THE ESSENTIAL DR. EKONG SAMPSON: WHY AKWA IBOM SOUTH IS SAFE WITH ONOMKPOINAM MKPAT ENIN IN THE SENATE
By Trek Africa Newspaper
Rt. Hon. Barr. Ekong Sampson, Ph.D.
“It is often said that what a man is, his community knows”.
It is clear that popular zoning opinion favours Mkpat Enin in the Senate race for Akwa Ibom South. Mkpat Enin Unity Network, in consultation with stakeholders and major support groups in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, uses this opportunity to present the man of impeccable character, a legal luminary, a writer of high repute, a frontline entrepreneur and a great philanthropist. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you a ranking title chief who holds several chieftaincy titles across the length and breadth of Akwa Ibom State. The famous Onomkpoinam Mkpat Enin, Rt. Hon. Barr. Ekong Sampson, Ph.D. This man is today celebrated by a large proportion of people in Akwa Ibom State and beyond for obvious reasons. We present Dr. Ekong Sampson as we know him in Mkpat Enin, through his antecedents.
Dr. Hon. Barr. Ekong Sampson, Ph.D.
A MAN OF THE PEOPLE:
As Council Chairman in Mkpat Enin from 2003 – 2007, Barr. Ekong Sampson lived with us in Mkpat Enin throughout his tenure. Despite being subjected to inconveniences, he was not deterred. He weathered the storm and continued living among his people not minding incessant pressures to his comfort. This was a show of exemplary leadership character which endears Barr. Ekong Sampson to the hearts of Mkpat Enin people till date.
Seeing the resilience and patriotic spirit in him, Obong D. S. Udoinyang, HRM, Akwa Edidem John Ufot Ibanga, Elder Joe Udobia, Sir Maurice Ebe, HRH, Edidem (Sir) P.N.J. Udo, Elder Ime Usen Charles, Chief A. A. Inoh, Sir Stanislaus Usen, Chief Patrick Ememe, all of blessed memory and other great leaders of the time took Barr. Ekong Sampson to their hearts and supported his ideals with passion. It could be recalled that it was during this era that HRM Akwa Edidem John Ufot Ibanga in conjunction with the Traditional Rulers Council of Mkpat Enin and other stakeholders conferred
on Barr. Ekong Sampson, the chieftaincy title of Onomkpoinanm Mkpat Enin in November, 2004. This was shortly after our late leader and sage who was also the Chairman, Ibibio Elders Forum, Obong D. S. Udoinyang, conferred a rare ‘Award of Excellence’ on Barr. Ekong Sampson for his great achievements as Chairman of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. It is an incontrovertible fact that Obong D. S. Udoinyang was well known for his objectivity in assessing the content of public service and governance.
HIGH SENSE OF GRATITUDE AND COMPASSION:
We know Dr. Ekong Sampson to be someone who really appreciates support and good faith. Onomkpoinam goes to great lengths to protect and reward his supporters. He does not do “use and dump”. He helps supporters and their families, and even communities a lot. He still helps a lot of people even when he is not holding any public office now.
Barr. Ekong Sampson has worked assiduously to develop the youths of Mkpat Enin and beyond. He is the kind of person who would go to any length to fetch jobs for the youths of Akwa Ibom South. Whether they are from Oro, Ekid, Obolo or Ibibio, he does not discriminate at all.
It was in recognition of these exceptional efforts that the entire youth strata in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area came together and conferred on him “A Life Time Achievement Award” having noticed his outstanding performances in Public and Private Service which they believed had attracted a lot of benefits and economic developments to the youths.
