SERVICE TO HUMANITY DROVE ME INTO POLITICS – HON. MARK ESSET
By:LUCKY KENEDY OSE
Rt. Hon. Mark Esset belongs to a rare class of pragmatic gentlemen who have sweetly blended individual success with service and excellence.Mark was born on the 21st of August, 1972 to the family of Pastor & Mrs. Udo Okon Esset of Ibakang Nsit Village in Nsit Atai Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. A family where service to humanity and good nurturing remains an entrenched family credo and value. He grew through the elementary and secondary stages of education attending Government Primary School, Uya Oro, Oron Local Government Area, where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC), he had a very brief stint at the Methodist Senior Science College, Oron, before he proceeded to the prestigious Federal Government College, Ikot Ekpene were he acquired his West African Examination Council (WAEC) Certificate. Mark Esset bagged a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) Degree in Business Education and a Masters Degree(M.Sc) in Public Administration, both from the University of Calabar, Calabar. Vested with the deep academic knowledge of Business Management, Rt. Hon. Mark Esset ventured into Petroleum Marketing Business. His due diligence, effective service delivery, proficiency and core competency to business enhanced his meteoric rise to the position of the M/D of EM-SSET NIG. LTD – A Petroleum Marketing Consortium (a position he had to relinquish because of his desire to serve his people effectively)
Nassnews: Can we meet you for the for the sake of readers.
Hon. Mark Esset: Yeah, my name is Honorable Mark Esset. I am representing the good people of Nsit Atai State Constituency; I am a PDP member.
Nassnews: so let’s go into your background, how did you go get this far?
Hon. Mark Esset: God has brought me this far growing up. It was good, you know, life is all full of challenges. I wouldn’t say I was born with a silver spoon, but I thank God I was into a good parentage brought up and continued from primary school to secondary school. I had opportunity to attend a Unity School then and University of Calabar, one of the prestigious universities where I backed my first degree and my master’s degree in Public policy administration. And I have Since then venture into private sector. Been in the private sector for years until 2013 when I was first appointed as a transition chairman in my state, my local government. Since that government, I resigned six months after and contested for the elected chairmanship by Gods Grace, I won from 2013 to 2015. After that I contested for the House of Assembly in my state to represent my constituency, which I won and I have done it two times from 2015 to 2023, I did the first time and the second time from 2023. I took a shot at the national level, contested for the House of Representatives to represent my federal constituency and that by God’s grace the election was favorable and probably this way. I would not say I am a new person in my past experience of eight years, the difference is the name, the number of constituents represented. But the setting, the structure is the same everywhere. So putting the experience from the state Assembly for eight years, that is what is helping me at least to fit in here very fast and settled down for legislative business.
Nassnews: How did you come into politics and what were you doing before you came into Politics?
Hon. Mark Esset: my participation in politics have been from school, from my university days. I have been actively involved in student politics, serve in the student union, then president in my local government student union. I have been a parliamentarian in the school, University of Calabar student parliament, as a parliamentarian I represented my faculty and I came out as a businessman. I have been into oil and gas. I have been into trading. So for a long time before I venture into politics by profession I am a businessman. I think by birth I am a politician. So that index talent and drivers has always been there and that was what motivated me. And having this passion to help change the story and the conditions of people you know, as a private person, there is a limit of what you can do, but given the government backing, you can do more so. That was a major thing. Service to humanity was a major thing that drove my passion entering into politics.
Nassnews: can we compare the business world with the political world?
Hon. Mark Esset: Yeah, the business world has its own challenges and the political world has its own challenges. But the difference is that in business world, your challenges lies with you and the successes of your business. But in political world, wow is terrible. You don’t have a life of your own. There’s always 1000 interpretations to everything that comes, every steps you take, every statement you make demands an expectation. As a private man, the 50,000 naira you have is a big money for you and your family, but as a Public servant, a politician, 1,000,000 naira you have cannot take you anywhere, If you are not careful, you can’t even take up to 10,000 naira. But to me the 50,000 naira I make as a businessman has value than the 1,000,000 naira I make as a politician. Because at the end of the service to humanity, people will come with all manner of demands, requests, school fees, health challenges, accommodation. I mean hunger, not eating since morning, unless you don’t have your man heart that you will not help. So it is very challenging.
Nassnews: let us look into the tenth assembly, you people have hit the ground?
