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No Cult Member In Akpabio's Cabinet - Umana OKON UMANA - Politics - Nairaland

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No Cult Member In Akpabio's Cabinet - Umana OKON UMANA by rooftech: 7:55pm On Jan 08, 2016

How is Akwa Ibom?
In my opinion, I think Akwa Ibom is working. We are meeting our targets and objectives under the administration of Governor (Godswill) Akpabio. The people are excited because what we have been able to accomplish over the last two years is quite evident. If you come into the state, you can see for yourself that the state is being transformed in a very dramatic way. You can see that we have committed a lot of funds - over N200 billion - to the rehabilitation and construction of roads and (other) infrastructure. These projects are real and they are projects that impact directly on the lives of the people because if you rehabilitate a school, upgrade a health centre, provide electricity, potable water; these are basic needs that impact directly on the lives of the people. The approach to development has been holistic; not just roads that you find when you come in. We have massively invested in state and federal roads. I want to say our approach has been total development of the whole state.
How do you approach development?
Our units of development have been the wards. We have 329 wards. As I speak today, in every ward, you have at least 20 on-going projects. Every ward has the benefit of, at least, a minimum of 15 projects completed over the last two years and we have a minimum of another 20 projects which cover as I mentioned. So, it's been quite a happy story.
Both you and the governor served in Victor Attah's administration. The general expectation is that it would just be a continuation. But the argument is that there has been demolition of certain structures set up by the previous administration in which you were a part.
I don't know which structures have been demolished.
Are you saying that all the projects you inherited are going on, and there aren't some of them you decided to delete from your own programme?
No, certainly not. The major ones like the five-star hotel project. At the time this administration came into office, about 17 out of 160 rooms were already completed. So the current administration committed funds and ensured that the project was completed within the first 12 months. So, that is a good example of an inherited key project that has been completed. Then the power project, which is virtually completed for which we spent over N5 billion to get it to where we can say it is completed, and the gas issues are being sorted out. I think we are talking about 185 megawatts and Akwa-Ibom requires just 70 megawatts. The balance will go to the national grid. The science park was also inherited, but the contractor has issues with the government because reports that went to the governor indicate that money released for that project was not commensurate with the work executed by the contractor. So, that is why we've had a delay. It is not abandoned. If the contractor has to refund money, government should ensure that he refunds money and terminate the contract.
Are you probing Attah's administration on that project?
We are talking about the contractor; it is the contractor who got money. So if he got money for a job he did not do, then the normal thing is to ensure that government is protected, and if funds have to be refunded, funds will be refunded. I don't see any other project that has been abandoned.
What about the university project?
The university project really had not taken off. It was basically a concept. The site had been acquired. So when the current administration came, an appraisal was done; that was why an appraisal committee was set up to review even the concept of the university and to advise government on the way forward. Once that report was received, government followed that by appointing the acting vice chancellor. We are setting up structures to ensure the take-off of the university. They will be admitting the first batch of students in the coming session, and government has committed funds to the development of infrastructure to support the university. So you can talk about modifying the concept of the university; you cannot say the project has been abandoned and I think every government has a right to review any project it inherits.
Who owns the contentious oil wells that have created trouble between your state and Cross River?
I think we should put the matter in perspective and go as far back as 1987 when Akwa Ibom State was excised from Cross River. The 75 oil wells were in Akwa Ibom State, and from 1987 to 2005, the revenue that accrued from those oil wells after the abolition of onshore/offshore oil dichotomy came to Akwa Ibom. And by 1999, when the government of (Olusegun) Obasanjo was inaugurated and payment of derivation revenues was done partially - because it was not the full 13 per cent, again the benefits went to Akwa Ibom State. So, there is no dispute as to who owns the oil wells.
How and when did the ownership move to Cross River?
