The office of the incumbent Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government (SSG), Obong Umana Okon Umana, has been sealed off, following his open declaration last week to contest for the office of governor in the 2015 election.
The bold declaration by Umana at a press conference which was held in the Akwa Ibom state capital, Uyo, last Wednesday, is said to have infuriated Governor Godswill Akpabio who sees Umana’s moves and desperate manoeuvres as an affront to his authority.
As at the time of posting this information, stern-looking operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) were seen manning the premises of the SSG’s office, which is firmly under lock and key in order to ensure Umana does not gain access into his office as well as forestall the looting of official documents by his loyalists.
Unconfirmed reports had it that Umana was yesterday evening relieved of his office.
This unfortunate development is viewed in political circles as having weighty implications for Umana’s gubernatorial ambition and has fuelled rumours of a serious misunderstanding between the SSG and the State governor, Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio.
The two of them have come a long way in the political terrain even as Umana is believed to have been instrumental to the eventual emergence of Akpabio’s as the governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Rumours are rife about a deal the two struck together with Akpabio agreeing that Umana would become the next governor of Akwa Ibom state in 2015 as a way of paying back his debt of gratitude, despite the agitation by the people of the Eket Senatorial district to also have a taste of the exalted office of governor.
Our sources say that although Akpabio is the governor and leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Umana is believed to have enormous clout and financial resources to prosecute his agenda and is hell-bent on becoming governor.
The SSG is perhaps the most permanent feature in the government of Akwa Ibom State for close to two decades. It is a known fact that by the time Akpabio vacates office in May 2015, Obong Umana Okon Umana would have been in the corridors of power for 16 years, having been the commissioner for finance for two terms of eight years before being appointed by the Akpabio administration into the lofty office of the Secretary to the State Government in 2007, a position that he, again, has retained in Akpabio second term in office.
Our sources hinted that Obong Umana has spent his years in government amassing wealth and building formidable political structures to enable him achieve the ambition of becoming the next governor of Akwa Ibom State.
For now, no one is sure of Umana’s current status in the Akpabio administration in the aftermath of his declaration. But, as the race for the Uyo Hilltop Mansion continues to gather momentum, observers are watching with keen interest the unfolding drama in Akwa Ibom politics.