*WHY ANIEKAN UKO WAS UNANIMOUSLY ELECTED
*AKPABIO, UDOM GAME PLAN BEFORE THE INAUGURATION
*PRINCE AKPABIO’S 300 MILLION NAIRA BRIBE SCANDAL.
BY TOROBONG EKPO.
Barely, a couple of days, shortly after the emergence of Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko, as the speaker of the sixth Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, a then contender for the speakership position, Barr. Ime Bassey Okon, who also represents Ibiono Ibom State Constituency, in the hallow chamber has bared his mind on the intricacies that surrounded the emergence of the speaker, admitting that, his ambition couldn’t scale through, as a result of the popular demand of other members of the assembly.
Briefing newsmen recently in Uyo, Okon, a ranking member of the parliament, said that, the edge Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko had over other contemporaries, which paved way for his emergence, bordered on his legislative experience at the local government council and his Federal Constituency of origin.
The Ibiono Ibom Legislator, who was alleged to be the leader of the faction eight (L-8) legislatures, sponsored by the immediate past governor of the state, to become the speaker of the sixth assembly, debunked such insinuation, noting that, the ex-governor didn’t play partisan role in the emergence of the speaker of the assembly.
“The truth is that, I had interest to serve my people as the speaker of the sixth assembly, my brother, my friend and my grandson, in the person of Hon. Onofiok Luke, also had interest, off course, our party had zoned the speakership position to Uyo Senatorial District. We were both interested, but at the end of the day, it depends on who our colleagues wanted, so you don’t need to be too desperate about a position.
“At the end of the day, someone who wasn’t in the picture was picked as the speaker because of the exigencies of the time, and we were all satisfied. The important thing is that, we want the house to be stable; we wanted a house that will serve the people, not necessarily who is the speaker or deputy.
“Order 6 rule 2 sub 1 of the standing order, of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly provides to the effect that, preference shall be given to members with cognitive legislative experience. It is a parliamentarian convention all over the world, because for one to perform effectively, he must have experience.
“There was a glamour for Uyo Federal Constituency, that even though, the speakership position was zoned to Uyo Senatorial District, that within Uyo Senatorial District, you have some federal constituency, and there was glamour for sub zoning, like Itu Federal Constituency has a serving senator, Etinan Federal Constituency has a party chairman, but nothing for Uyo Federal Constituency. And there was glamour that, what is left for Uyo Senatorial District, should be given to Uyo Federal Constituency, and we had to agree, so that we can move forward.
“On the verge of who become the speaker of AKHA, there must be grouping, I don’t want to call it a faction. This group wanted Ime Okon, another wanted Onofiok Luke, while the other tipped a first timer, so it was just a buildup, not necessarily a faction.
“Senator Godswill Akpabio, cannot nominate anybody for leadership position, he does not have the right, likewise Udom. They may have their preference as individuals, but that is not to say, he is the one nominating.’ He maintained.
He revealed that, the governor of the state, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, had earlier wanted to address the legislature before the inauguration, but did not due to his official engagement in Abuja, adding that, he (Okon) was bent on supporting whoever had emerged as the speaker of the assembly.
“The governor had earlier wanted to address us before we went for inauguration, but suddenly he did not come in from Abuja. Whoever had emerged as the speaker would have gotten my support, if it was Onofiok Luke, I would have supported him, I believe, if I was the one, he would have done same.” The lawmaker reasoned.
Hon. Okon, pledged to cue behind the speaker of the 6th assembly with a view of ensuring that he successfully complete his four years tenure in office and urged other ranking members of the assembly to follow suit.
The Ibiono Ibom born legislator promised to continually cater and empower members of his constituents via award of scholarship, training in artisan, quiz competition as well as draws the attention of the state government to dilapidated structures at Government Technical college, Ikot Ada Idem, uncompleted second phase of Use Ikot Amama road and poor access road to the palace of the paramount ruler of the constituency.
He expressed optimism that, so far he has performed creditably his legislative, oversight and lawmaking functions of the assembly.
He dismissed as false and insignificant the rumor making the rounds, that, a brother to the immediate past governor, Mr. Prince Akpabio had bribed the members with 300 million Naira prior to the inauguration.