By Sylvia Etta
Baring any last minute surprises, CrossRiverWatch has reliably gathered that the incumbent member representing Abi State Constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Hon. John Gaul Lebo, is the most favored to become the next Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly after the departure of Hon. Larry Odey.
With the total dominance of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the just concluded Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state, the party is set to produce the next Speaker of the House and with the zoning formula of the party, Senator Ayade, the Governor-Elect is from Obudu in the northern senatorial district, while his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu is from Biase LGA in the Southern Senatorial District, so the position of the Speaker has now been left for the Central Senatorial district, with the Abi born lawyer, John Gaul Lebo, been penciled down by power brokers in the state for the plumb job.
A highly placed source who spoke with CrossRiverWatch in Calabar said: “The party believes in equity and fairness as well as continuity and stability. That is how we succeeded in taking the governorship to the north. Even with the loss at the center, we in Cross River have proven that the PDP is deeply rooted in the state. The party has a governor now from the north, his deputy from the south and it is only natural that the number three position should go to the central whose tenure in the governorship will end by May 29.
“Looking at the central senatorial district again, about 19 members out of the present 25 in the House will not be returning. John Gaul is the only two time member and most senior member of the House that will be returning from the Central and it is a general parliamentary practice that only ranking lawmakers graduate into principal offices of the legislature for stability and continuity. It is in that light that stakeholders have zeroed in on Hon. John Gaul to continue to stir the affairs of the House after the very good job that Hon. Larry Odey has done.”
But in a reaction by a PDP chieftain and one of the elected members of the House of Assembly who also did not want to be named, he cautioned Ayade to be weary about the intention of those who want to handpick principal officers for the next House of Assembly.
“We all are aware of the emperor role that the outgoing governor played in this transition where so many people have been left terribly agitated and the party at the throes of implosion, the governor elect should thread carefully if all these information is true that people are already picking principal officers for a House that has not even been inaugurated.
“I thought that it is the parliamentarians themselves that will elect their principal officers and not some people outside of parliament. The governor is leaving and has already planted his cousin, Ivara Esu as Deputy, and now he is planning to plant another of his lackey. John Gaul, is Imoke’s younger brother from Abi. Imoke personally brought him from Abuja to contest election and represent his state constituency. Why is Imoke building the next set of top citizens in the state around his blood relations? Is he planning to impeach Ayade soon after taking office?”
Barrister John Gaul Lebo, hails from Ibalebo village, Adadama, Abi LGA. He is a graduate of Law, Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria since 1998, and has acquired 17 years post call experience.
He has attended Johannesburg Business School at Regenesy, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Strategic Management, Fellow Nigeria Institute of Corporate Administration, Fellow Chartered Institute of Management and a Chartered Arbitrator.
Currently completing his LLM Degree in International Economic Law. He was elected member Representing Abi State Constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly in 2011. He was voted Best Performing House of Assembly Member in Cross River State for 2013 and 2014 by the PDP South South.
He is among the members with the highest number of private member bills, and the number of successful motions on the floor of the House.
In the current Assembly, he is one of the only three members who opened a constituency office, paid constituency allowance to each of the 10 council Wards of Abi. He also awarded scholarships to students of Abi origin in higher institutions and sponsored the training of over 100 students at the Central Bank Enterprise Development Center, CBN EDC in Calabar.
He is married and blessed with 2 girls.
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