Akwa Ibom: Tension as 2015 splits Akpabio, Umana camps
The Secretary to Akwa Ibom State government (SSG), Umana Okon Umana, may have hit the brick wall with his ambition to succeed Governor Godswill Akpabio. Days after he made public his intention to run for the office of the governor in 2015 the SSG has been reportedly given 48 hours to resign from office or be ‘fired’. Mr. Umana had last Thursday declared his aspiration to succeed Governor Godswill Akpabio in 2015.
Both Akpabio and Umana were seen by close watchers of Ibom politics as very close and share the same vision of development. Umana was generally described as the ‘anointed successor’ to Akpabio. A cab driver told our reporter that people were shocked at the latest turn of events because both men have maintained a cozy relationship right from former Governor Victor Attah days. Akpabio is seen as one of the best performing governors in Nigeria and Umana was touted as the man who would continue in that trend of ‘uncommon transformation’.
However, our investigation showed that Umana may have been a victim of the early riser syndrome. He may have declared his intention too soon and Akwa Ibom has a history that does not favour early risers. Those who keep their intentions to their chest have always ended up becoming governors. “Umana is too much in haste and he allowed his ambition to stand in the way of effectively discharging his duties”, a source in Government House Uyo told our reporter. Umana was said to have been holding too many secret meetings to the detriment of his job.
His declaration followed weeks of speculations that he was under intense pressure to vacate office and withdraw from the race, but his associates dismissed this as “blatant lies and fabricated rumour”.
His spokesman, Iboro Otongaran, had said the reports were baseless and unfounded, as it followed a similar one that he was rejected and barred him from running for the office after he was presented to President Goodluck Jonathan as the state’s PDP gubernatorial candidate for 2015.
The intrigues heightened last week when reports said he was one of three nominees, whose names were submitted to the presidency for consideration and appointment as the next Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The tension in the Government House occasioned by the ‘feud’ between the governor and the SSG has led to the deployment of unusually high number of armed security operatives at the main entrance to the SSG’s office.
The fierce-looking mobile policemen and operatives of the State Security Service (SSS), mounting security at the gate, were busy frisking every person and vehicle going in or out of the premises.
Nobody was ready to speak on the whereabouts of the embattled SSG, whose decision to declare his interest in the governorship race has been described by Governor Akpabio’s loyalists and associates as an affront and the height of disloyalty to his boss.