By Our Reporter
The Association of Concerned Indigenes of Okoyong Community has warmed against any further attack by anyone against Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong.
The group, in a statement on Sunday described as unfortunate, comments made by the Cross River State Commissioner for local government affairs, Mrs Stella Odey against Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong.
In a 2 mins, 11 seconds video obtained by The Parchment, Mrs Odey could be seen accusing Chief Ekpenyong for always taking glory for what he did not do, giving the impression that he is responsible for most of the appointments in Odukpani local government area. Mrs Odey asked the people to stop paying homage to Chief Ekpenyong for what they did not do.
Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong, a close ally of governor Ben Ayade, is regarded as the political godfather of Odukpani local government area, where he has influenced the appointment of several persons. The respected banker has also been rumored to have bankrolled the election of several politicians in the state.
Obviously referring to Chief Ekpeyong, the local government affairs Commissioner said “ there are some people that are professional hijackers, they are not the one that put your name there o (for appointment) they will say I am the one that put your name”
Continuing the she said “Some of you here, whenever you get appointment you go to pay homage to Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong. Please you have to know where you stand. In politics it is very important”.
Investigation by this paper reveals that Mrs. Odey made the statement at Akpap Okoyong, while hosting some party supporters during the Christmas holiday.
Mrs Stella Odey is the wife of the Managing Director of the State Water Board Company, Mr. Victor Ekpo who hails from Akpap Okoyong in Odukpani local government area.
Although this paper could not confirm if there is political rivalry between Chief Ekpenyong and Mrs Odey’s husband, Chief Victor Ekpo, a source who didn’t want his name in print for fear of intimidation said “This looks like a supremacy war between Chief Asuquo and Chief Victor Ekpo over the soul of Odukpani politics. That is what is playing out now. These things are normal in politics. You know we are approaching a political season”
The Commissioner who also boasted that appointments made by governor Ayade far exceeds the rumored 6,000, claimed that the governor has so far made over 20,000 appointments.
“I want to let you know that it is far more than 6,000 (appointments). I am the one that supervise(s) all the local governments in Cross River. 18,000 appointments, we have five per polling unit. It is governor Ayade that is paying them. That one is just a small one, apart from all these special assistants, special advisers, governor Ayade has done more than 20,000 appointments in this state”
But the Association of Concerned Indegenes of Okoyong Community, ACIOC through their President, Pastor Effiong Ekpo said it will not tolerate further insult against the person of Chief Asuqwo Ekpenyong by any Okoyong indigene.
“we hereby distance ourselves from the unfortunate statement made by the Commissioner for local government affairs, Mrs. Stella Odey against our revered Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong who has brought so much to Okoyong nation. We want to say that we will not tolerate any further insult from any Okoyong indegene on the person of Chief Ekpenyong.
Pastor Ekpo who said already, an apology have been sent to Chief Ekpenyong for the unwarranted insult, vowed to resist further attempt to denigrate his person.
According to the association, Chief Asuqwo has been instrumental to the successes and promotion of so many Okoyong indigenes including that of the member representing Odukpani state constituency, Hon. Francis Asuqwo, chairman of Odukpani LGA, Hon. Justina Edem among others.
“ We are saying that, HRH (Dr) Etiyin Asuquo Ekpenyong’s leadership qualities and sincere love for the people of Okoyong Community is not something we can play with. We love him, what we are enjoying today through Rt Hon Francis Bassey Asuquo, and Amb Mrs Justina Edem is because HRH(Dr) Etiyin Asuquo Ekpenyong OON made them who they are ” said Pastor Effiong.