“It is the man that makes the office and not the office that makes the man”. Aluu Vincent (2021) By Deacon Aluu Vincent Tuesday December 22, 2020 was the date and the venue was Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Empowerment Centre, No 3 Barracks road, besides Divisional Police station Ukanafun. Seated to witness the mother of all empowerment and commissioning of projects were more than 7000 drawn from across the state. The people especially beneficiaries of the empowerment, never believed that anything good can come out from government and that a lawmaker from Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency would have the impetus and audacity to attempt empowering 1000 people in 26 different skills at once. This is given the fact that the Federal Constituency had prior to this time experienced near absence of representation at the federal level. The area was hit by lethargic representation between 2011 to 2019. They trusted God for a leader who would hear their cry, cry their cry, be their shoulder and help them to find their feet in life. God answered that prayer and sent Rep. Unyime Idem, one of Nigeria’s most celebrated Telecoms Dealer, to the rescue. The coming of Rep. Unyime Idem has since changed the narrative. The testimony around is that the people have not had it this good to have a Lawmaker who is accessible, attending social functions on a weekly basis, pick their calls, and came back with basket full of life touching projects and empowerment for 1000 persons. Rep. Idem left no one in doubt that he was going to make a difference. He immediately declared plans to lift 5000 youths out of poverty through skills acquisition and empowerment. On December 22, 2020, Rep. Idem stunned nay-sayers by commissioning 1000-seater capacity state of the art empowerment center, one in Ukanafun and another in Oruk Anam as part of his larger vision to raise the next generation of business leaders. He also commissioned 1000-seater capacity agricultural skills acquisition centre to help in boosting agriculture in Akwa Ibom state. He sponsored the establishment of four E-learning centres in schools each fully equipped with 40 computer sets, full complement of VSAT internet, and other e-resources at Community High School, Usung Atiat, Ukanafun LGA; Afaha High School, Ikot Udombang, Ukanafun LGA; Community Secondary School, Urua Ekpaenang, Ukanafun LGA; and Community Secondary School, Mbiakot Oruk Anam LGA. The idea is to digitise education at the grassroots, make education fun, easy and train school children for the future. 16 more E-learning centers are being awaited. Other projects Rep Idem attracted includes 12 Classroom Block with VIP Toilet at Community High School, Usung Atiat, Ukanafun LGA; 6 Classroom Block with VIP Toilet at Government Secondary School, Ikot Oku Usung, Ukanafun LGA; 6 Classroom Block with VIP Toilet at Skills Acquisition Centre Ikot Udo Obobo, Ukanafun LGA; Community Civic Centre, Usung Atiat, Ukanafun LGA; Solar-powered Water Scheme, Usung Atiat, Ukanafun LGA; 2 Bedroom Bungalow for a Widow, Ikot Udo Obobo, Ukanafun LGA and 6 Classroom Block with VIP Toilet at Government Model Secondary School, Obio Okpa, Oruk Anam LGA. More surprises were in the offing as the Usung Atiat-born Lawmaker lined up 1000 youths and empowered them with skills and tools in 26 different life enhancing skills. The people could not believe that this would happen given ugly experiences they have had in the past. Even when the items were on display, they concluded that they were all for window dressing. Apart from free training offered to 500 youths, a total of 5 cars, 5 buses, 85 motor bikes, 100 sewing machines, 100 welding machines, 100 hair dressing kits, 100 barbing saloon kits were given out. Also, more than 500 constituents went home with various sums of money as business support, rappers and other empowerment starter-packs. Rep. Idem has made a commitment that the remaining 4,000 beneficiaries will be empowered as follows – 1500 in December 2021, 1500 in December 2022 and 1000 in December 2023. Rep. Idem maintains that education for just certificate cannot solve the problem of unemployment and youth restiveness presently ravaging the country. He says the answer lies squarely in skills acquisition; that is teaching the youths how to fish, how to become self-reliant, how to create wealth and jobs. Mahatma Gandhi had Idem in mind when he said, “the measure of a man’s greatness is not in the number of servants he has but in