The immediate past senator, who represented Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, and former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Sen Chris Ekpenyong, has revealed the mystery behind the incessant rifts between state governors and their deputies.
The former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, in an interview with Vanguard also highlighted how he was able to scale through as a deputy during his tenure.
He stated that one of his most challenging times was when he served as a deputy governor, describing the position as a “cocoon.”
Senator Ekpenyong disclosed that the challenge was either the deputy agreed with the governor or be prepared to start having issues with his boss.
He opined that the flying news about governors threatening to impeach their deputies is as an aftermath of variance of views.
He opened up that in his time, he endured till he could not take it anymore.
On how he was able to survive it, he said that when he had a contrary opinion to that of the governor, he would always beg to air his contrary views.
According to him, “The most challenging was being a deputy governor. I was in the House of Assembly at a young age. And I love the legislature because I can express my opinions freely. But being a deputy governor, it was as if I was in a cocoon.
” It is either you agree with the governor or you have issues with him. But in my case, when I had a different opinion, I would say ‘’I beg to disagree, sir.’’ There was a case Attah was presiding over and he said we were going to tax every household in Uyo. He said each household must pay a water bill and have a water system. But the infrastructure for them to have a water system wasn’t provided and you want to tax them. At the Executive Council, I told the governor that with due respect, I would challenge the decision in court if the government goes ahead with it. I said there was no need to tax people for services we haven’t provided.
“At the time, people didn’t have water. Long before then, in my house in Ikot Ekpene, I sank a borehole. I did the same thing for my late mother-in-law in 1989. She was a popular caterer at the time. You can’t tell her to pay taxes when she hasn’t benefited from the public water system. I insisted that I would challenge the decision in court. They said I was a deputy governor, but I said it didn’t matter.
“When I listen to what is going on with some deputy governors and their governors, it is always the deputy governor who is threatened with impeachment or is impeached. It is because their views are at variance with their governors. In my time I had to endure until when I couldn’t endure anymore. As deputy governor, I was always representing Attah at the Council of State meeting and other meetings at the Villa.”