By Margaret John: House of Assembly Correspondent
Former new cities commissioner, Barrister George Ekpungu has declined his nomination as a commissioner by Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade.
His decision was conveyed in plenary on Wednesday by Honorable Fred Osim (PDP Ikom 1) when the names of the nominees were called for confirmation.
Osim stated that he reached out to Mr. Ekpungu the previous day via phone and got to know that the latter was not interested in the appointment.
Osim said Ekpungu did not state his reason for declining the position but conveyed his appreciation to Governor Ayade for the opportunity he was granted to serve.
Also absent was Mr. Saviour Nyong who had served as commissioner for transport and marine services with members describing his absence as “unavoidable.”
However, Mr. Nyong, Dane Osim-Asu and Goddy Etta and who had served as works and education commissioners were present and confirmed.
Some members of the House earlier expressed their concerns about the approval of the nominees as a result of lack of clarity in the report of the house committee on public service as to whether the nominees had undergone all the necessary processes.
The leader of the house, Honorable Moses Ucheche (PDP, Obanliku) who spoke on the matter stated that: “On no occasion has the House confirmed appointees who were not present. It is a good thing we did not approve the nomination because it would have been an insult to the house that we would confirm someone who was not interested.”
Members of the House unanimously agreed that the house should go ahead with the confirmation as issues were clarified.
CrossRiverWatch had reported that Mr. Ayade had directed the immediate reinstatement of all appointees who resigned to contest elections and lost out.
He had carried out a minor cabinet reshuffle where he reassigned a four commissioners to man the ministries where the commissioners had resigned.
Excluding Mr. Etta who was gunning for Senate, Osim-Asu, Ekpungu and Nyong were aiming for House of Representatives.
None had found their name on the ballot paper, CrossRiverWatch gathered and Mr. Ayade had to move quick to pacify them while he commissioned a reconciliatory team led by former Deputy Governor, Efiok Cobham to ensure members remained in the party.
Also, he appointed some contestants deemed to have spent much and are in his camp.