This is one of the principled lifestyles that has greatly endeared Barr. Ekong Sampson to people. Barr. Sampson mixes freely with both the lowly and highly placed individuals irrespective of where they come from, be it Ukpum Minya, Ikpa Ibom, Ikpa Ikono or Ibiaku Clan. Right from his days as Council Chairman, he ensured that facilities were evenly spread across our four clans. As we speak, there is no clan in Mkpat Enin today that has not witnessed Barr. Sampson’s footprint -whether through schools, electricity, potable water supply, health, and many other critical infrastructure. He has facilitated employment for many sons and daughters of Mkpat Enin in both public and private sectors not minding where they come from. Barr. Sampson has donated cars, motorcycles, land and even houses to stakeholders and youths. He has awarded scholarships to the less privileged and empowered many artisans to enable them contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of their families and society.
Due to his non-discriminatory disposition, whenever Ekong Sampson goes for election every clan in Mkpat Enin easily joins him.
Barr. Ekong Sampson is a modest-minded person. Instead of seeking personal luxury, Barr. Sampson channeled his time and resources to establish for his community a standard Secondary School and made it tuition-free to train thousands of our youth as well as opened businesses that employ hundreds of people. Onomkpoinam has used the platform of Ekong Sampson Empowerment Programme (ESEP) to help so many people and communities. He donated materials worth over N5.7m to help some of our communities during the COVID-19 scourge.
Education has continued to occupy a prime place in the policy thrust of Barr. Sampson’s plans for people. His love for education propelled him to establish Excellence College in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, making it tuition free to enable indigent students benefit immensely in the community. Today, the College has become one of the best in the State, scoring 100% in WASC final examinations. The College boasts of excellent infrastructure and parades the finest intellects in its workforce in addition to incredible facilities such as portable water, electricity, laboratory, up-to-date library and sport facilities to mention but a few, all donated by Barr. Ekong Sampson. The institution was later handed over to the Akwa Ibom State Government.
The story of the smooth take-off of the Akwa Ibom State University in Ikot Akpaden cannot be fully told without mentioning the contributions of Barrister Ekong Sampson. As the then Chairman of Mkpat Enin, Onomkpoinam set up the University Liaison Committee headed by the revered Etebom P.N.J. Udoh, then Clan Head of Ikpa Ibom, to work with the State Government on the University. The Council Chairman was a regular visitor to the site of the University – holding meetings, talking to the local community on sensitive issues to have peace for an enabling environment. He continued this passion for the University when he was in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. Onomkpoinam has formed the habit of personally teaching in some schools during his birthday and donating numerous items to motivate both students and teachers. He himself made academic distinctions.
PROMOTION OF UNITY:
On assumption of duties as Head of Council in 2003, Dr. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson convened a meeting of all Mkpat Enin stakeholders to develop a blueprint which was to serve as a working document under his “New Mkpat Enin Project” agenda. The 3-day colloquium which took place at Amity Luxury Home, Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo, was the most successful of such gatherings since the creation of Mkpat Enin LGA. Stakeholders were happy because it afforded them the opportunity to contribute their noble ideas towards the development of their fatherland. The colloquium was the tonic that brought about the much sought-after unity among the people of the area.
As a follow up to this vision, Barr. Sampson quickly embarked on the construction of Mkpat Enin Unity Hall, an imposing edifice that has today defined the historical structure of Mkpat Enin as envisioned by her founding fathers. Mkpat Enin Unity Hall has become a symbol of unity. It clearly tells the story of Barr. Sampson’s dreams and efforts geared towards engendering love and prosperity through deepening the ambit of unity for his people. This is why the Hall has now been named after him as “Dr. Ekong Sampson Hall”.
GOOD FAITH AND CHARACTER:
Over the years, Barr. Ekong Sampson has proven himself as one of the compassionate fellows who has made it a tradition to put smiles on the faces of his people. He has supported a lot of people to gain political positions. He is a trustworthy fellow whose words are always his bond. Barr. Sampson is a natural person who helps as much as he can, naturally. He is simply a nice person in the real sense of the word. An unpretentious fellow who would never tell lies to score cheap political point, nor abuse your sense of dignity. We are very sure that Barr. Sampson will be there for all of us in the Senate.
