By: Edifon Abasi-obot
Stakeholders in Akwa Ibom State have resolved to complement Governor Udom Emmanuel’s efforts towards ensuring adequate enrolment of citizens within the State in the ongoing National Identity Card and upcoming Continuous Voter’s Registration exercises, to truly reflect the State’s position in federation. This was followed by a declaration to supportthe campaign to intensify the drive towards effectiveness of the exercise in the State and optimum success.
The declaration was made by the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Onofiok Luke, following positive positions presented by various reputable Akwa Ibomites and a resolution unanimously reached at a meeting of stakeholders in the State,withthe Special Adviser to the Governor on Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson and top ranking officials of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Uyo, the State capital.
The Chief Host and facilitator of the meeting, Barr. Ekong Sampson, in setting the tone for the meeting, was full of thanks to the participant for responding to the clarion call to chart a new trajectory for the State. He said the advancement of the State was dependent to a great extent on the contributory efforts of all stakeholders in the State, especially, Heads of Local Government Councils, towards optimal success in the “intertwined exercises” of National Identity and Voter’s Registration.
The meeting had in attendance a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the State: Members of AKHA, Commissioners, SSAs and SAs, LG Chairmen, the Press, leaders of socio-cultural organizations, market women and the likes, to discuss a wide range of strategies to enhance a just representation of the about 6 million population of Akwa Ibom State on the national database.
Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly who was represented by the Chief Whip and representative of Ini State Constituency, Hon. Emmanuel Bassey, said the present Government in the State has always proven responsible and should be supported to attain its people-oriented goals. He told the gathering, “the task before us is that of sensitization and awareness, and that we must do with great intensity”.
The Speaker promised thathis 26-man 6thAssembly will work with Local Government Councils and other relevant agencies to ensure all “i”s and “t”s are properly dotted and crossed to ensure maximum effectiveness of the exercise. He commended all stakeholder in the meeting for showing honest concern for the success of the exercise in the State and urged them to utilize all means of information dissemination within their reach intensify the awareness, especially in native dialects.
The Hon. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. (Mrs.) Glory Edet praised the Executive Governor, the Legislature, all Akwa Ibom stakeholders and the NIMC for the synergy exhibited in the interest of the State. With such, she said, the project was bound to succeed maximally, as she promised to mobilize the majority of the populace, being women, towards the exercise. Shechallenged the NIMC on its capacity to handle the influx that will result from the imminentmass sensitization and mobilization.
The State Chairman of ALGON, Hon. Frank Archibong who spoke on behalf of the Heads of Local Government Councils described the achievement recorded so far as a far cry from what it should be and registered the commitment of Heads of LGs in the State to ensure the grassroots are well mobilized towards huge success in the exercise.
A representative of market women in the meeting demanded that registration unitsbe stationed at big markets, stating that enrolment obtainable at each of such would out do any other centre in the State.
The South-South Regional Manager of NIMC, Barr. Frank Unuigboje commended the State Government for taking steps to boost the National ID Card enrolment in the State, adding that he was overwhelmedby the caliber of person that in attendance at the meeting. He particularly thanked His Excellency the Governor for the provision of 21 generators to solve power supply challenge at the registration centres and the State Officeand described the Special adviser in the Bureau of Political, Legislative Affairs and water Resources as a great mobilizer.
Barrister Unuigboje, elaborating on the importance of the exercise said the NIMC act provides that a National Identification Number (NIN) be issued to every citizen and legal resident from 16 years and above, so the individual can irrefutably assert his/her identity anywhere in the world. The act, he said, also provides that at a date, as will be announced by the Commission, the use of the NIN shall become mandatory for transactions in the country, such as obtaining international passports, opening personal bank accounts, purchase of insurance policies, purchase, registration or transfer of landed properties, payment of taxes, etc.
The NIMC South-South regional Bossdeclared that with the support received from the State Government 6 more LGA centres will commence operations in a week’s time.Describing the18 registration units hithertocredited to the State as inadequate considering its population.He said with more collaboration with the State Government, the State will record remarkable feat on the scheme before the end of the year.
The Special Adviser reiterated Governor Udom Emmanuel’s matching order that the exercise in the State be treated with utmost seriousness, restatingState Government commitment through his Bureau to provide necessary assistance to ensure effectiveness of the exercise.
Special Adviser, Bureau of Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources and Chief Host, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson setting the tone for the Stakeholders Meeting, flanked on the left by Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. (Mrs.) Glory Edet and on the right by the South-South Regional Manager of NIMC, Barr. Frank Unuigboje.
Speaker of AKHA, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Onofiok Luke, represented by the Chief Whip, Hon. Emmanuel Bassey, at the Stakeholders Meeting on National Identity and Voter’s Registration Programmes in Akwa Ibom State.
Hono. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. (Mrs.) Glory Edet addressing the gathering, flanked on the right by the Chief Host and Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Legislative Affair Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson, South-South Regional Manager of NIMC, Barr. Frank Unuibgoje; on the left by AKHA Member, Hon. Prince Idongesit Ntekpere, Chief Whip, Hon. Emmanuel Bassey and the ALGON Chairman, Hon. Frank Archibong.