…it was complete illegality; mess on democratic tenets -House of Assembly

…as lawmakers order immediate payment of entitlement

By Ime Silas

Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has ordered the immediate reinstatement of Hon. Abasiama Etukakpan as Vice Chairman of Oruk Anam Local Government Council. This is according to a report endorsed by the Press Unit, Office of the State Assembly’s Speaker.

The report reads “Recall that the Oruk Anam Legislative House had on March 23, 2021, in a petition signed by fourteen Councillors, impeached Hon. Etukakpan, citing false declaration of age as reason.

However, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly at its Plenary on Thursday, July 15, 2021, received two separate petitions on the matter.

“The petitions were read by the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Public Petitions, Hon. Victor Ekwere, while the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, referred the matter to the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs headed by Rt. Hon. Mark Esset.

The Speaker had urged the Committee to investigate the petition and report back within one month.

“Presenting the Committee’s report at Tuesday’s plenary, Rt. Hon. Mark Esset pointed out that Hon. Abasiama Etukakpan was in the first instance, not served any official notice of impeachment.

He revealed that the reasons tendered by the Councillors to the Committee for impeaching
the Vice Chairman were purely pre-election matters and lie within the electoral process and the courts.

“He also told the House that Councilors did not follow proper impeachment procedures as regulated in Section 44 of the Local Government Administration Law (2017) in the impeachment process of Hon. Abasiama Etukakpan.

“The Legislative Council usurped the powers of the House of Assembly by taking the law into their hands. The Chairman Hon. Kingsley Frank on his own authority picked and inaugurated a new Vice Chairman for Oruk Anam Legislative Council in which he has no authority to do so”, he said.

“The House therefore ordered the immediate reinstatement of Hon. Abasiama EtukAkpan as Vice Chairman of Oruk Anam Local Government Council

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The House resolved that Hon. Etukakpan be paid all his entitlements from date of the purported impeachment.

The House also declared as invalid and unconstitutional, the purported swearing in of another Vice Chairman”.

Responding to his reinstatement, the elated youthful Vice Chairman in a release tagged “An Expression Of Unreserved Gratitude”, which he personally signed, described his now nullified impeachment as, amongst others, “…children’s shameful dance…”.

Mr. Etukakpan, who thanked Gov Udom Emmanuel, the Speaker of the State Assembly, Rt. Aniekan Bassey and others who stood by him throughout the trying moments, however noted that he bore no grudges against anyone.

His said “It gives me a great sense of responsibility to bare my mind on the events of my life in the last four months, which culminated in the triumph of justice over injustice. I do not intend to bore you with the account of these events, which started from the 23rd day of March, 2021 as I believe you already know. But for the record, let me state here categorically that for a young man like me, who aspires to go far in the politics of Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria, it would have been unexplainably senseless and unreasonably unfair to start off my political career with frauds, forgeries and blatant lies.

“This is my way of explaining that all the allegations levelled against me were not only false, but maliciously, wickedly and unfoundedly so. They all emanated from the very dark hearts of men, with the sole aim of bringing a fellow man down. For me, all of these machinations would have been less painful, had they come from afar. But knowing that the hurried, wack and kiddie-like purported impeachment was conceived, brooded on and hatched by my own compatriots and kinsmen was as painful as it was surprising and disappointing. Though the storms raged on, I held my peace.

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“All I could do as human was to hold God by his word that he shall fight for me and I shall hold my peace. And that he has done, as it is evident today. He has fulfilled His word in Psalm 62 verse 11 ‘that once has he spoken; twice have I heard that power belongs to God’. In all of this, what more can I do than to thank the Almighty God for vindicating the innocent, for showing His everlasting sovereignty in the affairs of men, because no one says a thing and it comes to pass when The King Of Kings has not commanded. To Him alone, I return all the glory.

“Furthermore, I sincerely thank our indefatigable Governor and leader of our great party,His Excellency, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and his ever supportive wife,my mother, Dr.(Mrs.) Martha Udom Emmanuel for not listening to the voice of the whirlwind and the wagging tongues of the Ahitophels with their antics of blackmail. With this, Your Excellency, you have proven yourself as the King Solomon of our time, who possesses the wisdom to unravel the mystery in every situation, notwithstanding whose interest it may affect. God bless you Your Excellency and I pledge my unalloyed loyalty to the completion agenda of the present administration.

“Also, may I thank the 7th Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly as ably led by the Speaking Speaker, Rt. (Hon.)Aniekan Bassey and his able lieutenants. I specifically
appreciate the Chairman House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Public
Petition and The Chairman and members of House Committee on Local
Government for their thorough investigations to unearth the truth. With these, the
7th Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly members have further strengthened
people’s belief in them as the people’s assembly and have also written their names
in history as the uncompromised defenders of democratic tenets in our dear state.

“I cannot forget to thank my legal team, led by Barr. Nsikak Akai for their very
professional advice throughout the period and the People’s Parliament on Planet
Radio, 101.1 FM, Uyo for standing up and speaking up against injustice in our
land. May the voice of the People’s Parliament never wane.

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“With great humility in
my heart, I thank my Spiritual Father,Apostle Nyeneime Andy and the entire Holy
Ghost Ambassadors family for all their prayers and spiritual supports. Let me also
extend my show of gratitude to the stakeholders and the entire people of Oruk
Anam Local Government Area for standing up in unity, solidarity and for their
public outcry to ensure the restoration of the mandate they freely gave their loving
son. This was truly overwhelmingly heartwarming. With an absolute heart of
gratitude, I thank my parents Mr/Mrs Ezekiel Etukakpan and my beloved family for their support and solidarity.

“I am immensely indebted to the entire Akwa Ibom people, at home and in the
diaspora, a lot of whom we have never met before but deemed it fit to stand up and
fight horn to horn against the bearers of oppression.
Permit me at this point to say very specially and soberly, that as instructed by the
Holy Book, I do not bear any grudge against anybody. Let it be known that I have
publicly forgiven everyone, known and unknown, who was directly or indirectly
involved in that children’s shameful dance. To my dear people of Oruk Anam, i
once again reiterate my pledge to stand with my boss the Chairman of Oruk Anam
Local Government Council,Rt.(Hon.) Dr. Kingsley Frank to bring the accrued
dividends of democracy to Oruk Anam Local GovernmentArea. For me, I do not see this as an opportunity to go
and settle scores, rather as a time for me to roll up my sleeves and get back to work
for the benefit of every Oruk Anam son and daughter. This, by the grace of God,I so pledge. Thank you all”.