From JOE EFFIONG, Uyo
Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Nsima Ekere has resigned from office to take off steam from the impeachment which was planned against him. A terse press release signed by Ekere’s press secretary, Mr Inemesit Ina entitled ‘Akwa Ibom Deputy Governor resigns’ reads: “The deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Nsima Ekere has resigned from office.” In a letter of resignation dated Wednesday, October 31, 2012, Mr Ekere said he was resigning on personal grounds.
He thanked the governor and the good people of the state for the opportunity given him to serve the state in the last 17 months. “Mr Ekere wished the governor and the people well in the remaining years of the administration.” Daily Sun learnt that plans had already been concluded for Ekere to be impeached next week by the state House of Assembly. His offence was that he became too interested in succeeding Governor Akpabio in 2015, whereas there were others assumed to have been anointed for the job.
An inside source said Ekere was advised to resign to avoid being subjected to Chris Ekpenyong’s treatment whose process of impeachment was started and concluded within two days by the House and the investigation panel set up by the then State Chief Judge, Justice Effiong Idiong. It took the intervention of the Federal Executive Council led by Chief Ojo Madueke, then a minister to prevail on the House and Chief Victor Attah to upturn the impeachment and give Ekpenyong a soft landing of resignation.
Ekere, who unsuccessfully contested the crowded Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial primaries against Akpabio in 2007, was initially chosen by Akpabio as his running mate. But he was later dropped by the party and replaced with Obong Patrick Ekpotu, who came in as a compromise candidate to assuage the frosty relationship between Attah and Akpabio.
But it was obvious that Akpabio was only tolerating Ekpotu, who happens to come from the same Ikot Abasi Local Government Area like Ekere; thus he was offloaded in Akpabio’s second term to finally make way for Ekere, an estate surveyor.
When contacted on phone, his predecessor, Obong Ekpotu expressed surprise over Ekere’s resignation, describing it as “unfortunate somersault. Why should he resign, I thought he knew how well to be a deputy governor.” Asked what his relationship was with Ekere, Ekpotu said “I had no business with such people. I knew all that he did to undermine me so that he would become a deputy governor.”
When asked whether the governor had accepted Ekere’s resignation, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Aniekan Umanah told Daily Sun that he was not in Uyo but in Abuja as such was not in immediate contact with the governor. Umanah said he learnt of the resignation from the social media just like many other persons but promised to get more facts as soon as possible.
The Chairman of the House Assembly Committee on Information, Mr Effefiong Antigha and the Speaker, Mr Sam Ikon were not available on phone to comment on the angle of the planned impeachment against Ekere.