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Newly elected speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Eteng Williams, has promised that the ninth Assembly under his watch will ensure that the lingering local government elections will be conducted.
The state has not been able to conduct local government elections since the tenure of council chairmen elapsed in the last four years. The state government has attributed the delay to lack of funds in conducting elections at that tier of government.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after being inaugurated by the clerk of the House, Bassey Ekpeyong, the Speaker also promised that his leadership would train and retrain members and staff of the Assembly as a means of improving their capacity.
His words, “We shall make training a priority for members and staff. One of our major concerns is the welfare of members. Also, we will make a deliberate effort to involve NGOs in public hearings and develop a cordial relationship with civil societies.
“Consensus cannot be good without effective communication. I will encourage the state to conduct Local Government elections,” he said.
The inauguration had in attendance nine newly elected members, 16 re-elected members as well as some out-gone members
Moving a motion for his nomination in the floor of the Assembly chamber, the member representing Ogoja State Constituency, Peter Odey, said Eteng as a former Committee chairman on Finance had discharged his duties creditably well and had been found worthy in character, and appealed to his colleagues to support his nomination as Speaker.
Hilary Bisong, member representing Boki 1, seconded his nomination and when the clerk of the House, Bassey Ekpeyong, who presided over the inauguration of principal officers, put the question of any other nomination, there was no objection.
The clerk also announced the election of the deputy speaker, Joseph Bassey, after being nominated by David Eta, member representing Abi State Constituency, and Itam Abang, member representing Boki 11 State Constituency.
In his acceptance speech, the new Speaker promised to work and collaborate with other tiers of government, saying his agenda was project Cross River.
He said the vote of confidence on him, as their new leader, was an affirmation of the entire members of the Assembly, saying he was looking forward to a more robust and dynamic relationship with the other arms of government.
In his goodwill message, Governor Ben Ayade congratulated all the members of the Assembly.
Also, on the approval by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Odey was elected as the Leader of the House, while Fred Osim emerged the Deputy Leader. In the same vein, Okon Ephraim and Regina Anyaogo are the Chief Whip and Deputy Whip, respectively