Itu Transition Committee Chairman, Elsie Esara, would have saved Akwa Ibomites last week’s embarrassment if she was not arrogant and snubbish
It was a moment to make members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly vent their anger on Mrs. Elsie Esara, the transition chairman of Itu Local Government Area.
Members of the 6th Assembly viewed Elsie Esara as the woman that took them for a ride for ignoring their calls that she should appear before the committee on Local Government and chieftaincy matters.
After failing to appear on a more than twice invitation, the committee chairman Idongesit Ntekpere who represents the people of Ikot Ekpene / Obot Akara State constituency had reported to the house that the woman (Elsie Esara) is not willing to appear before his committee.
The House of Assembly did not only view that as contemptuous, they rightly observed Esara’s ignore of the invitation as a slap, an affront and a ridicule on the legislative arm of government.
Considering the fact that the Transition committee exists at the mercies of the legislative arm, the legislators move to take their own pound of flesh. How? I will explain. It is the House of Assembly that amends the law and empowers the government to appoint Transition committee across the Local Government Areas of the State. If the House did not amend this law to accommodate this “illegality”, somebody like Elsie Esara may not have had the space to be addressed as the Itu Council Chairman. But can the House of Assembly boast of such nerves? This is a story for another day.
By the 6th Assembly lights, the transition chairman of Itu must appear in plenary and answer questions for herself. She will have to explain to that noble House why she took them for a ride. Such stubbornness from a woman, a mere LG appointee should not go unchecked. The Assemblymen were ready to engage her and this they did to their limits and excitement.
Finally Elsie Esara, the super woman, the financial woman of Itu stepped into the gallery. She was ushered into the floor of the House with compliance with all legislative rules. The House accordingly collapsed into a committee on the whole and Mr. Speaker Barr. Onofiok Luke took charge as the chairman.
If Elsie Esara had believed that facing the legislators was going to be a matter of English, she was dead wrong. If she believed that a mere apology will do the magic, her thinking was funny there. And again if she thought those legislators would be friendly to her, she didn’t think well. She realized that she was in for trouble when she surveyed the countenance of her “oppressors” and noted that they were not on the same page with her.
With documents well packed she stepped on the microphone and began her responses. The leader of the legislature Sir Udo Keriam Akpan in a world of his own was spectacular. He demonstrated enough reason why he is a legislator worth his seat. Mr. Speaker showed class. Otherwise the outcome would have been fatal.
In fact but not for his Diplomacy, more can of worms would have been opened by the super woman of Itu. Well, more revelations have been made in this melodrama and it is believed that followers of this event have gotten more information than could ever be imagined.
Elsie Esara goofed. She came unprepared or even if she was prepared she became a victim of fear. But in all of her responses, one could deduce that she was just telling the truth and nothing but the whole truth.
The Esara, Akwa Ibom House of Assembly tango shows that there are a lot more to be learned in the political cycle. It is always said that pride goes before a fall.
The argument by some schools of thought that members of the House of Assembly were unfair to Elsie Esara is totally wrong. At the risk of being labeled as taking sides, I emphasize on the wrongness of those who feel the AKHA were either on a road show or a victimization of the woman. There is no need to throw stones at the Assembly. They only acted within the context of the petition they received. They never generated that petition.
The 6th Assembly never did anything wrong. They acted on a petition sent by more than four members of Itu transition committee against their chairman. They (6th Assembly) is not a petition writing House and so they did not generate that petition.
Elsie Esara had all the chances on earth to have set herself off the hook before the matter came to public. She would have saved herself, the family, the first lady and Akwa Ibom people that Wednesday’s embarrassment if she had reported to the committee when she was earlier invited.
Rather than honour the invitation, she relied on some godfathers who have been feeding fat on her for misdirection. Otherwise how else can one explain a situation where a transition chairman is speaking back and front in a guise of self defence before an intelligent press in the chambers of the House of Assembly? Why on earth should she have relied on Anietie Okon for directions on matters like that?
In this matter going forward the highest Senator Okon can do will be as he is doing now to scream of the oppression of the woman by the House of Assembly. I think it does not add up. It is a noise from a supposed elder statesman. This is apparently because he cannot stop the legislature from doing their work. If he didn’t want his beloved, I mean his beloved chairman of Itu LGA to be embarrassed and oppressed, he should have encouraged that woman to appear before that committee.
