365 Days in Office - Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Eteng Williams, Redefining the Legislative Narrative in Cross River State



It is exactly one year today that fate beckoned on Rt Hon Eteng Jonah Williams when members of the Cross River State House of Assembly on the 11th day of June, 2019, unanimously elected him to occupy the exalted position as Speaker of the 9th Assembly.

His election as Speaker was greeted with great excitement from people of all walks of life considering his enormous legislative experience, competence and capacity.

Immediately he came on board, he announced his readiness to operate an open door policy and began to identify himself with all stakeholders that can make governance work for the progress of the state.

He emphasized the importance of oversight functions to members and made same a priority. This was demonstrated through the numerous tours embarked upon by the House Committees to government projects across the state, visits to MDA’s and  private companies operating within the state.

Rt Hon Eteng Jonah Williams came on board with leadership of simplicity, meekness, humility and above all hard work that has propelled the legislative arm in the state to enact laws for the overall development of the people. A year down the line, with support of his colleagues, he has achieved more than his expectations.

Within 365 days, the 9th Assembly has received and considered no fewer than 20 Bills, including the 2020 Appropriation Law, which was signed into law on the 31st of December, 2019 despite the challenges of time.

Another milestone recorded by the 9th assembly under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams was the passage into law a Bill for a law to make provision for the establishment of the Cross River State House of Assembly Service Commission.
Recalling that several attempts were made in the past assemblies to pass the bill into law but all to no avail.

Occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, the House has also passed a bill for a Law to make provisions for the prevention, and control of Coronavirus and other dangerous infectious diseases; establish a Trust Fund for Coronavirus and any other disease that may be of an epidemic or pandemic in nature in Cross River State and for other matters connected therewith.

This law was assented to by the Governor on the 9th Day of April, 2020.

There is no doubt that the house led by the speaker has identified the need to ensure people oriented legislation and hence it brings the human side to every legislation proposed.

The screening and approval of state officers which includes the Acting-Chief Judge of the state, Honourable Commissioners, members of statutory boards, commissions and agencies by the House have contributed in no small measure in the management of the state and cannot be left out.

Under his leadership, support and cooperation, the state has successfully conducted local government elections and sworn-in 18 council chairman and councilors across our local government areas bringing the third tier of government closer to the grassroots.

There is no gainsaying that the smooth cordial working relationship with other arms of Government is a deliberate effort of Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams to create a rancor-free atmosphere that will encourage steady growth in all sectors in the State.

In his words, ‘we are not elected to be engaging in physical combat but rather we are elected to represent our people in lobbying for their well-being for the progress of all. We will continue to engage and lobby when necessary for the  people’

However, it is also good to note that under his leadership the welfare of the members has greatly attracted enhanced attention as that has further boosted the productivity of the assembly in moving motions with resolutions passed promptly.

In his personal capacity, the Speaker has been able to secure benefitting jobs for more than 15 persons within and outside of his constituency at both state and national level aside the fact that he has influenced over 20 political appointments in his constituency and beyond.

As a promised keeper, he has facilitated the completion of a 6-classroom block with toilets in Agoi-Ibami in Yakurr local government area. This is a laudable feat within one year.

He has also identified and made himself available to the people during their trying moments as well as celebrated with them during their happy moments which has earned him the moniker ‘the people’s speaker’

In just one year, Rt Hon. Eteng Jonah has been able to distinguish himself as a dependable leader who has endeared himself not only to the members of the 9th Assembly but also the staff of the assembly, political associates, his constituents, and above all the entire state and the country at large.

Going forward, the Speaker has reiterated  his commitment to continue to provide purposeful leadership for the legislative arm of government in the state, urging the people to continue to cooperate and support the vision and administration of His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade as that will enable him perform beyond expectations.

Hope Obeten is the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Cross River House State House of Assembly

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