the number of people he serves”. Stakeholders and beneficiaries have variously taken turns at several fora to pour encomiums on Rep. Unyime Idem stating that it was indeed the first time in the history of the Federal Constituency to witness such a harvest of human centered projects and mother of empowerment within 18 months. They also commended the capacity and competence of Idem whom as a first timer, has proven that government can indeed work depending on who is occupying the leadership seat. This of course tallies with the notion that it is the man that makes the office and not the office that makes the man. One of the beneficiaries from Oruk Anam Ward 11 by name Saturday Ufot Udoekpo said, “It pleases me as one of your empowerment beneficiaries to express my heartfelt joy to your gesture of goodwill. Your sewing machine has increased my work ability and efficiency. My thanks might not be enough but I pray God should reward you” A beneficiary of 2005 Toyota Camry, Prince Ikpongifono Udom from Oruk Anam said, “Thank you Rep. Idem for being there for me at all times. In a critical time like this where prices of thigs are skyrocketing, you brought an admirable and a choice car for me. I am happy; my wife is happy and my children are joyous. God bless Rep. Idem, protect, guide him and I wish him heaven at last” Also Ndifreke Otu, another beneficiary said, “In the history of Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency, we have never had a good representation as witnessed in the era of Rep. Unyime Idem. You came with a campaign promise to massively empower the youths. True to it, you surpassed that promise. We have never had it this good. The popular maxim, “build the youths, build the nation” has found true and realistic meaning. Indeed, you are a nation builder” Obong (Elder) Eno Akpan, former Member House of Representatives and the Political Leader of Ukanafun LGA said “Hon. Unyime Idem is a man of destiny. He has a humble background and is God fearing. He represents an embodiment of persons the youths should emulate. He was not born with silver spoon in his mouth. He has gone ahead to create and place silver spoons in the mouth of many. He has created wealth for many and put food on the tables of many. ” Chief Senas Ukpanah, MFR, a retired Permanent Secretary, former Minister of Trade and National Planning said, “There are three things I always say about Unyime Idem. He is from a humble background. He developed himself and emerged as an entrepreneur. He has three things going for him. Competence, Capacity and Character. I was privileged to accompany him when he was consulting to become member House of Representatives. He has displayed rare kind of attitude and has remained positive to the things of life”. Rt. Hon. Obong Soni Udom, Former Member representing Oruk Anam Federal Constituency added, “We prevailed on Unyime Idem to accept to be our representative because we knew he will make a great difference using his national and international contacts. We needed a man of his calibre; a man of impeccable mien, capacity and competence. He is a man with knack for excellence. we needed someone with the capacity, character and competence to fill the leadership gap and wilderness experience we tasted for 8 years. To God be the glory he has not disappointed us. He has been phenomenal in the last one and half year. To me, we have no regret voting for him”. Chief Sunny Okoko, a former member of representing Oruk Anam at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and the pioneer Director General of Rep. Unyime Idem’s Campaign Organisation in 2019 said “Hon. Unyime Idem is a good man with so much prospect in Akwa Ibom politics few years from now. He is a humble and honest fellow with a heart for service; a heart determined to make a difference; a heart that believes in the greatest good for the greater number of people. The determination of Rep. Idem to impact his generation, contribute to society, serve his people and humanity is anchored on the notion that “Only a life lived for the service of others is a life well lived; and that, the ultimate test of a man’s conscience is his willingness to sacrifice something today for the future generation whose words of thanks will not be heard”. He is indeed living true to his name IDEMS – Inspire, Develop, Empower, Motivate and Support. Deacon Aluu Vincent – Ubokutomabasi Kiet of Akwa Ibom State, the Publisher of Naija Eye Witness News and Legacy Magazine, writes from Uyo Akwa Ibom State.