The immediate past Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio says defeated candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Umana Umana had his blessings ahead of the governorship elections in the State.
Akpabio in an interaction with an ardent critic of his administration and US-based social activist Thompson Essien, narrated that contrary to speculations in some quarters, he was actually impressed with his former secretary to the State Government when he consulted him on his gubernatorial ambition.
Akpabio said it was Mr Umana Umana’s refusal to resign his appointment in order to contest the election, accounted for the problem between the two of them.
“Listen to me, my brother. Umana Okon Umana and I have gone a long way. Umana was like, and is still like, a real brother to me. When Umana made it known to me that he wanted to contest the election, I had no problem, in fact, I was happy for him.”
Akpabio maintained that, “The problem began when I told Umana that he cannot remain in the employ of the government and contest for political office. He did not appreciate my telling him that. In the final analysis, he had to go.”
It would be recalled that while still serving as SSG, Umana in July 2013 addressed a press conference, announcing himself as the then Governor Akpabio’s successor.
His aides later organized a campaign at a popular hotel on Dominic Utuk Avenue in Uyo, to kickstart his campaigns.
At the campaign in collaboration with the now noiseless Friends of Umana Umana on Facebook, the then SSG was described as the midfield maestro and vice captain of Akpabio’s team who was inevitably poised to capture power from the ‘retiring’ captain.
Most people were surprised at the flagrant abuse of office by a public officer, and wondered why the then governor had given Umana such audacity to malign his position as a serving public officer.
Umana was however eased out of office on July 30th 2013, making room for Mr Udom Emmanuel who later resigned to contest for the governorship position where he defeated Mr Umana and a couple of other big weights on April 11, 2015 to become the fourth democratically elected governor of Akwa Ibom State.