Iniobong Ekponta, Uyo
After series of horse-trading, the new Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly emerged late Monday night, drowning all expectations that the leadership of the 6th Assembly would be decided in favour of the ranking members the old stock from the 5th Assembly. Elder Aniekan Uko, first time member for Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency, emerged against all odds, to beat ranking members including hot favourites; Hon. Onofiok Luke (Nsit Ubium) and Hon. Ime Okon (Ibiono Ibom)-to clinch the State’s legislative top job.
Although the House has been adjourned to resume on Thursday, June 18, 2014, after Elder Uko and Hon. Effiong Bassey, representing Oron\Udung Uko State Constituency, have been sworn-in by the Assembly Clerk, Lady Mandu Umoren, as Speaker and Deputy respectively, criticisms have continued to trail their emergence.
To followers of the political trends in Akwa Ibom since 1999, the new Speaker, before now, an Aide to the former PDP Chairman, Prince Uwem Ita Etuk, who, until his emergence as the Speaker, was a serving Councilor in Ibesikpo Asutan, “lacks the experience to instill legislative harmony and control in the 6th Assembly”.
“Elder Uko is a total green horn in politics at the top level and it is a total misnomer for such an inexperienced person to be so selected as the Speaker. As a serving Councilor in a yet-to-be dissolved Local Government Council, the new Speaker may not have the temerity and independent mindset to instill decorum in the House enough not to give the Governor a problem”, Chief Anitie I. Enang, former PDP chieftain in Etim Ekpo, posited.
“The Governor, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, is a new Governor and he should work with experienced members as leaders of the House of Assembly for him to have a stable polity to operate and consolidate of the achievements of his predecessor, Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio”, he noted.
For instance, he recalled that “during Akpabio’s first term, problems of instability in the House of Assembly led to the impeachment of the Speaker, Hon. Ignatius Edet, who was variously accused of incompetency and mismanagement of the 4th Assembly”.
Although Edet’s impeachment was overturned to resignation at the intervention of Governor Akpabio, the House remained unstable until Hon. Anietie Etuk (Nsit Ibom), who succeeded Edet, as the Speaker, ran out his tenure- to pave the way for the immediate past Speaker, Elder Sam Ikon (Etinan), who eventually brought stability to the 5th Assembly before migrating to the House of Representatives to represent Etinan Federal Constituency at the National Assembly.