Tuesday, 19 May 2015

AKHA: Elected members warn Unoma Akpabio

AKHA: Elected members warn Unoma Akpabio

 *  Steer clear from our matters
 * You can’t impose a Speaker on us


The First Lady of Akwa Ibom State, Mrs.  Ekaette Unoma Akapabio has been told to steer clear of the House of Assembly’s activities and its quest to produce a Speaker. Lawmakers, both the returning and new members have expressed dismay at her domineering stranglehold on who emerges the Speaker of the 6th Assembly such that she is said to be holding series of meetings to influence who eventually becomes the Speaker.  Our reporter, who has been following the activities of the House with keen interest especially with regards to who emerges the next Speaker, gathered that the wife of the state Governor’s overbearing influence in the House of Assembly since the concluded general elections has been described as appalling and utterly worrisome by elected members.
Sources within the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly disclosed that Mrs. Unoma Akpabio is leading some members of the Akpabio’s family to try and install a Speaker against the wishes of the vast majority of members. Insiders reveal that she has been holding series of clandestine meetings with some elected members where she is said to be inducing them with monetary gratification to have them toe her line of thought. Those who confided in our reporter however disclosed that while such meetings are held undercover, its outcome is always in the public as those who attend the meetings more often than not reveal the intentions of the First Lady which is, among other things, to have them vote in favour of her preferred candidate which is believed to be Rt. Hon. Ime Okon representing Ibiono State Constituency. 

A close source hinted THE INK that she is doing everything including mobilising huge resources to have her way but it may not see the light of day if the position of the lawmakers is anything to go by who are said to be strongly opposed to her meddlesomeness in their affairs.  One of the elected lawmakers who did not want his name on print said that the wife of the governor is going beyond her bounds, adding that he and majority of others will stoutly oppose her choice of Speaker and will only produce a Speaker chosen by majority of the members. 

Meanwhile, ranking lawmakers have warned Mrs. Unoma Akpabio sternly to keep away from activities of the House and what concerns them since it’s not within the purview her office as First Lady to meddle in their affairs or chose who becomes the Speaker of the State House of Assembly. They argue that as an outgoing First Lady, all she needs do is concentrate on her job knowing full well that her husband’s tenure is barely some days away from running its full course. A reliable source close to Mrs. Akpabio said that the scheming of the First Lady is borne out of her quest to wield considerable influence in the yet-to-be-inaugurated 6th Assembly in a bid for her to remain relevant in the coming dispensation.  Impeccable sources informed THE INK that Mrs. Unoma Akpabio is working against the emergence of Barr Onofiok Luke, who is said to be the choice of majority of the elected members to be named the next Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

While Unoma Akpabio is rooting for Barr Ime Okon, it appears that those against her choice of candidate are unbending in their stance and they are the majority in the soon to be inaugurated 6th Assembly, investigation reveals. It could be recalled that when a major crisis had hit the 5th Assembly sometime ago which nearly led to the impeachment of Hon. Sam Ikon as Speaker, Barr Ime Okon was reportedly lined up as possible replacement but that did not materialise as the sinking ship of the House was later stabilised which put paid to the impeachment moves.  Those who discussed the lingering search for a new Speaker of the state House of Assembly noted that all indications and permutations favour Hon. Onofiok Luke who, they say, is a fine leader and a mobiliszer par excellence who will use his experience of legislative engagements to pilot the ship of the Assembly successfully.

Our reporter gathered that Unoma’s opposition to Onofiok Luke is traceable to his falling out with the First Family prior to the general elections where he is said to have later apologised to Gov. Akpabio.  But sources say that the First Lady may not have totally forgiven the Nsit Ubium Lawmaker more so as he is seen as being independent-minded who may be hard to remote control.  While the May 29 date inauguration of the next Governor of Akwa Ibom state draws near, it won’t take long before the new Speaker is announced, but what pundits and keen followers of these emerging scenario do not know for sure is who the mantle will eventually fall on. Meanwhile, the elected lawmakers have vowed to resist any attempt by Mrs. Unoma Akpabio to impose a Speaker on them.

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