NEWS,EVENTS,ENTERTAINMENTS,INSPIRATIONS,FASHION,POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Akwa Ibom Deputy Governor Resigns
Akwa Ibom State Deputy Governor Nsima Ekere quit his job yesterday – “for personal reasons.”
His terse letter of resignation sent to Governor Godswill Akpabio reads: “Pursuant to Section 306 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I kindly notify you of my resignation from the Office of the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State forthwith on personal grounds.
“I want to thank you immensely for the opportunity to serve Akwa Ibom State and the good people of the state as well in the remaining years of your administration.”
A statement signed by Ekere’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Inemesit Ina, confirmed the resignation, but refused to go beyond the lines in the letter.
Reports from the state indicated that senior government officials discussed the development in hushed tones as the news filtered through in the course of the day.
Attempts to speak with the governor’s media aides failed, but sources indicated that preparations for succession to Akpabio had caused a split in the government. Ekere, 47, who hails from Ikot Abasi in Eket Local Government is said to be interested in taking over the reins of government in 2015, while the Secretary to the State Government, Umana Okon Umana, who hails from Uyo Senatorial District, is also reported to be insistent on taking over the Uyo Government House.
Both men are believed to enjoy wide support in their respective spheres of influence, and had looked forward to obtaining the governor’s support.
A high official of the government said yesterday, “it has been a difficult decision for the governor to take. On the one hand, he largely owes his victory at the poll in 2007 to Umana. As Finance Commissioner in the Victor Attah administration, Umana stuck out his neck, supported the governor morally and financially and galvanized votes for him in the very crucial Uyo district.
“He thereafter emerged the SSG and has remained a major pillar of the government. He had left no one in doubt that he had his eyes on occupying the seat at the expiration of Akpabio’s tenure. Again, in 2011, in the face of very stiff challenge from Senator John Akpanudoedehe who crossed to the Action Congress of Nigeria to pick up the ticket, the task of mobilising support for the PDP in the Uyo district fell on Umana. He performed creditably.
“On the other hand, Ekere has been a very loyal deputy. He served creditably and proved his worth in the government. His people in the Eket district believe that it is their turn to produce the governor. In the 1999-2007 period, Victor Attah, from Uyo, was the governor. Since then Akpabio, from Ikot Ekpene district, has been in the saddle. It is therefore believed that, in the interest of justice and equity, it should go to the Eket zone.
“This is the crux of the matter. The resignation has further complicated matters, coming so soon after the 2011 election.”
Ekere was one of the 47 aspirants who indicated interest in succeeding Governor Attah in 2007. He stepped down in support of the governor and thus boosted his political standing. He was thus tipped as the running mate, but, on the intervention of party elders, shelved his ambition.
He was replaced by Patrick Ekpotu, a loyalist of Governor Attah, in a bid for reconciliation ahead of the 2007 election. But, Ekpotu was dropped last year and replaced by Ekere, in what was described as a reward for loyalty.
Resignations by deputy governors are not new in the Akwa Ibom political scene. On June 23, 2005 , Chris Ekpeyong was impeached by the state House of Assembly, apparently at the behest of Governor Attah. However, the intervention by the national leadership of the PDP saw the House reverse the removal. He consequently resigned on July 5. He was replaced by Michael Udofia.
In October 2010, there was heavy speculation that Ekpotu had resigned. This was later denied and the deputy governor was allowed to serve out the term.