By Okon Bassey in Uyo
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has remained silent on the sack of members of the 15-month-old state executive council which took the state by surprise weekend.
The dissolved state executive council which was inaugurated on July 6, 2015 had 20 commissioners and two special advisers. Twelve of the commissioners were inherited from the immediate past administration of then Governor, Godswill Akpabio, now a senator.
Although no reason was given, the action of Emmanuel to relieve the exco members of their appointments might not be unconnected with the off loading some of those he inherited from his predecessor and those seen to be underperforming.
A statement on the termination of the appointment of the exco members signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Etekamba Umoren, was released last Saturday evening.
Umoren in the statement, said the governor directed the permanent secretaries to assume immediate responsibility of their respectivies ministries pending the next development.
The 73 words in the three paragraphs statement read thus: “His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Governor, Akwa Ibom State has approved the dissolution of the State Executive Council with immediate effect.
“The governor expresses his deep and profound appreciation for the contributions of the executive members to the development of the state, and wishes them success in their future endeavours.
“Permanent secretaries in the respective ministries are to take over the running of the ministries pending the reconstitution of a new executive council.”
The governor had while appointing the sacked commissioners threw into the wing public out-cry but noted that the criticism that trailed the selection process.
According to Emmanuel, the re-appointment of the former commissioners of the immediate past administration was to ensure the completion of most of the projects which many of them had supervised.
He argued that if more new members are to be introduced into the state cabinet, it would be like going back to the drawing board as most of the projects were between 80 and 90 per cent completed.
“If you see people complaining why you should be appointed again as members of the state executive council tell that we are coming back to complete to complete projects we started,” the governor told the returnees.
“For the appointees, let me place on record that your selection was based purely on merit. If you are a returnee, your records spoke for you, and for the new entrants, you have been drafted into the team to contribute your quota in our quest to give quality service to our people.
“On no account, shall this administration sacrifice competence and earned gravitas on the altar of mediocrity or the narrow impulse of parochialism.
“We have vowed to surround this government with the best people wherever they have come from. We shall always follow the stars where it takes us to,” he said.
The governor stressed that appointees were beneficiaries of the policy openness to new thinking urging them to see themselves as the apostles of sustainable development drive of the state.
“However, let me be quick to remind you that as commissioner and specials advisers, your constituencies and local government areas have now changed to the entire state.
“Endeavour to eschew favoritism and ethnicity in performing your duties and surround yourselves with people who will bring or add value to our essence.
“Our commitment to industrialisation is irrevocable. We know that through industrialisation, we shall rewrite the Akwa Ibom story in employment and wealth creation that will pump the veins of our economy to overflowing, and take us to the highest rung of economic ascendancy,” he stated.