Governor Udom Emmanuel has nominated Senator Godswill Akpabio’s cousin, Prince Ukpong Akpabio as member of the Akwa Ibom State Executive Council.
The governor yesterday forwarded to the State House of Assembly five names of cabinet nominees for screening and confirmation, including Akpabio’s cousin, Prince Ukpong Akpabio.
Also in the list is a former commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Udo Ekpenyong, who was sacked earlier by Governor Emmanuel, allegedly on the orders of Senator Akpabio.
Other nominees for the offices of commissioner and special adviser include Mr. Uno Etim Uno, Mr. Raphael Bassey and Pastor Sunny Ibuot.
The governor’s message, which was read yesterday during the emergency sitting of the House, was received by the Speaker, Mr. Onofiok Luke.
The Speaker directed the House Committee on Justice, Judiciary, Human Rights and Public Petitions to screen the nominees and report back to the Assembly within 72 hours.
However, the nominations have elicited mixed reactions from a cross section of people of the state including government officials and chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Special Adviser, Bureau of Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Mr. Ekong Sampson described the governor’s appointment of Prince Ukpong Akpabio and the return of Udo Ekpenyong a “smart political move”
“Prince Ukpong Akpabio and Udo Ekpenyong are grassroots politicians and they are very experienced. We expect that they have so much to offer the state in terms of service.
“The Governor has taken a wise decision by bringing them on board and I am confident that with the duo holding the forte for the PDP in their areas, Governor Udom Emmanuel will surely be re-elected for a second term come next year”, he said.
However, a chieftain of the APC in the state, Chief Edet Nkpubre said Emmanuel’s appointment of Akpabio’s relation and the return of the sacked commissioner would not guarantee victory for the PDP and Governor Emmanuel in particular.
“Whether he (Governor Emmanuel) reshuffles his cabinet a hundred times he won’t win a second term. Who is Prince Ukpong Akpabio? If his brother has defected to the APC what is he doing there?
“I think he is there to make money off the governor and promising him what he cannot provide. What can he do for the governor? He is the creation of Senator Akpabio. The smartest thing he would have done would have been to follow his master”, he said.