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Dad loved me so much that he ran away with me and left my other siblings during the Civil War

Posted by By KEMI DAYO-AIYETAN on 2008/06/28 | Views: 2662 |

Dad loved me so much that he ran away with me and left my other siblings during the Civil War

His name is so complex you might need help from a local to pronounce it properly. But KEMI DAYO-AIYETAN discovers that Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, the FCT Minister of State, is really a down-to-earth person in spite of his achievements

His name is so complex you might need help from a local to pronounce it properly. But KEMI DAYO-AIYETAN discovers that Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, the FCT Minister of State, is really a down-to-earth person in spite of his achievements

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Senator John James Akpanudoedehe

MIND you, his name is a mouthful - Senator John James Akpanudoedehe. He is the Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory.

Not only that, his résumé could make a book. He was in the Senate from 1999-2003, where he was the pioneer chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatisation, the first male chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs and Youth Development.

He was also the chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, and served as vice chairman, Senate Committee on Environment.

In addition, he was a member of several other committees, including those of Internal Affairs, Labour and Productivity, Information, Economic Affairs and Finance and Appropriation.

Akpanudoedehe, who represented the Uyo Senatorial District, was a member of the Committee on Security and Intelligence, Solid Minerals, National Planning; sub-committee chairman on Land Allocation and Senate Services.

”Before then, I had served as the chairman and Head of Legislature in 1996 during the Abacha regime and, in the same year, I was also the chairman, Peace and Security Committee of the Uyo Local Government Area,” he enthuses.

”That was the launch-pad I needed to contest an election as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1999.

”After the senate, I wanted to go for the Akwa Ibom governorship seat, but the party decided to return all the governors. So, I went back to my personal business but never left politics because I was one of those that founded the Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom State.

”I was a member of the Presidential Electoral Panel in 2006 and chairman, Godswill Akpabio and Ekpotu (Akwa Ibom State governor and his deputy) Campaign Committee. I have always lived a life of service and would die serving my people.”

Living a life of service, he confesses, has earned him more awards than he could ever dream of, including a chieftaincy title.

”I bagged the chieftaincy title of Obong Uforo Obio Offot Ukwa, but, being an elder in the church, I requested a certificate and there was nothing like traditional rites that were performed. Any leader must not believe in rewards after rendering service to his people,” he says.

”Maybe I took after my father who was a businessman and politician. He was a member of NPP, and NPN. My father was not very educated but was a shrewd businessman, who was into transportation business; and while growing older, he set up a driving school. He had nine of us and we are from the same mother. He taught me a life of service and I was his favourite son.”

Did his father‘s name earn him a place in the ladder of success? ”Not at all,” he replies. ”I would refer to him as a local champion who was able to send me to school. I was at the Holy Trinity College, Mbiakong, Uruan, Jubilee School, Aka Offot, Uyo and the University of Calabar.

“I would not classify myself as one of the sons of the rich and famous, who climbed the ladder of success with their father‘s name.

“We were like any comfortable family, but God‘s grace located me. In fact, I am a role model to my people.

“I was the first youngest local government chairman from my area, the youngest person to come to the senate because I was 39 when I became a senator.

‘Now, some youth would say that if Akpanudoedehe can do it, I can. This is because I don‘t have a pedigree that my father‘s name could get me a position.

“I am the person from my set in primary, secondary and university to come this far and I thank God, who has made me an inspiration to a lot of people.

“Being a leader I always say, if you do anything inhuman, one day you would live to face your past deeds and you would give account to God and man.”

A graduate of sociology and anthropology, Akpanudoedehe also bagged a master‘s in Sociology of Development.

”Apart from seminars and other courses I attended after I had grown up, all my life, educational and political attainments were in Uyo.

”To me, Uyo would always be a city and we all enjoyed our lives. I was the third child and my father loved me to pieces.

”I was born on November 10, 1960 and, during the war, my father took me, ran away with me, and abandoned others. He was so emotional about me that I still can‘t explain this. We related like friends and there were times he would stare at me for a long time and cry.

”Though dead now, his memories linger in my mind. Then, if he was transacting business with anyone, he would always mention, ‘Wait for my son to come,”.

Now, as Minister of State, FCT, he is passionate about the development in the satellite towns. Akpanudoedehe is becoming known for demolishing illegal structures and has a craving for effective grass roots governance, especially in the six area councils of the capital city.

“Our demolition is not harsh and we make sure there is an implementation of the rule of law,” he notes. ”Though we tread carefully, we are determined to rid Abuja of shanties because there are some people who are bent on living in Abuja and erecting structures that are not suitable for even animals.

”How can you put a whole family in a shanty made of wood? Some are even constructed with grass! We are still pulling down structures and already, we have made plans for accommodation for low income earners in the satellite towns.

”The Satellite Towns Development Agency is doing a fantastic work in Karshi Kubwa and Bwari. It is only in the FCT that you see local government administrations constructing asphalt roads and executing other multi-million naira projects, all of which bring government closer to the masses of our country.

“They have also shown that those who desire to live in satellite towns rather than Abuja City can enjoy the same level of infrastructure as those in the city, and what we can do is to invite those who could not buy FGN houses in the just-concluded house sale to bring their money and partner with us in building new houses for them.”

Highlighting the challenges of his office, he says, ”It has been that of funding. The last administration funded it from the Ecological Fund, but the President (Yar‘Adua) has directed that we should source funding from our Statutory Allocation for these projects.

”Already, we have invited the private sector and that would help in developing Abuja satellite towns to what obtains in the city centres. During my familiarisation tours, I tendered apologies to residents of the rural communities over the poor state of rural roads which was neglected by previous administrations. Our rural roads are shockingly poor, and enough was not done in this direction.

”The real Abuja is the rural communities and during a tour with the first lady, we got to a place where people were moving about naked! In fact the first lady burst into tears. Really, I want to see rural dwellers in Bwari, Abaji, Kubwa, Gwagwalada, Karshi and a host of others, have primary healthcare, good and well equipped hospitals and living well like city dwellers.

”That Abuja would be a model city also boils down to those who live in the satellite areas. That we are demolishing houses is administrative work for Abuja to retain its master plan and we would achieve that but with a human face.”

Akpanudoedehe is married with seven children to a woman he describes as “my mother, my friend and my companion.” Recalling with enthusiasm how they met, the bulky senator says, “I met her in Uyo. She was working at the High Court of Justice and her blue eyes attracted me. She is from Ikot Ekpene and immediately I saw her, I knew my destiny was tied to hers. We have been married for 20 years and we are unique. She submits and I do the loving. I think I am enjoying God‘s grace in our marriage.”

What about other women, who would eye him due to his position and power? He says, ”First, I am a Christian and I believe in deliverance. There are two types of women-normal and strange. Just as some looked for the military when they were in power, politicians are their target now. I think it is not even limited to politicians alone.

”To resist these women, you need to be delivered of a spirit called sexual possession spirit, which is like a fertiliser and can embarrass you anytime. Except that, you can‘t be disciplined because whenever you see a woman, you would not respect her but think of sex first.

”Fortunately for me, my family is around and I spend a lot of time with them, play my squash and no woman matters except my wife.”

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Comments (3)

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown