NIGERIA: Akpabio Reshuffles Cabinet, Drops 4 Commissioners

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Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State  Friday replaced four commissioners in a cabinet reshuffle but retained 15 and appointed one Special Adviser.

Commissioners of Education, Mrs. Eunice Thomas, Health, Dr. Bassey Antai,; Science and Technology, Barr. Comfort Etuk, and Dr. Clement Bassey of Culture and Tourism were dropped.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Umana Okon Umana in a statement said the Governor, approved posting of Commissioners and  Special Advisers in the State but was silent on  why the four Commissioners were dropped.

Also, Umana said “as part of the re-restructuring of the machinery of the state administration, His Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State has approved the establishment of the Bureau of Sports and Youth Development.

“The new Bureau of Sports and Youth Development is to take over the ministerial responsibilities of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. With this development, the Ministry of Youths and Sports is here by abolished”.

The new Commissioners sworn in are Prof. Atim Antai for Education, Dr. Emmanuel Bassey, Health, Engr. Iboro Ekanem, Science and Technology, Dr. Glory Emmanuel Edet, Women Affairs and Social Welfare while Prince Godwin Ntukude is for Bureau of Political and Legislative Affairs.

Nine of the Commissioners retained their portfolio while six others swapped positions.
Akpabio had while swearing in the new Commissioners and the Special Adviser warned  them to “derobe” themselves of the fanciful idea of power and influence but to join hands in building a state that would create conditions and opportunities for indigenes of the state to fulfil their aspirations.

“We have reached a critical point in our journey as a people. We have built a state in the last six years, which exceeds the dreams and expectations of our forefathers.  We have done this by the application of the Akwa Ibom virtues of industry, integrity and diligence.

“In doing, this we have built a momentum for development which is exacting and demands sacrifices from those of us who are the custodians of public trust.

“Let me use this occasion to pay tribute to all those who served in the last Executive Council. The good people of this state owe you a debt of gratitude for all your contributions to the development of our state. Your contributions to the uncommon transformation of our state shall remain indelible in the annals of our history; and when posterity shall look back at this time of our history, they would surely remember that you were part of our historic team'', he stated.

Continuing, Akpabio said, “To those of you whose services would no more be rendered on a cabinet platform, I wish you well in all your future endeavours and hope you will continue in the path of service to our state and humanity in your different fields of endeavour.

“Take pride that you were able to contribute to the building of a cohesive and progressive state founded on the principles of meritocracy, social justice and compassion.

“To those who are joining us today, whether as new members of this cabinet or returning member, we extend our hand of fellowship to you, but with the caveat that to whom much is given much is expected.

“As our Lord Jesus Christ said, he who puts his hand to the plough and turns back is not worthy, and anyone who puts his hand to the work of our state and turns back for his own personal comfort or aggrandizement, is not worthy of being in this cabinet''.

In what sounded like a homily, he said, “If you came with fancy ideas of power and influence, I warn you that the principles of our administration are founded on loyalty, dedication, integrity, service and humility.

“With these attributes, we expect you to join hands with us to keep building an Akwa Ibom State that will create conditions and opportunities for all Akwa Ibom persons to fulfil their aspirations.

“If you are a politician, remember that as from today you have disembarked from the boat of politics and joined the ship of statesmanship. You are not the Commissioner or Special Adviser of your political party or your community, you are to serve the interests of all Akwa Ibom people in line with the sacred oath of office which you have sworn to today. You represent a state where diversity is our strength, and where the common good supersedes regional, personal and tribal interests.

“We have come a long way from where we met the state in 2007. We have moved our state from the fringes of our national life to the epicenter of national acclaim. The uncommon transformation of our state was made possible by uncommon devotion to duty, uncommon self-sacrifice and uncommon work ethic by everyone in government. Let us build on this foundation and consolidate on our gains in the two years still left for us to bear the burden of our people’s expectation.

“I expect you to work with your respective permanent secretaries and the staff of your ministries or bureaus (as the case may be) in discharging your duties. If you think that with this appointment you have entered into rest, let tell you, with regret, that you are mistaken. In this job, you will be expected to work around the clock. That is how we succeeded in building the landmark infrastructure, which have been incorporated into the folklores and legends of our country''.

He charged the Commissioners and Special Advisers to deepen their sense of common purpose and commitment to the Akwa Ibom story. “Join us to make Akwa Ibom a haven and citadel of peace and development in our country. Let us work together to make our state a place of love, a blessed home, and a source of pride to our children”.

Some old Commissioners who have retained their portfolios are Barr. Ekpenyong Ntekim, Justice; Mr. Don Etim, Works; Hon. Eno Akpan, Lands and Town Planning;  Mr. Aniekan Umanah, Information and Communications; Mr. Enobong Uwah, Environment and Mineral Resources; Albert Akpan, Finance; Martins Udoinyang, Commerce and Industry; Godwin Afangideh, Agriculture and Natural Resources and Sunny Anyang, Economic Development.

Commissioners re-deployed are Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem who is moved to  Special Duties; Barr. Bassey Dan Abia posted to Housing and Urban Renewal; Barr. Austin Udo Mbeh, Transport; Barr. Effiong Abia, Rural Development; Hon. Adasi Ubulom, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. Ita Umoh Udo is in-charge of  Culture and Tourism.

Special Advisers are Engr. Etido Inyang, Technical Matters; Mr. Senas Ukpanah, Investments and Industrialisation/Chairman of Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation; Godwin S. Udom, Labour and Productivity; Mr. Uwem Ita Etuk, Co-operative and Food Sufficiency while Samuel George Frank is re-deployed to Sports and Youth Development.

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