By Hope Obeten
As we celebrate the first 100 days in office of our Distinguished Senator Eteng Jonah Williams, Senator Representing Cross River Central Senatorial District, it is clear from the beginning that his tenure will be marked by a profound dedication to the welfare of the people and an unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in the Central Senatorial District.
Shortly after the inauguration of the 10th Senate on June 13, Senator Williams hit the ground running in the red chambers manifesting his over 12 years of legislative experience. This conferred on him the status of a ranking senator with the attendant gains.
Senator Williams released a 10-point strategic Legislative Agenda for the growth and development of Cross River Central Senatorial District. The agenda covers the following areas:
1.) Quality Representation and Oversights
2.) Presentation of bills and motions to address social issues in Cross River Central Senatorial District
3.) Town hall/Stakeholders Engagement
4.) Facilitate Constituency Projects
5.) Facilitate Employment Opportunities
6.) Alternative Communal Conflict Resolution –
7.) Scholarships and Education grants
8.) Vulnerable and Persons with Disabilities
9.) Human Capacity Development (Entrepreneurship and Empowerment)
10.) Health Care Intervention
For Senator Williams, his representation has been constituents and pro-masses driven. Hence the unfettered access he grants to people from Central Senatorial District and beyond; the old, young, rich, and poor; without recourse to partisan considerations.
Even with the annual recess embarked upon by the parliament on August 7, his office has been active, five days a week (Mondays – Fridays), performing official engagements. During the period, he met with some of the Heads of Agencies under his committee, civil society/pressure, and party leaders, among others.
As a ranking Senator in the 10th Senate, he was graciously appointed into two very outstanding committees in the National Assembly by the President of the 10th Senate, His Excellency, Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON. Senator Williams is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream and Vice Chairman, Senate Services. He is also a member of several committees.
His engagements on the floor of the Senate have been robust and remarkable. Notable was lending his voice to support a motion moved by his colleague, Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong on the deplorable state of some federal roads in Cross River State.
Senator Williams emphasised his deep worries that the current state of the Calabar – Oban – Ekang Road which is a major link between Cross River State and Cameroon as well as a commercial gateway has completely become non-motorable, thus painting an unsavoury picture of Nigeria as the giant of Africa.
He also contributed to the debate on the need to investigate the controversial Makeup Gas (MuG) reprocessing deal involving the Federal Ministry of Finance, NIger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Calabar Generation Company Limited and ACUGAS Ltd.
Together with his team, Senator Williams has drafted over 5 people-oriented bills ready for presentation on the floor of the Senate after the recess period.
Development has been a focal point and one of his major campaign promises. Hence, he has actively engaged with stakeholders at the ward level, working side by side with them on projects that will address their special needs.
In the last 100 days, we have also seen him working assiduously to lobby for the inclusion of constituency projects in the budget through collaboration with the leadership of the National Assembly as well as Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of government.
On interventions, Senator Williams donated relief material to victims of a fire incident that occurred in a 48-room and parlour apartment located at Obudu Road, 4 Corners in Ikom Local Government Area.
Recognising the need to empower women and youth, within 100 days, Senator Williams organised a 2-day empowerment programme. The training focused on Entrepreneurship Skills, Sensitisation on Domestic Violence, and Agro-economy as a tool for self-reliance, with over 500 participants drawn from 66 wards cutting across the 6 Local Government Areas of Central Senatorial District in Cross River State. Apart from the knowledge gained and issuance of certificates each of the participants received a training grant.
The high point of the first 100 days in office was the resounding victory at the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar which affirmed Senator Williams as the lawful winner of the February 25, 2023, Senatorial election in Cross River Central Senatorial District.
Despite the distraction, his achievements in the first 100 days in office serve as a testament to his vision, leadership, and tireless efforts. Let us celebrate these early achievements and look forward with optimism to the promising journey ahead!
Hope Obeten (ANIPR),
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Senator Representing Cross River Central Senatorial District