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7th Akwa Ibom House of Assembly: Expectations and Thrills of the 6th

By Bureau Chief, Uyo



Akwa Ibom NUJ boycott

AHEAD of Monday’s inauguration of the 7th Akwa Ibom state Assembly, the issue of who would among the state lawmakers will emerge as the Speaker of the next Assembly has dominated public discussions/arguments in Akwa Ibom political space.

The state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel had last week issued a Proclamation notice to the state for the inauguration of the seventh state Assembly.

The outgoing Speaker of the sixth Assembly and House of Representatives member-elect, Mr. Onofiok Luke had announced the proclamation notice from the  governor last Thursday, June 6, 2019 during the Valedictory session to end the sixth Assembly.

Majority of Akwa Ibom people have predicted that three lawmakers from Uyo senatorial district are most suitable candidates for the number three seat in the state.

They are Aniekan Uko Aniefiok Denis Akpan and Aniekan Eka representing Ibesikpo Asutan, Etinan and  Uyo state constituencies respectively. 

Other state Lawmakers from Uyo Senatorial district, eligible for the Speaker post are Aniekan Bassey, Otobong Effiong Bob, Kufre-Abasi Edidem, Godwin Ekpo, Ifiok Udo, and Mark Esset of, Uruan, Nsit Ubium, Itu, Ibiono Ibom, Nsit Ibom, and Nsit Atai state constituencies respectively.

Some had speculated ahead of the dissolution of the sixth Assembly last Thursday that majority of the returning members were scheming to ensure that a ranking member from Uyo senatorial district emerges as the next speaker.

In fact, a reliable source privy to happenings in the State Assembly told GreenWhiteGreen in confidence that Aniekan Uko who is re-elected for a second term is currently enjoying massive support of his colleagues and even the governor’s.

Luke: Who succeeds him?

It is being speculated that Uko’s close allies and colleagues have been secretly lobbying the fresh members-elect for their support.

Interestingly, out of the 26 state Lawmakers of the state Assembly, 14 are returning  while 12, are newly elected.

Even the body language of the returning members at the last Thursday valedictory session seemed to point to the fact that their expectation is for a ranking member to emerge as Speaker.

Some of the sixth Assembly Lawmakers while sharing their experiences in the four years recalled how Onofiok Luke eventually emerged Speaker in December 2015 in spite of all attempts to stop him and give the seat to a fresher.

Their expectation is that same scenario of 2015 where the desire of majority of Lawmakers for Luke should be re-enacted.

It could be recalled that Aniekan Uko though newly elected in 2015 emerged as Speaker following the interference of the the former governor, Godswill Akpabio.

However, Uko lost the seat six months after, when he lost his seat upon a court judgment that the election that brought him to the house was fraught with irregularities.

That was what created the vacancy for Luke to emerge as Speaker in December, 2015.

In his valedictory speech as the term of the 6th Assembly ended, Luke recalled with irony that though they started as a team but that they did not end as one following the court judgment on five of the members who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

“I will however also be leaving with the sad memory that we did not end this assembly in the complete number as we started. Regrettably, this House is today dissolving with a 21-member status rather than 26 that was inaugurated four years ago. 

“The events of November leading to the ultimate vacation of 5 seats in this honourable house will be remembered as one of the low moments for our democracy, but also as one of the very moments that the institution of governance had to show profound resilience.

Other Lawmakers in their separate and brief remarks thanked God for the gift of life and understanding families through the four years.

Leader of the sixth Assembly, who is re-elected into the Oruk Anam state constituency seat for the third time Udo Kieran Akpan in his remark said praised God that the lives of all members were preserved.

However, there was no doubt that their unity wasn’t as lucky to be preserved.

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