Senator Ita Enang
By Akpan David, Calabar
The Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang has said that he has been a chief lobbyist for the administration.
He said he played that role prominently during the first term of Buhari when he served as the special to the president on legislative matters.
Ita Enang spoke in Calabar as a guest speaker when the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) held a 3-day workshop on Lobbying and Social Change In Nigeria.
“When Bukola Saraki was Senate President, we had a herculean task, a lot of persuasion and lobbying to do to get executive policies across. The burden was much on me. I therefore became the chief lobbyist for the government.
“Presently, I am still doing the lobbying for government. Lobbying is should not be seen from the negative perspective.
“Lobbying should a major function of government officials.”
He urged the NIPR to continue to lobby all stakeholders in order for them to see that lobbying is institutionalised and made a professional course in school.
However, Governor Ben Ayade who attended the event in person wondered if lobbying would not be seen as corruption since there is a thin line between both.
“The use of money to influence a decision is corruption. So, how you deal with a situation where you are advocating – lobbying – without necessarily bringing out the essential elements that brings the poison (corruption) that comes with it is vital.”
He urged, “there must be structural and normative framework that will guide the regulation of the practice of lobbying as a profession. Until that dissection is done, you will simply be marketing corruption.”