His virtues of love and compassion notwithstanding, he does not shy away from taking a position on issues that benefit the generality of the people. To him, public service should come with a sense of sacrifice not forgetting respect for basic rules where the opinions of the people should be allowed to count. Barr. Ekong Sampson is fearless when it comes to protecting basic principles that are of benefits to the common man and he is always apt in dispensing social justice and fairness to all concerned. Another interesting thing is that the Ekong Sampson we know gives out so much cheerfully without making noise, as a principle. To him, giving should not be advertised. Some might not know that in just one instance Ekong gave out over 20 vehicles to people without making any noise whatsoever. But we saw it and some of us even benefitted. How many private persons in this country will toil to establish a school, and run it free, quietly? But that is Ekong Sampson for you.
As a man of vision, Ekong Sampson, when he was Chairman of Council remodeled and reconstructed the Divisonal Police Headquarters in Mkpat Enin to boost security in the area, making Mkpat Enin very safe. He also bought vehicles for all the Clan Heads in Mkpat Enin. Sampson personally donated water facilities to all the Clan Heads including the Paramount Ruler. He has promoted the welfare of traditional rulers in the area over the years. Ekong Sampson is indeed a darling of traditional rulers in Mkpat Enin.
Ekong Sampson is a very caring family man. The wife, Matina, herself, works in the Senate. He is a devout Christian who supports the Church regularly.
Among contemporary leaders, Barr. Sampson remains most accessible, humble and simple despite his high standing. Professor Etie Ben Akpan, the renowned geologist, academic and political leader of Okon Eket eloquently confirmed this recently.
Ekong Sampson is fondly called “Aka Usoro 1” of Mkpat Enin. He always makes out time to attend virtually all key functions organized by people. Sometimes he does not even wait to be invited. He believes that this is how respect should be shown to humanity, whether big or small. Onomkpoinam Mkpat Enin is amazingly approachable. He is a good mixer and always thinking of ways of putting smiles on the faces of people – one of them being through surprise visitation and attending events organized by people.
RESPECT FOR HUMANKIND:
Dr. Barr. Ekong Sampson is renowned for his respect for elders and others without reservations. He often demonstrates maturity through his enduring capacity. His high status in the society notwithstanding, Barr. Sampson still relates with his alma mata, staff, politicians of different class and the public with fondness. Many who visited Senator Udoma Udo Udoma’s office when he was in the Senate have attested to how Barr. Ekong Sampson treated them with so much respect and love in the office. He would even later “drag” some of them to stay with him for sometime in his Asokoro residence, or even take them through Abuja, before they returned to Akwa Ibom State. It was not surprising, then, when Ekong was overwhelmingly elected our Council Chairman subsequently, and has remained a very powerful factor in Mkpat Enin politics.
FIGHT FOR JUSTICE:
Barr. Ekong Sampson has built a Health Centre at Odorikot Community which has since suffered neglect despite situating in an oil-bearing community. He also built a water treatment facility for that community. Barr. Sampson has been very vocal in attracting government attention to Odorikot Community since his days as Local Government Chairman of Mkpat Enin.
It is on record that Barr. Sampson is the first leading personality that started the campaign for Ikot Akpa Ekop in Ikpa Ibom Clan to be recognized and rewarded as a place where oil was first discovered in Nigeria in 1952. He went a step further by publishing a Handbook titled: “Mkpat Enin Among Oil Bearing Communities” showcasing all the cocked oil well in Mkpat Enin as a whole. This feat was well applauded across the State. He also donated a water purifier and other health-related consumables to several communities in the Local Government Area to help in the management of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
HIGH INTELLECT: A MAN OF GREAT IDEAS
Available records in terms of intellectual exploits have shown that Barr. Ekong Sampson is one of the refined intellectuals this nation can be proud of, any day. He is a scholar par excellence who has made Mkpat Enin and Nigeria very proud in every capacity he found himself. Barr. Ekong Sampson is a prolific writer and author, a lawyer- journalist, a poet and a philosopher- king of the most brilliant form. You needed to listen to “The Compendium” whenever he spoke on the floor of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. The Ekong Sampson we know will light up the Senate with his rich ideas and deep knowledge base.
