Colleagues in the National Assembly , his views are also respected,  notwithstanding their political differences.

Political analysts believe that there is one common factor which had distinguished him from other politicians in the o  Akwa Ibom state that is going for him: He is not deterred  by sentiments, as he stands and supports   what is right, no matter the political affiliation. He could keep to his words  because of his journey through the murky waters of Nigeria politics over the last twenty five years.

 Senator Bob , who could count himself as  an experienced politician who has seen it all  both at the Executive and Judicial arms of government  before seeking an elective office at the National Assembly , according close associates is very humble .

 The humility appear to counting in his favour as the people of the state see him as  a next governor of the state. Some of the power brokers of the PDP in the state  who had are seen the quality in him  as a true leader and grassroots mobiliser were said to have started  approaching him to declare  his interest to run for the governor of the state  on the ruling  PDP  ticket in the 2023 general elections. They believe that he has the support of the electorates which caught across the three Senatorial districts in the state. He was said to have even  used  his position as a political appointee in the past to help many people in the state.

Two of such appointments that he was said to have  used to stamp his foot on the ground in the state  that  he can deliver , if given a bigger responsibility , was when he served  as  the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman  of the Governing Council  of the University of Benin, Edo state and  Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene, in the state . . those who were said to have approached  with one problem or the other in different parts of the state were said to had left satisfied that he could attend to them  

Some PDP Chieftains interviewed  stated  that  his breed are very  rare  to come by  in the country  as only   few politicians could   really stand for equity , Justice  and fairness. Although, he  is  not  a member of the APC, many believe that with the efforts being made  President Muhammadu Buhari , to rid the country of Corruption, there is need for the government to elect  politicians in subsequent elections who know how to nip it on bud. 

For now, what should really concern the people  of   Akwa Ibom state , an analyst  said is to make their   in-depth  finding  before casting their vote  for the Candidate of their choice  , from  any of the parties, particular, Candidates standing in for  the PDP or  APC, into any elective office in the 2023  election to avoid making mistakes of voting the wrong people  who would turn the hand of the clock backward in the state again..

  Indeed, Senator Bob , stand out in the state going by what the electorates say about him.  ‘’He is described as  one political actor  that had raised some other  great and  sound politicians but  still remained  very unassuming’’.

The general opinion about him is that  he is a selfless leader  that has sacrificed , at different times his resources to help the people as he has  enthroned equity, Justice and fairness in party politics in the state.

 ‘’He is an expert in teaching people how to fish, and not merely giving people fish to eat’’, a PDP Chieftain said. At a time when the electorates have virtually lost hope in their elected leaders at different levels of government  in the country, the Akwa Ibom state serving Senator,   is still highly  revered  for  his political steadfastness and  respect  for party elders  and Constituted Authorities, which clearly opens the door  for him to be the next governor of the state in 2023.

Inemesit  Ndueso is a Lagos based Journalist, who had worked in the defunct Newswatch Magazine and Now, Publisher  , Great Achievers World Magazine. She  is an expert in executing  Special Projects . 08023103484

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July 2021

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