-Ex-Deputy Governor dares Umana over 2019
-Angry UOU vows to stop Ekere’s confirmation, give condition for peace
-As Athanasius exposes Udoma, Nsima to President.
IReporters Nigerian News.
As Mr Nsima Ekere awaits his confirmation as the substantive Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by the Senate which will resumes for plenary on Tuesday 20th September, the 2015 Governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr Umana Okon Umana has intensified effort to ensure that Nsima Ekere is dropped for the position.
This reporter learnt that Umana Umana had last week sponsored some APC chieftains who are loyal to him to visit the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Tinubu on his return from medical treatment abroad to confer the good wishes of the party in Akwa Ibom on him, and also to persuade him to prevail on President Buhari to have a change of mind over the appointment of Mr Nsima Ekere as the MD of NDDC.
This reporter was reliably informed by an APC chieftain who pleaded anonymity that based on the current scheming by Umana to have Nsima Ekere dropped from the appointment, Umana has now changed the tactics by telling Tinubu and others that Nsima Ekere and Udoma Udo Udoma who is the current minister of Budget and National Planning are from the same local government in Akwa Ibom state, and that some other persons in the party from another local government should be considered for the appointment instead of Ekere.
He said that apart from sending influential APC chieftains to talk to the President, Umana has also sponsored a lot of petitions pending at the Senate against Nsima’s confirmation. He also claimed that it was wrong for the President to have considered Nsima Ekere for the appointment while those who toiled for the APC’s emergence in the country are abandoned.
The party chieftain confirmed that there is a serious fight between Umana and Ekere since Nsima was nominated by the President for the NDDC job. He maintained that the fight is not unconnected with the 2019 governorship ambition of Mr Nsima Ekere which Umana is threatened that if allow to go ahead may jeopardize his chance of getting the APC governorship ticket in 2019. He hinted that since the announcement of Nsima Ekere as the NDDC MD designate, a lot of people who used to be loyal to Umana are now pitching tent with Nsima.
The APC man further said, that currently the party in Akwa Ibom is largely divided because of the perceived goodies that are likely to come their ways through Nsima’s appointment as the NDDC boss. Others, according to him are long standing beneficiaries of Umana who are also scheming to ensure that Umana is favoured in Buhari led APC government.
Another APC chieftain from Ibiono Ibom who is an Umana’s strong ally, Mr Athanasius Okon, the National President of Buhari Friends Organization Network, Akwa Ibom State Chapter has faulted President Buhari on the appointment of people from Akwa Ibom in his government. He said that the president lacks the basic knowledge of political arrangements in the state which leads to his appointment of a Minister and NDDC MD from the same local government area.
According to him, “it is either the President does not take advice and contribution of APC leaders or he is deliberately determined to abandon the very people who supported his emergence. He maintained that none of the President appointees are card carried members of the APC, instead it is the PDP who are now dominating the appointments made by the President in Akwa Ibom so far. Mr Athanasius added that those who toiled, suffered persecution from PDP are now leaving to suffer while others who never profess Buhari or APC are the ones enjoying in Abuja today”.
Speaking further in an interview he granted THE NATION NEWSPAPER, he said “What really surprised me lately is the fact that people like Senator Ita Enang, Senator Udo Udoma, Mr. Nsima Ekere and finally Mr. Frank Samuel George, are all from the PDP, and I want to be challenged here. As I have volunteered my party’s membership registration number, apart from being a bonafide member of ANPP, AC and the CPC, let them come forward and present same for us to really appreciate who actually worked and who benefited. Apart from Senator Udoma, a known PDP man, who up till this moment has not opened his mouth to profess APC, the rest three, from my findings, claimed to be members of APC. Therefore, I challenge them to bring out their membership registration number to show when they came on board, as there is no justice where those who toiled and suffered persecution from PDP people are indeed the ones relegated to the background while erstwhile tormentors are those calling the shots”.
On whether the president was wrong in the appointment; Mr Athanasius has this to say, “I feel there is a syndicate that wrongly advised the President because he is unfamiliar with Akwa Ibom politics. Apart from coming from the same Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, both the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator (Barrister) Udoma and Mr. Nsima Ekere, who was one of the PDP governorship aspirants in 2015; a former deputy governor to Mr. Godswil Akpabio, are from the same Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency. The two had been prominent PDP members since 1999, and can hardly join a non-ruling party, being rich men and powerful”.
“In view of the foregoing, I am compelled to ask if Mr. President was given this important information with regard to these new APC acclaimed members and where they come from, to avoid breaching the federal character principle. A case study here is what happened to one of the key supporters of Mr. President from Niger State during the ministerial appointment. I remember that after findings proved that a ministerial nominee from Niger State was indeed from the same constituency as the current governor, his nomination was withdrawn by the President for someone else who today is the Minister of State, Solid Mineral Resources, Hon. Bawa Bwari. And it is a fact that the minister in question here is from a different federal constituency and senatorial district. I stand to be corrected”.
The Buhari man said, most of the genuine APC members, the real suffering ones, who laboured, toiled for years, praying to God for His intervention and for the change which, by the grace of God, has come today, are still wondering what has suddenly taken place. They still believe what has happened is a dream story and cannot be seen to be real in the average man’s imagination.
He also said that he is compelled to speak in respect of the ugly trend, believing that Mr. President was not properly informed about the backgrounds of the aforementioned appointees and something should be done in the case of NDDC MD now that the appointment has not yet confirm by the Senate.
Umana Umana who is very angry about Mr Nsima Ekere’s appointment has vowed to stop at nothing to ensure that Ekere is replaced without another nominee in the NDDC job. Barely few days to the senate confirmation, Umana has again intensified efforts to frustrate Nsima’s appointment.
Meanwhile Nsima Ekere seems not to be disturbed by Umana’s antics to frustrate his appointment as he has already commenced his 2019 governorship mobilization of youths in the state, promising them that NDDC jobs once he is confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as NDDC MD. Some APC members who are loyal to Nsima have already declared him the leader of the APC in Akwa Ibom state. This development does not go well with Umana and the party in Akwa Ibom.
But Nsima’s supporters have reacted to the incessant attacks by Umana and his agents on the person of Mr Nsima Ekere since his name was announced by President Buhari as the NDDC MD designate. Nsima’s men who refused their names on print have send a strong warning to Umana to desist from his evil acts because he never believed in Buhari, instead he was supporting the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakka.
According to them, Umana has never believed in Buhari, his candidate was Atiku Abubakka, then why is he crying today more than those who worked for Buhari from ANPP to APC? As far as we are concerned, Umana is an opportunist in APC. He joined APC in 2015 and bribed his way to emerged the governorship candidate of the party while the likes of Udoedehe and others were schemed out. He should also feel how it is for one to labour for something and after is schemed out.
It could be recalled that President Buhari had nominated Mr Nsima Ekere as NDDC MD and forwarded his name to the senate for confirmation before the National Assembly went on recess to resume this month for consideration. Although the Ekere’s appoint came as a surprise to many, pundits believes that Nsima’s nomination was championed by the current Minister of Transport, Ameachi who is a long standing friend of Nsima.