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Re: Appointment Of NDDC Board: Presidency Again Playing To The Gallery

January 30, 2014

On December 1, 2013, there was a post by one Edem Darlington, which appeared on SaharaReporters and was nothing less than a hatchet job done by a writer who did not have facts at his disposal.

On December 1, 2013, there was a post by one Edem Darlington, which appeared on SaharaReporters and was nothing less than a hatchet job done by a writer who did not have facts at his disposal.

While the ignorance may be forgiven, the resort to a less than decorous language on the person of the Distinguished Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw was inexcusable, but I will let that pass because, allowing a person's less than acceptable behavior to inform yours will be swimming in the same murk as he.

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Let us focus on what Henshaw did or did not do as Senator, because it is difficult for me to believe that the good people of Cross River South Senatorial District voted, for a second term, a man who did nothing to touch their lives as Edem Darlington claims. It is an insult to ascribe such ignorance to a district so endowed as we are.. It is either the writer is not from that district or he based his write-up on the wicked lies of a paymaster who lost out of the race for chairman of the NDDC.

If Henshaw is nicknamed "ubok opo", how come those of us in the district benefited from his N40 million empowerment program? What about the ultra-modern state of the art computer centre, which foundation laying ceremony was done by none other than the Deputy Governor, Barrister Effiok Cobham.

Among those that witnessed, participated, and gave out cheques to beneficiaries of the N40 million were Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egb (SAN), the Deputy Governor, the paramount ruler of Odukpani Local Government Area, Asakara, Dr. Ita Ekanem Umoh, and State PDP chairman, Ntufam Ekpo Okon. And there are photographs of beneficiaries to prove this. The same distinguished gentlemen participated in the foundation laying ceremony and the structure stands there in Calabar for all to see.

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It may interest the writer to know that about 144 persons benefitted from the empowerment program. Two persons each from nearly 76 wards got about N100, 000. 00 each. Some people went into buying of second hand clothing. Others bought motorcycles to ride in the rural areas. Others brought hair dressing machines, sewing machines and ovens to bake snacks and all kinds of things.

It would be recalled that Henshaw sponsored training for a group of women in Akamkpa and Biase Local Government Areas of the constituency. These two Local Governments are, perhaps, the most prolific in production of plantain in the whole country. He sponsored a workshop in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to train the women and provide them with the equipment on the processing of plantain. The workshop was declared open and witnessed by the wife of our State Governor, Mrs. Onari Duke. What came out of that was that they were able to dry and grind green plantain and create plantain flour, which is an ideal food for diabetics.

A major water scheme in Biase put at over N400 million is still under construction. It is about 90 percent complete and was a Federal Government project which Senator Henshaw initiated. There are rural roads which he also initiated to build drainage and fight erosion in Odukpani and Ebisa in Akpabuyo Local Government Area. An Effik son is a beneficiary of the Ebisa contract.

The distinguished senator initiated the Eniong Creek project where dykes were to be built to facilitate the cultivation of about 5,000 to 7,000 hectares of land. The swamp area is ideal for growing rice, and would have supported a sizeable rice mill within the State.

On the Kwa Falls dam in Akamkpa local government area which he initiated, the
dam would have had a hydropower generation component, and water supply as well as irrigation for about 2,000 hectares of land for farming. The power
generated from the dam would have substantially improved the power supply requirement of Calabar. The foundation laying ceremony for this project was laid by His Excellency, Senator Liyel Imoke, the Governor of Cross River State before a large crowd of Akampa people including chiefs and community leaders as well as the then Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Obadiah Andoh, and his permanent secretary, Ambassador Godknows Igali.

It is noteworthy that the contractor was mobilized to site with N500 million to enable him commence work.

There are many other projects and programmes initiated by Senator Henshaw during his terms in the Senate, but the question to ask now is, since
Henshaw left, what has become of these projects in which so much of public funds have been expended? The truth of the matter is that since Senator Henshaw's departure from the Senate, no one has had the capacity or influence to attract funding for the prosecution and completion of the projects and they now stand abandoned.

Mr. Darlington and his sponsors should be sorry for the constituency for the loss of the quality of representation Henshaw provided. They should visit
the village of Ikot Odo in Akpabuyo Local Government Area and see a modern health centre attracted by Senator Henshaw to the village under the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) programme. The centre is completed and functioning.

They should also go to Egerton Street in Calabar on any Tuesday of their choice and see the crowd of people that are receiving food free from his
Kitchen for the Needy. This programme has been on for about 15 years, long before the Distinguished Senator thought of seeking political office. So, it is baffling to hear hirelings like Edem Darlington call Senator Henshaw selfish.

It is obvious that for Darlington and his co-travelers, generosity lies in continuously giving hand-outs to political jobbers, rather than attracting projects that will be of benefit to the entire constituency.

Instead of doing what Darlington did, I think we, the people of Cross River South Senatorial District should go and look for Senator Henshaw to plead with him to come and facilitate the completion of the projects he initiated. We should also find our incumbent representatives at all levels and persuade them to lend a helping hand. That is the way to go, not insulting elders.
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After enumerating what he thinks were the achievements of other Senators, Darlington sought to know what Henshaw has done for Cross River South senatorial district. He will do well to read the preceding paragraphs.

Darlington will not restrict his diatribe to the Distinguished Senator, but throws in the name of elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, and also seeks to rubbish the Senate Leadership? We ask, what sort of man delights in insulting elders for the sake of an office? Obviously, he is not an Effik man, for that is not the stuff we are made of.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

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