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AKHA SPEAKERSHIP IS NOT ANIEKAN UKO’S BIRTH RIGHT – UDOFIA

The member representing Ikono State Constituency and Chairman House Committee on Security, Youth and Sports in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr. Victor Udofia, in an interview with Assembly Correspondents, speaks on salient issues regarding the Speakership of the House. Excerpt:VICTOR

THERE HAS BEEN AN AGITATION IN SOME QUARTERS THAT BARRISTER ONOFIOK LUKE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY STEP DOWN FOR ELDER ANIEKAN UKO AS SOON AS HE RETURNS TO THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?

That Onofiok should step down for who? Na only him waka come? Na him papa seat? Is Aniekan Uko the owner of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly? Look, I don’t have any problem with my friend and brother; Aniekan Uko, as a matter of fact he is one of my treasured colleagues, so I don’t want to believe he would stoop so low or even nurse the idea. And, I want to use this privilege to warn some selfish groups and individuals to desist from clashing brothers’ heads together. As far as I know, I don’t want to believe Aniekan Uko has any challenge with Speaker Onofiok Luke or the current House, so people should stop spreading impossible rumour because the House does not belong to Aniekan Uko and just like any principal member; Aniekan Uko does not own a permanent speakership in the House.

BUT PEOPLE ARE SAYING THERE WAS AN ARRANGEMENT WHICH ONOFIOK AND ANIEKAN SIGNED THAT AS SOON AS THE LATER RETURNS, THE SPEAKERSHIP SHOULD BE HANDED OVER TO HIM. ARE YOU ARE AWARE OF THAT?

Gentlemen, take this from me and quote me anywhere; there was no such thing. There was nothing like arrangement, and there was nothing like understanding. It was the decision of the entire members of the House that Onofiok Akpan Luke should be made the speaker and Aniekan Uko was in that meeting; he was part of it; the four returning members were also in the meeting. We all nominated Barrister Onofiok Luke to become the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly just as we nominated Aniekan Uko to become the Speaker before his election was nullified. But as God would do it, he is back as a member and I believe coming back, he will be very vibrant, energetic and a dependable member. And let me remind those that spread the false rumour that, in the legislature you don’t hand over, you only impeach and elect. This is not a State or Federal Ministry where you hear those at the helm of affairs have been swapped and they hand over. No sirs, this is the legislature and there are processes that must be followed. And let me sound this warning to the uninformed; we the members of the sixth assembly are satisfied with Onofiok and let whoever that cares to listen be informed that no force from outside can remove Onofiok Luke as the Speaker, in fact, such a person does not have the right, the strength and powers to remove the Speaker, except the members that elected him. For now, we are comfortable with him and if he sustains the tempo, he will join the league of speakers who completed their tenures without any hitches. So, let’s believe all these ramblings here and there are beer parlour chats, okay?

BUT PEOPLE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT IT WOULD BE UNFAIR FOR ETINAN FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY TO PRODUCE THE STATE CHAIRMAN OF YOUR PARTY AND ALSO PRODUCE THE SPEAKER OF THE STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?

Now listen to this and take note, it is my personal opinion as Victor Udofia. To be very honest, I am one person that looks at what you as a person can offer, I don’t believe in what others feel is right or wrong. Let’s assume that you have a company and you need the services of a professional driver. Let’s assume I am your brother and I came lobbying to get the job when I am a learner, please if you refuse to offer me the job, my brother I won’t be furious at all, instead I would put more effort and complete the learning process and then, wait for the right time. To answer your question, let me ask you, why that same school of thought not bothered that since the return of democracy in 1998 till now, Ikot Ikpene Senatorial District has not produced the State Chairman of the PDP, why? Oh, have they not noticed that Chairmanship of the party always rotate between Uyo Senatorial District and Eket Senatorial District? So, if the party which is always supreme says Onofiok has done well and we give him vote of confidence, then Obong Paul Ekpo has also done well, then those that complain must not be members of our party and should not be taken serious.

LET’S GO TO YOUR CONSTITUENCY. THERE HAS BEEN TUSSLE FOR POLITICAL LEADERSHIP LATELY. REGARDING THE RECENTLY HELD PDP STAKEHOLDERS’ MEETING, WHO REPRESENTED IKONO AT THE MEETING?

It was the former Commissioner for Finance, a knight, a revered elder statesman from Ikono Local Government Area; Sir Sunday Udo Akpan that represented Ikono. He is a member of the State caucus of our party the PDP. He however took over from Late Prophet Monday Udoinyang. Sir Sunday Udo Akpan, apart from being an authentic member of the State Caucus of our party is also a member of the Elders’ Advisory Council that was constituted by His Excellency the Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO THOSE PARADING THEMSELVES AS POLITICAL LEADERS IN YOUR CONSTITUENCY?

I am afraid if you are saying I should begin to force people to give support to government. Can you force? For me, I will always dance on the side of government and give respect to which the government says this stays on the throne because the Bible says that God himself is the one who appoint the government, meaning that if we refuse to obey the government, we are refusing to obey God. As the mouthpiece of my people in the House of Assembly don’t also forget that I am a government official and at all times, I should be obedient to the constituted authority and I should also expect same from my constituents. For the people of Ikono, they now know the truth and I can tell you, they are not rebelling at all.

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