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Saturday, September 1, 2018


Evelyn-A. B. Ibanga (Govt. House)

Governor Udom Emmanuel has sworn-in five new Permanent Secretaries into the state public  service, with a charge on them to justify the confidence reposed in them through their conduct and in the discharge of their duties to the state.

Emmanuel gave the charge shortly  after administering oath of office to the new Permanent Secretaries in a brief ceremony at  the Executive Council Chamber, Government House, Uyo.

The newly sworn-in Permanent Secretaries are: Dr. Ekpenyong Okon Ekpenyong, a medical practitioner from Mbo Local Government Area, who has served as  the Chief Medical Officer, CMO, at Immanuel General Hospital, Eket and until his appointment, the Medical Superintendent at the General Hospital, Ituk Mbang; Barrister Uduak John Eyo-Nsa, a Legal Practitioner and an indigene of Ikono Local Government Area, who, until her elevation, was the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, in the Ministry of Justice and Otuekong Alexander Ukut(Ph.D), who hails from Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, a Chatered Accountant  with fellowship at several professional bodies including Chatered Institute of Taxation and Institute of Chatered Accountants of Nigeria.

Others are:  Barr. Christopher Joseph Udoh, an indigene of Etinan Local Government Area, who has served as Head of Out Stations in the Ministry of Justice in Abak, Mkpat Enin and Oron Local  Government Areas and Acting Director, Public Prosecutions in the Ministry of Justice between 2013 and 2014 and Engr. Nicholas Amos Idungafah, a native of Oruk Anam Local Government Area, who has served as former Vice Chairman of the Local Government Council, Chief Engineer, Akwa Ibom  State College of Agriculture, Obio Akpa and Deputy Director Electrical, Ministry of Works as well as Director of Works, Ministry of Science and Technology.

The Akwa Ibom State Chief Executive said that the five new appointees assumed the position through merit, stating that the process for their emergence was without sentiments and explained that the mental capacity, analytical minds and communication skills of 18 officers were tested during the selection procedure.

"Please don't disappoint me, people say that you cannot become Permanent Secretary unless you know somebody but since you all came to this position on merit, let that merit speak anywhere you are, in conduct and everything and that would gladden my heart.

"The position is a career path and honestly, when you qualify, I give it to you but you must first demonstrate that you are able to act in that capacity. A Permanent Secretary is a chief operating officer of a Ministry, we cannot commonise certain things for politics. It must have what it deserves of that office", the Governor stated.

Emmanuel reteirated that the welfare of Akwa Ibom people is the priority of his administration, indicating that his government has done its best to improve the welfare of  civil servants in the state  employ and pointed out that it has fulfilled its obligations in payment of  pensions to retired civil servants including primary school teachers and regular and timely  payment of salaries even without receiving statutory allocations.

He explained that his administration took up payment of backlog of gratuities up to 2015, pointing out that the issue affects the whole country and attributed the situation to the previous management  of the disengagement services while assuring that the next batch of payment would commence with availability of funds in the state.

According to him, "I am not interested in partisan politics, I'm interested in the welfare of my people. The welfare of civil servants is my priority, we came here to serve our people. This is pure public service and we are serving the people whole heartedly, sincerely and selflessly"

He added, " I have paid pensions up to date, the only section we have not fully paid is gratuities and it is a problem of the whole country and not only Akwa Ibom. Every state and even the federal government is owing gratuities and it is because of previous management of the disengagement services".

While addressing the issue of leave allowance to the state workforce, the Governor acknowledged that, "in the private sector, leave allowance for 2017 is paid in 2018 but here, we pay in the same year and leave allowances are only paid within the third and last quarter of the year. Meanwhile, we have already paid leave grant of 2017".

The Governor urged the people to be realistic in their criticism of the state administrstion, stressing that Akwa Ibom government is doing a lot better than other states and hoped that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would take over power at the centre in 2019 and reposition the economy for the betterment of the country.

Speaking to Government House Correspondents shortly after the ceremony, one of the appointees, Otuekong Ukut, said he was elated that the Governor found him and his colleagues worthy to serve in the highest capacity in the public service, noting that although the selection process was rigorous, the outcome has brought him a sense of fulfillment.

In his remarks, Dr. Ekpenyong expressed delight to be involved in adding value to the state public service as a permanent secretary and added, "I am ready to give all that I have, professionally and otherwise, to deliver on the oath I have taken. I promise that at whatever Ministry I'll be deployed to, I will impact and make the Governor happy that he had chosen me as a permanent secretary".

On her part, Barr. Eyo-Nsa, who said that prior to her elevation, she was the longest serving Director of Public Prosecutions in the state for a period of four years, appreciated God for rewarding her labour of love to the state and pledged to deliver her best in her new capacity.

The ceremony was witnessed by the State Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, the State Chairman of the PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, Head of the State Civil Service, Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan, Director General of the Divine Mandate Organization, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, members of the State Executive Council, Permanent Secretaries and Chairmen of Boards and Commissions as well as family members of the new appointees.

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