Effiong Bob: Healthy Reflections from the past (2)
The past may not always be glorious but it sure allows us into history, to enable us make informed decisions and guided actions for the future. However, for Sen. Effiong Bob, the past has been a step of glory to glory.
For many who do not know, Sen. Effiong Bob is a strong voice in the affairs of Akwa Ibom State. The Nsit Ubium son from Ikot Ekwere Ubium and Pro Chancellor of the University of Benin was elected Senator for the Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District in 2003, and reelected in 2007, where he served till 2011, under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The learned leader is an alumnus of the School of Arts and Science, Uyo and the University of Lagos where he obtained a bachelor’s degree (LLB) in Law before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School in Victoria Island, Lagos and was called to Bar in 1984.
Bob started his political career from being a people’s advocate to a Councilor. He was Councilor for Works and Transport in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area in 1990, before being elected as Member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly between 1992-1993 and later was appointed Deputy Speaker of the House. While in the State House of Assembly he served at different times in the House Committees on Public Accounts, Industries and Human Rights and Public Petitions.
Bob was also Chairman of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area from 1996-1997. Between 1999-2002, he served as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Akwa Ibom State and on Nigeria’s return to democracy, he was appointed by the Victor Attah led government of Akwa Ibom State as Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice. During his four year term as Attorney General, he served as Member, Akwa Ibom State Judicial Commission; Director, Anchor Insurance Company Limited; and Director, Akwa Ibom Savings and Loans Limited.
As Senator representing Akwa Ibom North East constituency, served as Chairman to committees on Senate Services, Finance, Culture and Tourism, Power and Steel, and Local and Foreign Debts. He also served as Chairman, Ad hoc Committee on investigating illegal Withdrawals from the Excess Crude Fund without Authorization from the National Assembly and was a member of the delegation which witnessed the signing of the final exit of the Paris Club Debt in Paris, France.
Other committees he served on as member included: Committees on Appropriations, Air Force, Communications, Education, Privatization, Establishment and Public Services, Foreign Affairs, Christians Pilgrims Committee, and Committee on Information.
During his tenure as Senator, Sen. Bob served as Member representing Nigeria in the ECOWAS Parliament. He was as well Chairman of the National Assembly Caucus, Akwa Ibom State comprising all the Senators and House of Representative Members from the State and member of the South South Caucus in the Senate and a Member of the South Senators Forum.
ThisDay Newspaper reported in May 2009 that the Akwa Ibom son of the soil had sponsored bills on amendment to the Energy Commission Act, Public Officers (Review of Cases) Panel, Fire Service (Inspection on Building), an Act to Prohibit Trading in Federal Highways in Nigeria and an Act to Prohibit Touting in Public Places.
His unbeatable grasp of the legislature home and nationally led to the publication of his book: Independence of the Legislature in Nigeria: Matters Arising, in 2011 before he was appointed pro-chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the University of Benin, by the President Goodluck Jonathan led government in 2013.
As the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt, his Committee brought the issue of mounting debt to the orbit of national consciousness. When he chaired the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Bob was part of the Federal Government delegation to the signing of the debt relief agreement between Nigeria and Paris Club of creditor nations on October 19, 2005 in Paris. As a result of that agreement, Nigeria was granted debt relief by the Paris club to the tune of 18 billion Dollars.
The agreement was hailed as the biggest ever debt write-off for an African country. The deal also provided a complete exit of Nigeria from the Paris Club. The Nigeria delegation to the meeting was led by the then Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the then Director General, Debt Management Office, Dr. Mansur Muhtar and Senator Udoma Udo Udoma who was the Head of the National Assembly team.
The personal intervention of Sen. Bob helped to enhance the budgetary allocations to federal institutions in the State. Some of them included the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital and the Federal Medical Centre, Uyo. Up until he left office, the Senator’s office was inundated with letters of appreciation thanking him for his interventions. One of such letters came from the Medical Director, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Prof Emmanuel Ekandem.
It is on record that Sen. Bob used his membership of several committees in the Senate as well as his connections to ensure that several indigenes of Akwa Ibom State are either gainfully employed or awarded contracts in the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, National Assembly Service Commission, National Agency for Prohibition in Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), NNPC, Federal Inland Service, Federal Ministry of Water Resources etc.
The list of his magnanimity is endless as the Nsit Ubium son left no stone unturned is his quest to accommodate his kinsmen. With his rich résumé, one would agree that the former national representative is loaded with what it takes to go on higher calling for the larger Akwa Ibom.
Effiong Bob is coming!