From JOE EFFIONG, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has cleared Mrs. Valerie Ebe, Akpabio’s former commissioner for environment, to occupy the vacated seat of the deputy governor. Akpabio had sent a letter to the House of Assembly Wednesday, immediately the former deputy governor, Mr. Nsima Ekere, resigned, not only to inform the members of Ekere’s resignation, but also to appeal to them to prepare to quickly clear any nominee for the vacant post he would send to them.
Indication that Akpabio’s request would be attended to with dispatch became obvious when the House adjourned, after accepting the letter on Thursday and promised to reconvene yesterday, a day they hardly meet. Upon receiving the governor’s letter conveying the nomination of Mrs. Ebe, a legal practitioner, and a widow of Chief Morris Ebe, a politician of note from Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, the House yesterday quickly cleared the politician, as the next deputy governor of the state, as earlier requested by the governor.
The lawmakers said they were satisfied with the nominee’s profile and political track record and simply ordered the 70-year-old widow to take a bow and go. However, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Samuel Ikon, while addressing the nominee, said though they had no objection to her assumption of the new role, the House will not fail to wield the big stick if she falters.
According to Ikon, “by your resume, we have seen you to have been trained as a teacher, making you conversant with molding of character; we know you are also great mobiliser of women which have contributed to the emergence of this government. “ As you assume your new role as the deputy governor, we urge you to remain within the ambience of your responsibilities and if you don’t we will not fail to act otherwise.” Ebe, a former PDP women leader in the state, hails from Mkpat Enin in the same federal constituency as the immediate past deputy governor.
She was appointed a Commissioner in the Ethical and Attitudinal Re-orientation Commission, EARCOM, during Obong Victor Attah’s regime. Using her position as President and founder of her socio-political organisation, Akwa Ibom Women League, Ebe was active in mobilising women in the state to support the governorship ambition of Godswill Akpabio in 2007. She was rewarded with the position of a Commissioner for Culture and Tourism and was later deployed to Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources.
Ebe who holds a Bachelor of law from the University of Calabar has also served as the legal adviser to the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Meanwhile, fresh facts have emerged on why the former deputy governor left office. Sources revealed that Ekere resigned to forestall his impeachment, which was on the card. Government sources revealed that the former governor had been having problem in government, to the extent that he was accused of disloyalty allegedly noticed shortly after the government’s inauguration.
Saturday Sun gathered that the former deputy deputy governor was preparing to contest the 2015 governorship election, which is expected to be zoned to his senatorial district. Sources said that afraid that he may not get the nod of Governor Akpabio to contest in 2015, the former deputy governor’s camp had started erecting structures across the state.
The camp also made effort to weaken the governor’s structure in his senatorial zone, which is expected to play a role in who eventually picks the PDP ticket, the source revealed. It was also gathered that the ex-deputy governor’s camp wanted to cause a friction between the House of Assembly and Governor Akpabio. Such disaffection, it was gathered, was expected to move the House to initiate impeachment move against Akpabio, so that the deputy governor would take over and contest 2015 governorship poll as a sitting governor.