Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
Cross River State Chief Judge, Justice Akon Bassey Ikpeme and the Head of Service, Barrister Geraldine Akpet-Ekanem have pledged their support for the Odukpani Leadership Academy. They also accepted to be the patronesses of the academy.
They made the pledge during their separate speeches when the group visited them in their offices in Calabar to congratulate them on their appointments and to create a symbiotic relationship for the growth of the academy which has the mission of restoring peace and order not just in Odukpani local government area but, in the state at large.
The chief judge who appreciated the group for what they stand for said her assumption as the chief judge of the state was due to God’s goodness upon her. She appreciated all who were involved in one way or the other to ensure that the rule of law is maintained in the state. “I want to say that as a mother, I can never refuse the doors for my children no matter the schedule. I want to thank you for the prayers, goodwill and support you accorded to me, I thank each and every one of you.
“My sitting here is due to God’s goodness and I thank the governor of Cross River state and everyone that was involved in my appointment process. Today, my heart is gladdened and today, you have shown that I belong to a family. I will not forget this moment”, Ikpeme expressed.
On her part, the head of service was overwhelmed for the love the group has shown her. She commended their efforts in fighting youth restiveness, assuring them of her total support whenever she is called upon. She said, “I am so much impressed with what you are doing because most times it’s frustrating when you see youths being idle because of unemployment and that most times leads to restiveness. It is interesting to know that rather than the youths in Odukpani to involve themselves in crime related activities and restiveness or anything that will disrupt the peace of the community, you are now interested in restoring peace and ensuring stability in the system.
“Granted that communal crises in Odukpani are nothing new because right from when I got married in 1989 Odukpani has always been meshed in one crisis or the other; since the youths are now the ones who are interested, I will urge you to continue and much as the elites are now coming together as compared before, I will urge you people to bridge the gap because Odukpani has always had the highest number of educated people in the service.
“I believe if we are united we can do much more than we are doing. I am here to work with you people in whatever capacity that I can. For now there is now employment, but I’m working towards it and if by the special grace of God His Excellency, the governor at least in trying to revamp the service decides there should be employment, of course, I will ensure that Odukpani youths are equally employed.
“Be that as it may, I will encourage you people to synergize with relevant government parastatals and NGO’s to realize your goals. I cannot be here forever but, for the period that I will be here, I’m very willing to assist you. Please make good use of every opportunity that comes your way. I am highly honored that I should be made a patroness of your academy, I am touched and that means you have embraced me very well into your community’s activities”.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Academy, Kingsley Ikpeme said the visits were to inform them of the activities of the academy and to felicitate with them on their appointments and subsequent assumptions as the Chief Judge and Head of Service. He said Odukpani Leadership academy is an assemblage of all past students and youth leaders of Odukpani extraction who have passed through the tertiary institution. He said they have come together to see how they can give back to their local government area.
“Because of the continuous communal crisis we thought it wise that we should put ourselves together, re-orientate our youths back home on the need to shun communal crisis and other crises and allow the relevant government agencies to develop the local government”, Ikpeme noted. He also highlighted that they had visited the IDP’s in the Local Government area with other programmes aimed at ensuring that development is seen in the Odukpani Local Government area. He pleaded for their support and pledged their solidarity to their administrations.
The academy also used the medium to appreciate the executive governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade for finding the duo worthy to occupy the envious positions in the state. They noted that the appointments were as a result of their track records, hard work and commitment to duty which has endeared them to the people of Cross River.
The chairman, who stressed that the appointments were not surprising as antecedent will attest expressed optimism that both the Chief judge and the head of state will bring in their wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure that the Cross River state judiciary and civil service will be transformed for good.