By Margaret John; House of Assembly Correspondent
It was indeed a moment of tears in the Cross River State House of Assembly as the remains of the late Hon. Steven Akomaye Ukpupken, member who represented Obudu State constituency made its last visit to the Assembly as it held a valedictory session in his honor.
The session which took place on Friday, 20th July in Calabar, brought together past and present members of the Assembly as well as members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly led by their Speaker, Hon. Onofiok Luke and other reputable members of the Government who came to pay their respect to the deceased.
The late Hon. Upkupken who served in the 7th and 8th Assembly in various capacities was described as a man who had won a noble name through his ardent dedication to service, his enthusiasm and his consistency in making significant contributions to his port of call.
In his tribute, the Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade who expressed his profound grief in the unexpected departure of Hon. Steven acknowledged that with his departure the deceased had come to the end of his struggle and urged everyone present to have an inner self reflection.
“Today represents the darkest moments in the Cross River State House of Assembly. Steven’s departure has taught me a greater lesson, the lesson of humility. Today comes the end of the struggle. It saves him the agony of House sitting. It is an opportunity for us all to recast on our inner self.” He stated.
In a related speech, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon. Onofiok Luke extolled the high level of legislative prowess in Hon. Ukpukpen during their brief contacts on different occasions.
He called on fellow Legislators to “give back to the people whom you represent and cease the opportunity to foster the bond of love, brotherhood between Cross River and Akwa Ibom State to bring about the economic wellbeing of the States.”
The session was attended by the former Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, represented by his wife, Mrs. Obioma Imoke, the present Governor of Cross River State and his Deputy, Senator Ben Ayade and Prof. Ivara Esu respectively leading other dignitaries from the State.
Late Hon. Akomaye Ukpukpen Stephen was born on the 26th of December, 1968 and died on the 30th of May, 2018 (49 years).
Late Hon. Stephen Akomaye Ukpukpen was first elected into the 7th Assembly in 2011; he was the Chairman of Culture and Tourism Committee.
As part of his track record as a legislator, late Ukpukpen moved 3 motions (Motion calling on the Government to Develop and Sustain the Annual Primary and Secondary Schools Sports Calabar in Cross River State. Tuesday 1st July, 2011; Motion calling for the institutionalization of a Culture and Tourism festivals calendar across the 18 LGAs in Cross River State. Thursday 22nd December, 2011; and motion calling on Youths, Graduates, the unemployed and Businessmen in Cross River State advantage of the South-South Entrepreneurship Development Centre established by CBN in Calabar. Thursday 27th February, 2014).
He also presented 2 reports (Report of Joint Committee on Culture and Tourism/ Judiciary on the Cross River Historical/ Heritage Properties (Preservation) Bill 2014. Dated 6th May, 2014; Report of the Joint Committee on Culture and Tourism/ Judiciary on the Cross River State Carnival Commission (Amendment Bill 2014). Date Wednesday 5th November, 2015).
The deceased was re-elected into the 8th Assembly for a second term which has never happened in his constituency, and was inaugurated on Thursday 11th June, 2015.
His record in the 8th Assembly shows that he wasn’t a principal officer but was Chairman of Public Accounts Committee, Vice Chairman of Solid Mineral Resources Committee, member of Tourism and Event Management Committee and member of Lands, Housing and New Cities Development Committee.
He sponsored 2 Bills which are: Cross River State Kidnapping (Prohibition) Bill-2015. Dated Wednesday 26th August, 2015; Cross River State Produce (Enforcement of Grades and Standards of quality) Bill. Dated Thursday 15th May, 2018.
Late Akomaye moved just one motion calling on the 8th Assembly Cross River State House of Assembly to adopt all the reports on the audited accounts of the State and Local Government pending in the PAC carried from the 7th Assembly. Dated Tuesday 1st September, 2015.
He also presented a matter of urgent public interest titled: The State of Insecurity in Cross River State, on Tuesday 7th July, 2015.
The former Obudu representative also presented 6 reports titled and they are: Report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the Audited Accounts of Etung Local Government for the year ended 31st December, 2009. Dated 2nd July, 2015. Reports of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the Audited Accounts of the Government of Cross River State for the year ended December, 31st 2010. Dated Wednesday 4th November, 2015. Report of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the Audited Accounts of Biase Local Government Area for the year ended 31st December, 2010. Dated Wednesday 8th February, 2017.
Others are: Reports of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the Audited Account of Ikom Local Government Area for 2010. Dated Tuesday 4th April, 2017. Report of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the Audited Accounts of Obanliku Local Government Area for the year ended 31st December, 2010. Dated Tuesday 6th June, 2017. Report of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the Erosion Trailing the management of Cross Cocoa Estate in the State. Dated Tuesday 28th November, 2017.
Below are pictures from the valedictory session by CrossRiverWatch Efa Sunday.
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