Akwa Ibom governor sacks cabinet

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Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state sacked his cabinet at the weekend.

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This was contained in a statement issued in Uyo on Saturday by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Etekamba Umoren.

Umoren directed Permanent Secretaries to take over from the commissioners pending formation of a new cabinet.

According to the statement, the governor expressed gratitude to the outgoing cabinet members for their services to the state.

Majority of the outgoing commissioners had been in the state executive council since 2007, when Senator Godswill Akpabio was governor.

No reason was given for the sack.

Those sacked are Mr Uwemedimo Nwoko, Attorney-General/Commissioner for Justice; Mr Akan Okon, Commissioner for Finance, and Dr Mathew Ekaette, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Others are Mr Ephraim Inyang-eyen, Commissioner for Works; Prince Godwin Ntukude,  Transport; Aniekan Akpan, Education; Dr Dominic Ukpong, Health, Uwem Ita Etuk, Lands/Town Planning; and Mr Enobong Uwah, Housing and Urban Renewal.

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Also affected in the dissolution order are Dr Iniobong Essien, Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources; Mr Aniekan Umanah, Information and Communications; Victor Antai, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; Emmanuel Enoidem, Investment, Commerce and Industry; Ekong Sampson, Rural Development, and Dr Emmanuel Ating Onwioduokit, Economic Planning and Development.

The other affected cabinet members were Dr Elizabeth Obot, Commissioner for Science and Technology; Otuekong Udo-Ibiok, Culture and Tourism; Dr Glory Edet, Women Affairs and Social Welfare; Monday Uko, Youths and Sports, and Etido Inyang, Special Duties.

Meanwhile the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the dissolution as an exercise long overdue.

Reacting to the development, the state chapter of the APC, through its Publicity Secretary, Chief Ita Awak, admitted to  Daily Sun “the dissolution is the exclusive prerogative of the governor, however, this is clearly six months overdue.

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“If you may recall, when Emmanuel populated his first executive council with more than 70 percent of people who were in Akpabio’s administration, there was deep disappointment because our people saw alarming proof of stranglehold on governor Emmanuel and his new government.

“For the sake of Akwa Ibom people, it is hoped that Emmanuel will henceforth run an accountable, transparent and honest government. It is our hope that the governor will find the wisdom to appoint a Finance commissioner who will, quarterly, tell Akwa Ibom people how government is spending our commonwealth; an Information commissioner who will not peddle falsehood and engage in the shameless release of serial lies; commissioners whose children would be in public schools government claims is enjoying qualitative and free education.

“All said, it is from the composition of the next cabinet that it will be clear if government has turned a new leaf,” Awak said.

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But,  former chairman of Labour Party in the state, Mr Etim Stern said it would not be out of place for the new cabinet to have some members of the opposition parties when constituted.

“As it stands, everything boils down to PDP arrangement because the government does not recognise any opposition…”

The governor is PDP. So it does not recognise any other party apart from PDP. The governor is supposed to co-opt members of other political parties into his government, because the way he is doing it; it is like he hates opposition. When constituting the next cabinet, it would be a welcome development if he can recognize the opposition,” Stern said.

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