AKWA IBOM STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PARTNERS ECEWS ON POVERTY REDUCTION AND CAPACITY BUILDING
The Hon. Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, has recently acquiesced to partner ECEWS in tackling issues of healthcare, education and poverty in Akwa Ibom and Nigeria as well as serve as the organization’s Goodwill Ambassador.
The Executive Director of the organization, Mr. Andy Eyo made the request on 4/4/16 when he led members of ECEWS team on an advocacy visit to the Speaker in the VIP wing of the assembly complex.
In his words Eyo said; “Because the right Honourable Speaker has been a great friend, and not only that, he has been a great friend of the poor, he has been a great friend of education, he is a man that seeks education, He is a man that seeks healthcare.
We are here going to request that on behalf of the board and the Directors of ECEWS, we are imploring on the Speaker to become the ECEWS Goodwill Ambassador, we are going to bestow that on him today so that he can be a voice for our effort in ensuring access to quality health care and the empowerment of women and children in AkwaIbom state and Nigeria. We congratulate him especially on sponsoring the bill on reducing stigma and discrimination against PLHIV in Akwa Ibom state; of which he played a significant role. Mr. Speaker was able to work through that bill when he was a member and you can imagine what he will do now that he is the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.”
While making public the organization’s commitment in tackling issues of healthcare, education and poverty in Nigeria and achievements thus far; which were possible as a result of partnerships with local and international partners, Mr. Eyo expressed ECEWS’ desire to partner with the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in these areas.
“We want to see more quality in education system, so we are going to work closely with the Speaker to see how we can enhance this in our State…we appeal to the House of Assembly and Akwa Ibom State Government to vote more money in healthcare…following United States decision to reduce expenditure in healthcare, that means a lot of our people living with HIV may not have access to healthcare if we do not step up efforts as a people to help our own…we would like to partner with the Speaker/Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to build capacity for the legislators, we are looking at strategic planning in partnership with our partner in the us, Global Policy Solutions. We think we can work closely to make our assembly more result-focused.” He said.
Responding, the Speaker thanked ECEWS for finding him worthy to be the ECEWS Goodwill Ambassador and pledged his readiness and the preparedness of the House of Assembly to partner the organization in its avowed determination to achieve a better society for all.
While acknowledging the role played by ECEWS, a core community service provider in the area of health care, education and poverty reduction, Rt. Hon Luke called for concerted effort in the fight against these scourges.
He commended the organization for being in the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS, and assured that the bill against stigmatization of persons living with HIV/AIDS which he co-sponsored in the 5th assembly as a House member with Rt. Hon. Friday Iwok, will be passed in the 6th assembly.
“As a Student Union leader, we were given grants by the then State Action Committee on Aids (SACA) to fight HIV/AIDS among students and we could not be given access to that grant except we got trained and the task of training us fell on ECEWS…the lessons learned then helped me to be able to ask questions when I was presented with the challenges that militate against our fight against HIV…your work has produced results…we promise as a house that we are going to partner with you to get it done.” He said
Also on the ECEWS delegation were, the Secretary of the Board of Directors/Business Official, Mrs. Uduak Akai, Director of Programmes, Asukwo Etuk, Head of Administration and Human Resources, Modo Austin, Compliance Manager, Iniobong Udiong, Lab. System Strengthening Advisor, Olumide Okunoye, IT & Procurement Manager, Samuel Benson and Programme Associate, communication, Ekom Umoh.