Judex Okoro, Calabar
Hon Williams Jonas Eteng has emerged the speaker of the Cross River State 9th Assembly.
Hon Joseph Bassey has also been elected the Deputy Speaker for the second time. While Eteng represents Yakurr II state constituency, the Deputy represents Calabar South II state constituency; both of them are third-term legislators.
The duo who emerged after a lot of horse trading, were elected unopposed by members of the Assembly on Tuesday.
In his acceptance speech, Hon Eteng thanked the members for finding him worthy to lead them, promising that he would run a transparent and accountable leadership.
Eteng called on the members to support the executive arm led by Governor Ben Ayade in his industrialisation stride and commitment to transform the state.
For the new members, he advised them to work in harmony with the older lawmakers to avoid rancour and acrimony.
But some of the members expressed dissatisfaction at the outcome of the speakership tussle, saying most of them were arm-twisted by some powerful people from the executive arm loyal to the governor.
One of the lawmakers, who did want his name in print for fear of being tagged anti-party member said: “Well we have elected the speaker on the instruction of our leaders. But it was not an easy battle because we wanted to elect our own from inside and not from outside.
“We only advise the new speaker to sit up and work for the welfare of members and ensure that we are not an appendage of the executive as it was in the last 8th Assembly.”