By Jonathan Ugbal
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade on Tuesday swore in 38 commissioners to complete his cabinet after 209 days in office.
The Attorney General, Mr. Tanko Ashang was first sworn in on November 27th after he, alongside two other original nominees, Peter Egba and Asuquo Ekpenyong were forwarded to the House of Assembly in a letter dated November 14th and signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Tina Agbor.
But, after what some described as a hasty screening of 36 other nominees by the House of Assembly whose names were forwarded to it on December 4th where their biographies were read and they were asked to bow and go, Mr. Ayade on Tuesday swore in the remaining 38 warning them that he will be intolerant to complacency.
“A Shakespearean theory says that a leader must not only be loved but feared. Once you lose the element of fear, you lose leadership quality. This time, I am going to exhibit that other part. That is why your appointment and swearing-in today will be in the first instance for one year.
“There is a full parastatal for performance monitoring and evaluation. Once I am given your score card and you meet 70 percent, you move on but if you dont, we reshuffle or replace you. In my first term I was tolerant, in my second term I will be intolerant. If you don’t deliver, you go. I can assure you that you will not sit on this chamber again,” Ayade said.
Excluding Messrs. George Ekpungu, Inok Edim and Sunday Achunekang, Mr. Ayade reappointed the rest who served with him in his first term.
At the event which held at the State Executive Council Chamber, Governor’s office Calabar, the governor explained that it was in keeping to his promise to return them after the elections.
Despite claiming that he will run a rather lean government, He justified the expansion of government. According to him, “The expansion of government is anchored on my belief that everybody has something to offer in life. The moment you put down somebody, you have put down a great potential. If each Commissioner executes a given mandate, you have 39 projects accomplished,” the governor said.
He said every commissioner represents a community in the State.
“Every Commissioner represents a community and that community is represented in government. The more people you bring to the table, the more you reach down the lowest level.
“I made a commitment in my first term that every one will return in my second term, as you come to the table you come to a new government. In my first term I made a commitment that everybody was going through a learning curve and I tolerated excesses, failures, inadequacies and short comings.
“I have an internal nature not to raise somebody and at the same time put that person down but such goodwill is often mistaken for weakness but it is actually a higher spiritual level.”
As expected, he outlined the duties of the commissioners in a lengthy speech and charged the new Commissioner for Transport to revive the moribund Cross River state owned Cross Line mass transit, insisting that it was time to reduce the cost of transportation for the citizens traveling in and outside the State.
New ministries were created in line with his promise made earlier in the year. These include ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Sports and Cinematography.
Despite a hasty job, he commended the State House of Assembly for thorough and speedy screening and confirmation of the commissioners saying, “you did a detailed job of the screening, you demonstrated capacity, you showed competence.”
Only about 36 commissioners were assigned roles immediately with a few others waiting till later to find out their roles.
Statistically, about 90 percent of his former commissioners returned. Only 30 percent of them retained their original positions while the remaining were redeployed.
This means that in the new cabinet, about 67 percent served with him in his first term and only about 33 percent are newcomers.
Also, only 18 percent of the cabinet is female which represents almost 50 percent less than the 35 percent affirmative action promised during the campaigns.
Below is the list released by his spokesman on Christmas day.
(1) Tanko Ashang – Attorney General and Commissioner For Justice (New)
(2)Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr- Commissioner For Finance (Retained)
(3) John Inyang – Commissioner for Lands (Retained)
(4) Dane Osim-Asu – Commissioner of Works (Retained)
(5)Godwin Amanke – Commissioner for Quality Education (Retained – formerly Establishment and Training)
(6) Asu Okang- Commissioner for Information and Orientation (Retained – Formerly Youth and Sports Development)
(7) Stella Odey- Commissioner for local government affairs (Retained – Formerly Women Affairs)
(8) Okon Owuna -Commissioner for Agriculture (New)
(9) Dr Betta Edu- Commissioner For Health (New)
(10)Rita Ayim- Commissioner for Women affairs (New)
(11) Eric Anderson – Commissioner For Culture and Tourism (Retained)
(12)Mfon Bassey- Commissioner For Environment (New)
(13)Thomas Ugat Udam- Commissioner For Foreign Affairs (New Ministry – Retained – formerly commissioner for power)
(14)Alice Ekwu – Commissioner For Establishment and Payroll (Retained – New Ministry – formerly climate change)
(15) Francis Etta – Commissioner for Special Duties (Retained – formerly International Development Cooperation)
(16)Dr Inyang Asibong – Commissioner for International Development Cooperation (Retained – formerly health)
(17) Victor Agwu- Commissioner for Power (Retained – formerly special duties)
(18). Jake Otu Enyia- Commissioner For Aviation (New Ministry – New)
(19) Mike Usibe – Commissioner for New Cities Development (New)
(20)Rosemary Archibong- Commissioner of Commerce (New Ministry – Retained – formerly information and orientation)
(21)Peter Egba- Commissioner for Industry (Retained – formerly commerce and industry)
(22)Chris Njar – Commissioner for Social Housing (Retained – formerly gas resources)
(23) Donatus Etim- Commissioner for Climate Change (Retained – formerly infrastructure)
(24)Signor Omang Idiege – Commissioner for Youths and skills acquisition (New)
(25)Ofu Ebirigor Aya – Commissioner for Sports and Cinematography (New Ministry – Retained – formerly ICT commissioner)
(26) Joe Abang- Commissioner for ICT (Retained – formerly Attorney General)
(27)Goddy Ettah – Commissioner for Water Resources (Retained – formerly education)
(28) Saviour Nyong – Commissioner For Gas Development (Retained – formerly transportation commissioner)
(29) Oliver Orok – Commission For SDG (Retained)
(30)Engr. Mike Eraye – Commissioner For Robotics & Artificial intelligence (New Ministry – Retained – formerly environment commissioner)
(31)Blessing Egbara- Commissioner for Humanity and Social Welfare (New Ministry -New)
(32) George Oben Etchi – Commissioner for Solid Mineral (Retained)
(34)Edem Okokon – Commissioner For Rural Transformation (New Ministry – Retained – formerly Social Housing commissioner)
(35)Gabe Odu Orji -Commissioner for Infrastructure (Retained – formerly water resources commissioner)
(36)Anthony Eneji -Commissioner For Training and Doctrine (New Ministry – Retained – formerly agriculture commissioner)
(37) Oqua Edet Oqua- Commissioner For Transportation (New)
(38)Itaya Asuquo Nyong – Commissioner for Petroleum Resources (Retained)
(39) John Ulafor- Commissioner For Grants and economic Empowerment (New Ministry – Retained – formerly local government affairs)
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