Two years after the celebrated visionary leader of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew left office, he granted an interview to journalists where he admitted that the swiftness in which he began the tasking job of transforming from a third world to a first world nation was possible because he had prepared a template for the actions he hopes to take once he gets into office.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s had argued that it is wrong for any leader to go into public service without being armed with a template which clearly spells out the areas he hope to make a difference and how he intends to go about this task.
It is therefore not surprising to discover that a highly celebrated son of Itu L.G.A and a believer in Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s approach to development Barr Etetim Onuk, who has indicated interest to serve the good people of Itu Local Government has already drawn up a template which he is sure will help him make positive impacts in collaborative leadership with the people of Itu.
Barr Onuk’s opens the template which outlines the people-oriented agenda he hopes to achieve when he gets the mandate of Itu people as the chairman with the following words: " To proof that Government can work even at the Local Government Level".
For Barr Onuk, the most rewarding aspect of development is that which has the propensity to positively impact on the economic wellbeing of the citizenry, this could have informed his decision to make attracting cottage industries to Itu one of the cardinal points in the development agenda he has for the Local Government area.
To achieve this, Barr Onuk clearly points out his template for development of Itu that he hopes to work in league with the Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration to attract private investors whose products depend on some of the abundant natural resources found in larger quantities in Itu Local Government.
He hold the strong conviction that the abundant reserve of limestone, clay, salt, which Itu Local Government is blessed could serve as a strong attraction for investors and he hopes to open up conversation with multinational companies who have need for these resources to think of moving in to the area to harness them for manufacturing purposes.
And since one of the facets of economic emancipation involves the emancipation of the women and the youths, Barr Onuk’s template of development for the people of Itu has a robust programme that will advance this cause. In the template, the renown legal practitioner clearly vows to take deliberate and sustained steps in ensuring that initiatives and programmes that will cushion the economic strain in the lives of these two important segment of Itu people are introduced. He hopes to achieve this by first setting up a Bureau of youth empowerment which will provide the data on areas of need and viable initiative that will address these specific needs, for the government to work with. In that template, one of the approaches Barr Onuk hopes to fill this gap is to encourage the formation of Multipurpose Cooperative Societies through which government can make provisions of credit facilities for members. These credit facilities which could be Micro or Micro would cover the attractive areas of fish farming/fishing, livestock production, cassava and plantain farming.
A native of Ikot Annie Itam in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, Barr Onuk was born 52 years ago, into the family of the late revered clergyman, the Very Rev. E. A. Onuk .
He started his educational pursuit at East Itam Presbyterian Primary School and at completion in 1973 proceeded to the prestigious Itam Secondary School Itam in Itu Local Government Area where he obtained his West African School Certificate(WASC).
In 1981, he gained admission into the defunct Cross River School of Basic Studies, Akamkpa and obtained his Interim Joint Matriculation Board Education (IJMB)Certificate, Advanced Level; after which he secured admission into the University Of Calabar to study Law and bagged a Bachelor of Law Degree LLB(Hons)in 1988.
Still in 1988 after his graduation, he moved to the Nigerian Law School at Victoria Island in Lagos State, for the compulsory one year studies and was awarded a Barrister-at-law Certificate, and afterwards called to Bar as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1990.
After his call to Bar in 1990, he worked as a junior counsel in the Chambers of William Uruetso & Associate, Lagos. He thereafter set up a Law Firm - Onuk & Ibom Associate in Uyo where he is currently working as the Principal Partner and Head of Chambers.
The Itu born politician has not only been a successful Legal Practitioner of over 25 years in active legal practice, he is the CEO/MD of one of the fast-growing private guard companies in the country with over 420 staff strength, providing security services to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in charge of Bayelsa Delta States. He has also provided security services to about 46 State Government owned Hospitals; Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) as well as other blue-chip companies/ well meaning individuals within and outside the State.
Married to a beautiful wife and with 5 lovely children, the chairmanship hopeful is a committed and devoted member of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria and has served God in the Church in different capacities. He was an Assistant Board Clerk with Yaba Presbyterian Church Lagos, and currently the Board Clerk of Uyo Parish. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Uyo branch, serving as a Legal Adviser to many conglomerates within Akwa Ibom and beyond.
With the aboveground sterling quality and intimidating profile, one could safely say that the people of Itu are so lucky to have this God-sent Messiah who would bring his wealth of experience to bear in positively harnessing and exploring the resources of the area for the overall growth and development of the area.
His Mission into the race for the chairmanship position in Itu Local Government is profound and is clearly captured in the following words " To maintain an heritage of accomplishment, selfless service, integrity and total commitment to the development of Itu LGA through council's efforts, Federal and State government involvement, public/private sector partnership and viable synergy with other illustrious sons and daughters of Itu with the sole aim of positioning it as one of the developed LGA in Nigeria".
For the people of Itu, this year will go down in the books of history as a defining moment in their lives. It is the year they will always remember with a sense of gratitude should they collectively decide to entrust Barr, Etetim Onuk with the huge responsibility of leading them as Executive chairman by November this year.* Michael Etok, a public affairs analyst and social critic wrote in from Mbak Atai, in Itu