That is the question that Nigerians should ask because they deserve to have an answer. Throughout the period I have mentioned, Cross River never disputed the ownership of the oil wells. The National Assembly came out with an Act to abolish the dichotomy, which had been reintroduced through the April 2002 Supreme Court judgment. This was in 2004. A few months after that, in January 2005, for inexplicable reasons, and to the shock and amazement of Akwa Ibom State, the National Boundary Commission (NBC) wrote a letter claiming that Cross River State would have the benefit of claiming derivation revenues of those oil wells. Even that letter said they would have that benefit on the basis of the assumption that in view of the on-going negotiation between Nigeria and Cameroun, there was the hope that Western Bakassi would remain in Nigeria and that would then imply that Cross River State could have access to the sea and by having that access, could be considered a littoral state and could therefore benefit from offshore oil revenue. You can see the sequence. The I.C.J. (International Court of Justice) judgment was in 2002, the NBC letter, which attempted to take the oil wells from Akwa Ibom to Cross River, was in January 2005. In June 2005, the Supreme Court came up with judgment, which declared Cross River State a non-littoral state and that judgment was based on the ICJ judgment of 2002. The implication of the Supreme Court judgment of June 2005 in a case instituted by Cross River State itself meant that there could be no dispute between Akwa Ibom and Cross River States as to the ownership of offshore oil wells because we have no maritime boundary. It is like a situation where you have a man who is dressed up as a woman and he goes and wins the Miss Nigeria (beauty pageant) crown. Once he is discovered, you take the crown away because he did not qualify in the first instance. So, as we speak today, there can be no dispute between the two states as to the ownership.
What should the Federal Government do to compensate Cross River?
The first thing is that Nigerians should be told the truth because the unfortunate propaganda that Cross River lost all oil wells because of the loss of Bakassi; it's a fallacy. The loss of Bakassi has nothing to do with the loss of oil wells. The oil wells always belonged to Akwa Ibom, even when Bakassi was part of Cross River State. The Federal Government can think through and look for ways to compensate Cross Rivers State for the loss of Bakassi; we support that. We also sympathise with Cross River because it is like somebody who earns a salary; if you are wrongly overpaid and maybe after four years, somebody discovers the error and says you are overpaid. If you have restructured your lifestyle based on the earnings that legitimately should not have accrued to you, it is a pity because to ask you to cut down on your commitment, restructure your lifestyle, certainly, everybody would feel pains. Cross River State is in that situation today because they had always had benefits of extra resources that legitimately should not have accrued to them. We will support an arrangement where the Federal Government comes up with a comprehensive package to compensate Cross River State for the loss of Bakassi, but not for the loss of oil wells because the loss of Bakassi has no relationship with the oil wells. Cross River State has not lost the oil wells because they never owned it.
Kidnapping is on the increase in Akwa Ibom; why?
That is a global issue; even the United States, with all the resources, cannot have a crime-free society. Crime is there, but the responsibility of every government is to ensure the protection of lives and property. That is the primary responsibility of every government. And I think Akwa Ibom has risen to that challenge. So, when you give the impression that things are out of hand in Akwa Ibom, I disagree with you. Kidnapping is a menace that has gradually crept into what I may like to call the cycle of crime in Nigeria. It was a Niger Delta problem, but is spreading to other parts of the country; spreading to the South West, and is worst in the South East. It is like armed robbery; it starts from one location and before long it spreads to every part of Nigeria. It is not an Akwa Ibom problem; it is becoming a national problem. People try to politicise this issue; they try to make it look as if things are out of hand in Akwa Ibom, relative to other states. The few incidents, which we have had are regrettable and unfortunate, but you cannot have a crime-free society. Some armed robbers feel that it is even easy to kidnap somebody and make money. So, government is reacting and responding to the challenges. As I speak, several persons who were involved in previous cases have been apprehended and very soon they will be charged to court. That shows that government is proactive and responding to the new threat.
Some people have said that your governor is using kidnapping as a political weapon of intimidation preparatory to 2011.
Absolutely false! Absolutely baseless! What are the facts? It is easy for politicians, who feel they don't stand a chance, to start peddling rumours. This is a democracy. Anybody is free to run for an office. But when you have politicians who, maybe, are bereft of ideas and think the only way they can prepare for office is to embark on campaign of calumny, smear campaigns, to run down the incumbent; that is simply what these people are doing. I can give you an example. About two weeks ago, two brothers were murdered, and before the police could settle down to investigate the case, you had some misguided politicians issuing statements that those who were killed were his political associates. Then a few days after that, the killers were apprehended in Calabar by the police and we discovered that one of those killed was involved in drugs; he had a place where he sold cocaine, Indian hemp. So, it was a case of disagreement between those who deal in drugs, and one of the brothers recognised the killers and they killed him. It absolutely had nothing to do with government, but somebody stayed somewhere and claimed that government was involved and his associates had been killed. That it is the kind of politics that we should not play in Nigeria of today; politics which people think they can get to higher office not because they have ideas but because they think by blackmailing and lying against others in authority, then they can stand a chance.
Some people, not necessarily politicians, say that the government of Akwa Ibom, at present, comprises of people with questionable character. To be specific, they say it is a government of cultists.
Absolutely false! When somebody is out to smear you or blackmail you because he feels that is the only weapon, there's no limit to how far he can go.