Another argument was that Elsie Esara was subjected to very harsh treatment as she was made to stand facing the legislators for more hours than three. Well, this position is untenable. This is because she never asked for a chair and was denied. She has not complained about that. Her body language throughout the period she stood was less alarming that she was not okay. She is a boss woman. An iron woman and a super woman.
Going further, it will be correct to position the character of the House of Assembly in this matter. At the end of this invitation what will be the outcome of this AKHA intervention. Will they sack this woman? The answer is NO. The House of Assembly has no power whatsoever to sack her. They never appointed her. AKHA do not also have the power to scrutinize her expenditure because they never approved such for her. Over the years, these transition committees have been operating without an estimate and therefore, we are bound to see more of these crises.
However, the highest and perhaps hardest decision AKHA can take may only be perhaps to suspend the budget of Itu with a caveat that only salary and wages be paid to civil servants pending the clearance of allegations of fraud and fraudulent activities leveled on the woman, the council Transition Chairman.
The House of Assembly can also pass a resolution and communicate same to the Governor and recommend her sack. In this case, the Governor may want to please the legislative arm and advise the woman to take a quiet and honorable path of resignation. And in passing this resolution, the House may wish to hide under the coverage of certain factors by saying that the woman is creating disunity in government.
That the woman has violated the constitution and that all known decorum in the Oaths of allegiance and that of the office she swore to protect has been violated. This, they will back up by listing the offences of the woman when she addressed them at plenary.
More threatening remarks could be that Elsie Esara has equally breached the oath of secrecy she swore though not in print to protect. Elsie Esara did not impress those in the leadership cadre when she admitted that she was ill advised by her political mentor Senator Anietie Okon amongst other funny comments she made.
To every discerning mind the Itu financial woman erred when she acknowledged openly in the floor of the House that she does not know the position of the law on Local Government Administration. This clearly exposed her and presented her as an unfit public officer. For Elsie Esara, it is a time to rethink and reconsider her life and values. It is unfortunate that you relied on yesterday’s men to fight your battle.
I pray that you get a safe landing. If you survive this scare, you may have to rethink and restrategize on your political life. There is a need to bury ego and work assiduously with people who have a future in the Akwa Ibom project for what you have done so far is not the leadership way.
THE ANIETIE OKON INTERLUDE
It is unfortunate that Sen. Anietie Okon who is supposed to be a shining light will seek to use his position and create confusion in the State. There is a clear cut out role the House of Assembly performs. AKHA got a petition and invited the accused person to appear before them. That to me is not witch-hunting. What we can deduce from Senator Okon’s meddlesome in this area is that Okon feels the leadership of the House is too young to act very well. In one word Okon’s position is an intimidation to the House. This action was wrong. This position advanced by Senator Okon goes to confirm the fact that the older generation in Akwa Ibom views the younger with some level of discomfort and distrust. This is not supposed to be so. If Anietie Okon does not like the face of any member of the House of Assembly, it does not stop and shall not stop legislative work from going on.
Akwa Ibom state is no longer in the era of impunity. Therefore each arm of government should be respected. Nobody is saying that Anietie Okon, is not entitled to his opinion. But when he wants his opinion to be law, it is mockery and an insult on legislation.
If Elsie Esara was unprepared for the job, she should not have accepted it in the first place. Her over rating of her mentor created this imbalance in the first place.
IS THIS IDONGESIT ITUEN’S BATTLE?
This is one question that has been flowing on the lips of a lot of people even amongst supposedly learned people. The answer is NO. The House of Assembly is not fighting Idong Ituen’s battle.
First, Ituen did not send a petition to the House of Assembly. Two, we have not been told of a confrontation between himself and Elsie Esara.
The issue is Elsie shunned Ntekpere’s committee and the Ikot Ekpene / Obot Akara man sought help from the whole House. This is why we are here today. And in any case no one has delved into the content of the petition sent by Esara’s Transition committee members yet. When this is done, if at all it will be done, we should expect more drama.