In Eket Senatorial District, if not even the bigger national entity, Mkpat Enin has the distinction of having a PDP party house wholly owned by the Chapter. It was Onomkpoinam Ekong Sampson who, in his usually creative and large- hearted way, brought the idea and championed the construction of PDP Secretariat in Mkpat Enin, belonging to us. As a result, our party does not pay any rent in our Local Government Area – thanks to the vision of a solid and dedicated party man who has remained with the PDP whether in good or bad times.
One of the indices of economic growth of a nation is private sector development. Over the years, Barr. Ekong Sampson has been very passionate in participating meaningfully in the development of this sector. He works very hard to create employment opportunities for people. This is because Barr. Sampson is highly focused with a clear sense of business acumen and networking for a result. Indeed, Barr. Sampson has contributed enormously to the economic mainstay of our State and nation. This is worth commending.
Zoning favours Barr. Ekong Sampson within the framework of Mkpat Enin politics and that of Akwa Ibom South. It is an incontrovertible fact that the Senate seat now rotates to Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency of which Mkpat Enin is a major beneficiary having been tested by Senator Udoma Udo Udoma from Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, as well as Eket and Oron Federal Constituencies before now. In Mkpat Enin, the House of Assembly seat goes to Ukpum Minya Clan while Senate goes to Ikpa Ikono Clan where Onomikpoinam comes from. So both micro and macro zoning favours him. It is worthy of note that zoning of Senate and other elected positions adopted as principles by the Peoples Democratic Party has earned the Party a lot of respect in the State.
We are here today to put across to the people of Akwa Ibom South some of the qualities that will make Dr. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson a great Senator representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District. Mkpat Enin people are indeed very grateful to His Excellency, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, and other justice-minded stakeholders in Akwa Ibom South for standing on the truth and ensuring that Mkpat Enin gets the Senate seat. Just like Dr. Ekong Sampson, the PDP gubernatorial candidate, our in-law, Pastor Umo Bassey Eno and other candidates in the national and state elections deserve the support of all.
Akwa Ibom State is in some sort a mini Nigeria with diverse ethnic groups. Therefore, we need a knowledgeable bridge builder, team player and non- discriminatory personality like Dr. Ekong Sampson, who has the experience and capacity. One that understands the dynamics of the Senatorial District to speak for us in the Senate.
Fortunately, Dr. Ekong Sampson has worked earlier at the Senate as Special/Chief Legislative Assistant to the well-respected Senator Udoma Udo Udoma from where Onomkpoinam moved on to become Councillor, Head of Council, House of Assembly Member, Special Adviser (Political and Legislative Affairs). He also held the position of Hon. Commissioner in a number of ministries ending up at the Ministry of Environment and Petroleum Resources, a portfolio that made him very familiar with key problems in Akwa Ibom South which is a litoral and oil-producing zone.
Indeed, with Dr. Ekong Sampson in the Senate, we can be assured that Akwa Ibom South will have an experienced lawmaker, a unifier and a seasoned scholar well suited for our senate representation. We will be safe as a people to have him in the Red Chambers. Onomkpoinam is the type of person who will build strong bridges of love across fronts and respect the rights of everybody – Oro, Ibibio, Ekid, Obolo – in our Senatorial District. We therefore respectfully urge the people of Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District to vote Dr. Ekong Sampson for Senate and vote PDP all the way.
TPL. Akpabio Ufot Akpabio,
Mr. Joe Akpan, Chapter Coordinator
Barr. Ebeute Ebeute,
Mbat Udoinyang Director, Public Affairs
For the Fourth House Group:
Barr. Ememobong Nicholas,
Mkpat Enin Lawyers Forum
Comrade Emem Alex,
Mkpat Enin Youth Council
Comrade Felix Okon Johnson,
President National Association of Mkpat Enin Students (NAMES)