… Relying on the Law is Trivial- Oruk Anam Legislative Council Insists
…”We are Working on the Party’s Directive”
…We will Settle our Problems- PDP
By Ekemini Simon
The recent nomination and subsequent inauguration of Uduak Umo as Vice Chairman of Oruk Anam Local Government Council is in breach of the Local Government Administration Law of Akwa Ibom State (2017), this The Mail Newspaper can authoritatively report.
Section 47(3C) of the law provides that the Vice Chairman nominated to fill a vacant position must hail from the same political ward of the former who vacated office.
The section provides ” Where the office of Vice Chairman becomes vacant, the chairman shall nominate a person from that ward and with the approval of a majority of the members of the legislative council, appoint him as the new Vice Chairman.”
Findings reveal that Uduak Umo sworn-in as Vice Chairman hails from Ibesit Anwa Udo in Ward 12, Oruk Anam local government area. If one is to go by the new Ward arrangement, Umo’s Ward falls into Ward 15.
The former Vice Chairman who was impeached under controversial circumstances, Abasiama Etukakpan is from Ikot Udo Offiong, Ward 13 as recognized by Independent National Electoral Commission. Even if one goes by the controversial Ward arrangement put in place by the State, Etukakpan’s Ward is Ward 16.
Meanwhile, it has been gathered that the House Leader of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and Member Oruk Anam State Constituency, Rt Hon Udo Kieran Akpan nominated Uduak Umo for the position. Umo served Rt Hon Kieran as Legislative Aide.
Checks shows that the Local Government Administration Law was however respected in the aspect of a nominee from Ward when Etiutom Ediene, was initially sworn-in as the Vice Chairman.
Ediene was sworn-in when Etukakpan was first impeached before the petition was served at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. He hails from the same village and ward with Abasiama Etukakpan.
Contacted, the Leader of Oruk Anam Legislative Council, Sunday Festus, said adhering to the said law is trivial. He also insisted that his council is not in breach of the law.
“You can go back to your law. Look at the law very well. It is the position of the party to nominate who we screened. They nominated and sent to us. Quoting the law and asking whether they are from the same ward is trivial. Direct the question to PDP.”
When asked what level of the party sent the nomination, he said “I can’t answer whether it is at the State level. It is the party. I am not indebted to answer you this question because you are not a lawmaker, neither are you the party who sent nomination to us. Our guiding principle was the Constitution of the country.”
When asked to reference the section of the Constitution the legislative council relied upon during screening, Festus was unable to point that out. He rather said the provision they relied upon accepts anyone from political zone and not necessarily ward. He however failed to reference the said law.
“The law does not say the person must come from the same ward of the Vice Chairman. The person must come from the zone the Vice Chairman was nominated from. Go to Ward 15 and 16, they are from the same political block. This nominated Vice Chairman is from the same political zone of the former Vice Chairman. It is not a must that it should be ward.”
When this reporter insisted that his claim was lacking in law, he finally said they based their action on the Local Government Administration Law.
” Go and check yourself especially that section you quoted for me in the Local Government Administration Law. Check options by options. From there, you will get where I am telling you now.” This claim by the Leader of the Oruk Anam Legislative Council is misleading. There is no such section in the law.
When asked necessities the Councillors considered during screening, Festus noted “We did many things which I cannot mention to you since you are not a lawmaker. You are not a Lawmaker. That business was strictly a legislative business.”
Contacted, the Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Borono Bassey said the question on where the nomination came from should rather be answered by the Leader of Oruk Anam Legislative Council.
He assured that whatever problem that may be bedeviling the area will be sorted out.
“This is an internal party matter, and we have internal mechanism to sort it out. PDP as a family will sit on the table and iron out whatever issue”, Bassey noted.
Effort to reach the Chairman of Oruk Anam Local Government Council, Hon Kingley Frank for comment was futile. He did not respond to calls and text message to his known phone line as at the time of filling this report. This reporter specifically asked him why he did not consider the provisions of the Local Government Administration Law in his nomination and what is stance is now that he has realized that he has breached the law in his nomination.
Also, effort to reach the House Leader of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and Member Oruk Anam State Constituency, Rt Hon Udo Kieran Akpan who is said to have been the brain behind the nomination was unsuccessful. He neither responded to his calls nor replied text message sent to his known phone contact. This reporter specifically asked him why he did not consider the provisions of the Local Government Administration Law in his nomination even as a lawmaker and what is his stance now that he has realized that the nomination contravene the law.