Governor Udom Emmanuel has submitted the names of five commissioner-nominees to the state’s assembly for clearance and confirmation in a major cabinet shake-up as the race towards the next general election gathers momentum.
Ini Ememobong, commissioner for Information and Strategy, made the announcement while briefing reporters after the state executive council meeting presided over by Governor Emmanuel, adding that the governor had approved that five commissioners be eased out of the state executive council.
He did not, however, disclose the names of the commissioners but it was gathered that those to be eased out are among those nursing one form of political ambition or the other.
This is coming less than a week after two commissioners, Akan Okon, commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport resigned from the cabinet citing his desire to pursue his governorship ambition, while Sunday Ibuot, who was commissioner in charge of Labour and Manpower Development ministry, also resigned for personal reasons.
According to Ememobong, “The chairman-in-council announced that the executive council will be reshuffled and that five commissioners will be eased out.’’ He further said: “Consequently, names have been forwarded to the House of Assembly for screening and clearance.’’
It is not yet clear who among the 18 member executive council would be sacked given that the cabinet appears to have split after one of the members, Umo Eno was adopted as Udom’s likely successor; a development which analysts say has generated mixed reactions in the state.
It was also not clear whether Glory Edet, commissioner for Agriculture who has served as a member of the state executive council since the administration of Godswill Akpabio as governor will be relieved of her position following a report of her clash with the Akwa Ibom First Lady during the celebration marking the International Women’s Day celebration held at the Ibom Hall in Uyo, the state capital on Monday.
Edet, a former University lecturer who has served previously as commissioner for Women Affairs in the state, was said to have clashed with the First Lady, Martha Udom on who should be asked to mobilise women for the International Women’s Day, even though there is a substantive commissioner for women affairs.
Edet, who is the dean of commissioners is believed to be nursing a political ambition and seeking to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives for Ini/Ikono federal constituency in Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district of the state.
Apart from Umo Eno, other aspirants who have indicated interest to join the governorship race include Onofiok Luke, a member of the House of Representatives who made his declaration the other day. Bassey Albert Akpan, a senator and former finance commissioner and Mike Enyong, also a member of the House of Representatives from Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District.
On the ongoing strike by teachers in public schools in the state which has crippled both primary and secondary school activities in the state forcing the students and pupils to be roaming the streets, the state executive council directed the “relevant ministries to take necessary steps to resolve the problem immediately,” noting that a “meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers was ongoing.”