One had been told that you are a cultist.
Do I look like a cultist?
That cannot pass as an answer.
I am not and I don't know anybody in the government who is a cultist. I am not. I am not!
Have you heard people referring to you as a cultist before?
Some misguided politicians. Since they know they have nothing else, they think by blackmailing and telling lies, they can stand a chance. But Akwa Ibom has grown beyond such politics. So we can only pity these people who go round telling these lies.
What did you see in Akpabio, from day one, that made you support his ambition to be governor of Akwa Ibom?
I saw the same thing other Akwa Ibom people who gave him massive support saw. He was my colleague on the cabinet and had ideas about how he would move the state forward. He discussed those ideas with some of us who were his colleagues and I was convinced that given his background, he was adequately prepared to transform the state. He has not disappointed those of us who put our faith and trust in him.
Some of the people who supported you at that time are saying they made a mistake to have believed you. Yet you say you are not disappointed.
I don't know who you are talking about. But I read your interview with Senator Akpanudoedehe who is my very good friend. I pray for him all the time. I think he is disappointed now that he was dropped as minister. I have been praying that he gets over this disappointment because the President has the right to hire and fire; so the fact that he was dropped as minister does not mean that he cannot carry on with his life or he must look for imaginary enemies. At the time before the primaries, anybody who was your friend could share thoughts and discuss strengths and weaknesses of the various candidates. We were in a discussion as friends, and I said: I have looked at all the candidates, and I think Akpabio has what it takes to govern Akwa Ibom and move the state forward; that of all the aspirants, I thought he was the most credible and the one with ideas and programmes. It was my opinion, I told him so. But if he is holding that against me today, it is unfortunate. And he is holding it against me simply because he was dropped as minister.
Are you saying the government of Akwa Ibom was not behind his removal as minister?
Certainly not! Mr. President has the prerogative to hire and fire. Anybody who serves as minister serves at the pleasure of Mr. President.
Have you told the governor that you want to contest in 2011 as governor of Akwa Ibom?
No, I am not contesting against him in 2011. I have no such intention. I am happy he is doing very well; he has my full support and blessing to continue and to seek a second-term mandate.
Re: No Cult Member In Akpabio's Cabinet - Umana OKON UMANA by rooftech: 7:55pm On Jan 08, 2016
Did you at anytime go to Senator Akpanudoedehe to tell him about your ambition in 2011?
Why should I? I have no reason to. I haven't seen him. He doesn't call me. After his removal as minister, he stopped calling us. I don't even have the opportunity to get to him, so how could I have discussed that with him. We all have our disappointments, but you don't continue to put the fact of your personal disappointment on the heads of imaginary enemies. It doesn't make sense. You see, my friend is paranoid. That is why I won't stop praying for him. He is paranoid about enemies. If he wants to be governor, it is his right. But he must come out to convince the people of Akwa Ibom that he has something to offer that is better than (what) the incumbent governor (is offering). It will not be through blackmail or the attempt to distort facts and introduce ethnic politics and cause division in the state. That would be unacceptable.
People are surprised that this present administration in Akwa Ibom has a problem with the former governor, Attah, because this is more like an offshoot of his administration.
I don't see any fundamental problem. If there were problems, you can see the simplest way the current administration has carried on with inherited projects. That is an indication that, fundamentally speaking, there is no problem. But disagreements are expected. You cannot have a situation whereby there can be no disagreements whatsoever. They are expected in politics.
You don't seem to accommodate suggestion.
We certainly do.
How come there was disagreement when Attah made some suggestions on the establishment of the Tropicana project?
He expressed his views. You had all kinds of people entering the fray to respond not really on behalf of government. A lot of people who responded were not speaking for government. But you know on Tropicana project, he expressed his concerns about the size of land available for the project. Government came out to make a clarification that we had 82 hectares and that we have more than enough land and the concerns about parking space should not arise. We also addressed the issue he raised about environmental impact assessment (EIA); we assured that a feasibility study was done before we embarked on the project. The other emotional reactions were done by other people; not government. So you cannot say that we don't accommodate suggestions or disagreements. But you know that sometimes, people can react on the basis of incomplete information. So in that case, as a government, what we did was to provide the information.
You served a commissioner in the Finance Ministry under Attah, and today you are the SSG, can you assess the two administrations.
I think it is an unfair question. Let the outsiders assess us.
Outsiders know very little. You are an insider.