Hon. Mark Esset: The 10th assembly led by Rt. Honorable Dr. Taudeen Abbas, I will say, so far it’s been very wonderful. In fact, if you come in, you will not. You would not know which one is party A, B or C because of the leadership processes hes been able to exhibit. That was why some of us who studied him got his backing prior to his election through our support behind him, because he is a man that sees his position as a privileged position sitting as a presiding officer, he regards everyone, gives every member equal opportunities. A man who is down to heart, when you talk of humility personified, you see in him and there is nothing that a leader needs to succeed than been in touch with another. So that is why so far so good I can beat my chest and see the people are over overwhelming for the first time in the history of the National Assembly than our records. For a sitting speaker to receive such an overwhelming support and goodwill is the first in the history of national Assembly. I can see when the committees were announced people laughing and exchanging pleasantry to the end of the show. The federal government so far, looking at it as a party man you will see that since the APC government came into power, the dollar exchange rate has risen, 700 naira to a dollar and before you say one thing it has turned to 865 naira to a dollar.
When I was discussing with someone on the matter, I said before the year ends it will get up to 1000 naira per dollar. These are some of the indices we used in scouring the performance of the government. The unemployment rate has drastically increased, the poverty rate has increased. The fuel was selling at 479 and over a month you can see the geometrical progression it has attained 617 naira per liter. This is the policy to me should be well packaged, well branded at the name of production. This is my opinion. What are you when you say you want to pay 8500 to who, who are you paying it to, Is it per house? Is it per Head of every Nigerian, tell me the correct population figure that this government can say this is the total number of persons. It doesn’t exist. How are you going to pay this moment? So it is corruption.
What Nigerian needs now is for you to bring up cottage industries where they need to be employed in various LGs, provide social amenities, let there be steady power supply. The young man in my village will be able to open the barbing saloon but can’t afford electricity cost. And if I can afford to buy a clipper, 10,000 naira with the middle of 5000 and open the saloon. But when electricity is not in place he will go and buy a generator of over 30 thousand naira, 100,000 naira, the case may be when will he have such money, he will be back to square. What we need is the provision of the infrastructures. Don’t give me fish, but teach me how to fish. Maybe 8000 naira today what happens tomorrow? How, how? How far can 8000 naira take someone to how many days? What are you going to buy with such money? Now a cup of rice is how much? What is the transportation cost? So to me the federal government should channel whatever changes of naira are available due to the overall subsidy to the promotion of infrastructures. It could go a long way drastically to solve this problem of unemployment. So the first thing may not be subsidy removal because you cannot put something or nothing and you want to remove fuel subsidy. It is very laughable that a country that is the second largest producer of crude oil is importing crude oil, is implementing fraud program. To me, what the federal government would have done is to ensure the optimal functioning of those refineries before you now take out the subsidy. Very well that by the time you do that the fuel prices will even crash lower than what it was. I listened to the MD/NNPC saying it is a factor of market forces that are driving the fuel prices. I mean is it not an insult on the federal of Nigeria? Should we be talking about the market forces when we are one of the highest producer of crude oil.
Nassnews: What are your plans for your people?
Hon. Mark Esset: There’s a lot of expectations from my representation here. Now for you to go far politically performance is your watch word. So I have this at the back of my mind. I have told them. There is going to be a quarterly engagement in terms of constituency briefing, trying to call everybody together, I will begin to dish out briefing is meeting one-on-one, letting them know what you have done so far and having a feedback. So I have in my program a feedback mechanism where every quarter I brief every local government areas making up my federal constituency, going down there to meet the people because during campaign I went to them. So it is my responsibility to go back to them, tell them how far I have done, also find out what is their needs. These things I have done, how is the impact on you, is it positive? Is it negative? What do you think I would have done better and by the time I have this definitely I would be able to make sure that I represent their interests and also put in place some feedback mechanisms across all the LG A’s that at a point in time Needs my urgent attention when I cannot be reached, I have like zonal officers.What makes me successful is how many lives have been able to touch positively? Is not the billions in my bank account. That I will move around the street and I see a young boy, a young guy living in his own house and I turn around and say yes, I’m happy. I was proud to be part of the the young man becoming a landlord. I will drive along the street and someone will run to me and pass me or say yes, I am happy. I am part of the person that made this woman. I will go to workshop and see a young man doing well through my assistance. I will ensure that my constituency is brought to overcome joblessness through vocational trainings. Which was the 1st place when I moved that the Vocational institutions in Nigeria should be rehabilitated because that has brought China thus far. They don’t joke with their vocational Institutions, children from primary school are able to produce things that we Nigerians go to buy and use from primary school.
Nassnews: Your advice to Nigerians.
Hon. Mark Esset: Be patient, Be hardworking and be prayerful.