- How Umana Umana Emerged Governorship Candidate
In August 2014, 22 Chapter chairmen and few members of the State Working Committee of the APC, Akwa Ibom State were arrogantly suspended from the party by the then State Chairman, Dr. Amadu Attai at the promptings, behest and unilateral instruction of Senator John James Akpanudodehe. Their only sin was that they jointly demanded to be treated fairly by the then State Chairman whom they alleged to have siphoned over six million Naira (N6,000,000.00) out of Twenty million Naira that was donated to the party in the State by the then Governor of Rivers State, Rt.Hon. Rotimi Amaechi. According to those “victims”, Dr. Amadu Attai and the then State Secretary of APC, Dr. Effiong Etuk could not account for the money.
Senator John Udoedehe was fully aware of the said money, and knew that those 22 chapter Chairmen were justified in their demands and agitation; but perhaps because of his interest, his high-handedness and brazen display of might and sole rulership of the APC in Akwa Ibom State, he ordered, against all cautions, that those chapter Chairmen and some state officers should be removed from their positions. What followed was a protracted crisis in the state branch of the party. The victims approached Barrister Ikpo and filed a lawsuit against the APC, Dr. Amadu Atai and Co. in September, 2014.
The Grand Plot against Udoedehe
Even as they were engaging in a legal battle, they also opted for a political battle against Senator John James Akpanudoedehe and his governorship aspiration.
Angered by Senator Udoedehe’s blatant refusal to give them fair-hearing, those 22 Chapter Chairmen and some state officers approached Obong Umana Okon Umana and had series of meetings with him to join the APC, and assured him of helping him to secure the governorship ticket of the party. Sources revealed that Obong Umana was initially not interested in joining the APC. He gave three reasons for his opinion. One: that Senator Udoedehe would not let go the ticket for any reason, especially that he (Udoedehe) was the one that claim to own the APC structrue across the State. Secondly, that the timing was not right, maintaining that there was no time to really plan and campaign for the governorship primaries, and lastly, that he was sure of getting the PDP ticket.
The aggrieved 22 met with Umana Umana again in October 31st, 2014 went and still persuaded him to join the party. On sensing that he would not secure the PDP governorship ticket because the then Governor had openly endorsed Mr. Udom Emmanuel (because of zoning), Mr. Umana Umana officially joined the APC in November, 2014 (about two weeks to governorship primaries which was slated on December 4th).
Prior to this time, the aggrieved 22 had taken their campaign against Udoedehe to the later’s door step, and ensured that even the party registers that were in his bedroom were tampered with, and Umana Umana’s name was smuggled into the APC’s register for Nsit Ubium Local Government Area. The Senator realized this about a week to the governorship primary – And the rest is a story for another day!
Another Suspension, the same characters, the same Reasons…
Although the APC and, of course, Obong Umana did not win in the state because of politico-legal technicalities, but the party won at the National and in about 22 states. The APC led Federal Government compensated Umana and others with appointments for their supports, and Udoedehe was left out because he was seen to have played a spoiler game in the 2015 election against the APC. Then, 2019 came and Nsima Ekere became the flag bearer. The reasons for that will be discussed another day!
This month (August) makes it exactly seven years since Senator Udoedehe caused his initial political downfall in the APC by instigating the suspension of vibrant officers of the party because of interests (which were entirely his). But it is shocking to many that the APC, at the prompting of that same Udoedehe, is toeing that same route again – suspension of 17 Chapter Chairmen and some state officers – for fighting for their rights! It is disheartening to watch the Senator shooting himself at the foot again – still because of interests (which are his in entirety!).
The fact remains that the current drama in the APC is staged by the same actors who acted on the same stage in 2014. Some of these actors include Senator John Udoedehe, Hon. Nkereuwem Okpok (Nsit Ibom chapter), Hon. Ubong Ekpo (Ikot Abasi chapter), Hon. Emmanuel Akpan (Ibeno Chapter)
The only problem of history is that men do not learn from the lessons of history. This current crisis in the Akwa Ibom chapter of the APC will be the clog on the wheel of the party come 2023 unless the right things are done in the right way, and fast; too.
Thomas Thomas is writing from the Green River, Ikot Akpa, Ibesikpo Asutan.