Well, outsiders should get the facts. In any case, it is not a contest where a man who is there today will be acting just so that people can say he out-performed his predecessor; that is not the issue. Akpabio had his programmes from day one; he presented those programmes to the people of Akwa Ibom State and he has been faithful in the implementation of those programmes; so how would the people of Akwa Ibom assess him in another six years from now? We leave that to posterity. It is not for a participant like me to make the assessment. I am too modest to make the assessment.
Are you pretending to be calm because people say you could be combative and tempestuous?
I can say one thing: I know that I am principled. I have the fear of God in whatever I do, and when I am committed to a cause or I hold a position, I put in my all. Just because I am principled, and I stand by what is right, and I tell the truth at all times, I know I am likely to displease a lot of people. I ensure that what is right for the generality of our people gets done. If we are committing resources to improve the quality of lives of the generality of our people, and a few persons who feel that maybe those resources should be diverted for the benefit of just a handful of people are displeased, then I think it is better to serve the generality of the people because that way, we are also rendering service to God.
Why are you so confident about Akpabio?
By all the benchmarks, he has done well. You know when he came on board, people thought we were going to have all kinds of ethnic frictions, but he came and through the appointments he made, he gave every section of the state a sense of belonging. I am Ibibio and I can say that since the democratic dispensation, this is the first time you are having the SSG outside the immediate domain of the incumbent governor. So, he has broken new grounds for the benefit of Akwa Ibom State. Merit has been the issue; it does not matter where you come from, and the same thing has been done in the distribution of amenities and projects. So when you find some of these people who want to play the ethnic card and talk about marginalisation of Ibibio, I know they are not talking about Akpabio; they must be talking about some other governor.
Is it just because the appointment favours you personally?
No, because even in terms of appointments of Personal Assistants (PAs) and Special Assistants (SAs), about 75 per cent are Ibibio, even his personal physician. This shows you a man who is exposed, detribalised and has broken all the old ethnic barriers. So, for me, he is the leader Akwa Ibom needs today. By the power of his example, he is taking Akwa Ibom to that new level where when anybody comes out to aspire for office, people would look at his credentials, his background, antecedents and would judge him by the strength of his character, by the strength of his experience, by the strength of his ideas.

Culled from the Sunday independent,july19,2009
Re: No Cult Member In Akpabio's Cabinet - Umana OKON UMANA by adook1: 6:22am On Jan 10, 2016
APC for all i care is too wicked to give this man evil their ticket,as facebook governor of Akwa ibom state,a man who buried the broom and ordered the deaths of hundreds of ACN faithfuls, i really wonder where buhari and tinubu are steering akwa ibom to.
These man that is so corrupt than corruption,the only civil servant in the world that owns a refinery, a huge joke.umana is morally wrong flying the apc ticket.

Truth is that nobody good exist on the guber tickets.akpabio left us with his boy boy on Pdp ticket and his accomplice on apc ticket.
Re: No Cult Member In Akpabio's Cabinet - Umana OKON UMANA by adook1: 6:33am On Jan 10, 2016
UOU waz the Chairman FGPC [Finance and General Purpose Commission] for 7 good yearz. No contract waz signed, approved or paid without hiz expresz approval. Because of FGPC he automatically headed the Inter-ministerial direct labour project az SSG and OBA waz just the Chairman. Every hotel accommodation in the state waz paid for by iz office. Every single car bought by the last administration waz carried out through hiz office, even Prince Akpabio got clearance from the SSG'z office before he brought in hiz own carz. Aniekpeno Nkpanang got all moniez to host Xmaz Carol Nightz from UOU'z office az SSG. Every publication, both in the print, online, radio and TV about Senator Akpabio'z administration waz printed by UOU (so he waz the architect of the uncommon lie), etc. Of all thiz how many people benefited from him? Doez he even have a brother? A man who haz spent over 25 yearz of hiz life in the parlour of power? He waz Director Budget office, became Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance, waz Finance Commissioner for 8 good yearz and SSG for close to 7 yearz? Must he become a governor before he can hear people cry? Must he become a governor before he rememberz that hiz wife'z village haz a dilapidated, rejected and abandoned Primary School? Ask UOU if he haz consulted hiz wife'z community and elderz? "Shame no gree am, abi?"
A man who haz seen what AKPABIO did for hiz brotherz and wive'z people but failed to do so for hiz people should not and must not be given a chance to rule Akwa Ibom State in the name of "change." Because even the Bible admonishez uz that "a man who cannot take care of hiz "family" especially those of hiz own household iz worse that an infidel.
Akwa Ibom State iz not for sale. We will reject thiz man and hiz cohortz with everything we've got left.
God blesz the good people of Akwa Ibom State.

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