…UOU withholds support for Nsima’s 2019 guber

…groups loyal to ex-SSG tell NDDC MD to bury governorship ambition

…Ekere accuses Umana of working for Udom’s second term for selfish reasons

The cold war between the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Obong Nsima Ekere and his counterpart in the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Obong Umana Okon Umana has deepened.
This crisis is stemming from Umana Okon Umana’s insistence that he won’t support Nsima Ekere for the 2019 governorship election in the state.

In what may later degenerate into a full blown public spat if not nibbed in the bud, the crisis has been managed amongst APC folks in the state without getting public attention.

The quarrel started last year when Obong Umana told Nsima to bury his Governorship ambition as it will destroy the zoning arrangement of the State.

He had further narrated that if Nsima Ekere succeeds in his governorship bid, it will definitely thwart the zoning policy of the State as the NDDC MD/CEO will refuse to go for a single term. Nsima Ekere is from Ikot Abasi LGA in Eket Senatorial District, where the incumbent governor who is about to complete his (first) four years hails from.

Umana, according to our several sources in the APC, feels it would be improper for Nsima to bring confusion into the polity, instead he will advise that Udom Emmanuel of PDP be allowed to finish his 8 years from Eket Senatorial District so that power can shift to Uyo Senatorial District for a fresh contest in 2023.

On his part, Obong Nsima Ekere has been fuming over Umana’s stance. Findings by TheMail reveal that he had told party leaders and close supporters that Umana is a sadist who is very selfish.

According to our sources, Nsima told his people that since Umana got into office as MD of OGFZA, he has failed to empower or do anything for members of the party.

Still pained, Nsima has narrated his ordeal and Umana’s role in sacking him as the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State during Akpabio’s regime. The NDDC boss noted that Umana is a sadist which has made him to be the way he is today.

He also noted that instead of Umana to join forces and sack the PDP Government of Udom Emmanuel, he is busy considering his failed guber ambition come 2023.

According to our findings, it is an open secret in political circles in the state that the Nsit Ubium born former Secretary to State Government played a prominent role in the planned impeachment of Obong Nsima Ekere as Deputy Governor.

The diminutive technocrat is said to have been the one who spearheaded the hatchet job to oust Nsima from the number two position unceremoniously.

As at then, Umana and Ekere were prime aspirants for the plum job. The plan to impeach Nsima failed as some members of the Assembly who were loyal and supportive of his governorship bid leaked the information to him and he quickly resigned.

Since then, they nursed ill-feelings against each other with close supporters of Ekere confiding in the TheMail that Ekere has not forgiven Mr Umana nor forgotten his roles in the botched impeachment.

Those in Nsima Ekere’s camp who spoke to TheMail on condition of anonymity said reechoed what their principal had told close allies, saying Umana is not supporting their boss for the forthcoming governorship election because he has an eye to succeed Udom in 2019 when power rotates back to Uyo Senatorial District.

Meanwhile, Mr Inyang Unya who is the Chief of Staff to Umana Umana also told our source that Umana will never Support Nsima Ekere’s ambition as it will spoil a lot of things.

According to our source, Unya says they will instead work to return Governor Udom Emmanuel in Akwa Ibom State and President Buhari as President.

He also said to have noted that if Nsima Ekere is banking his hopes on the Minister for Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, then he has a long way to go as he will be seriously disappointed.

Unya reportedly told our source that Rotimi Amaechi has too many battles in his hands already, especially in Rivers State where Governor Nyesom Wike of PDP and Senator Magnus Abe of APC (both governorship hopefuls for 2019) are perpetually on his neck. According to our source, Amaechi will be too engrossed in the battles in Rivers such that he won’t have time to work on Ekere’s ambition.

Mr Unya also said that Nsima is trying all his best to install his faction as the Party’s Exco in the State so as to achieve his aim, but that he can bet with his life that it will never happen. Mr Inyang however asked why Nsima has not done any empowerment for the party faithful with all the money that comes into NDDC.

Political analysts and onlookers would have expected that Umana would have collapsed his 2015 structure and handover his groups to Ekere in pursuit of the latter’s 2023 guber bid, but the reverse is the case.

Umana is still adamant on supporting Ekere’s bid and his groups, including Renaissance have failed to key into the Nsima Ekere project.

Some members of the Renaissance group who spoke to TheMail told our correspondent with a condition that their names should not appear on print said that Umana has not given them instructions on the Nsima Ekere ambition.

They complained that the NDDC boss is creating division in the APC by segregating against party members who are seemingly loyal to UOU.

They said they will not support Ekere in the forthcoming election as he has not thought it wise to carry them along, advising the NDDC MD to shelve his ambition in order not to make the PDP have an easy ride at the general election.

Those who spoke to us said instead of supporting Ekere, they will rather look for an Oro candidate, such as the likes of Barr Asuquo Okpo to support as an APC candidate.

The group, Akwa Ibom Renaissance had recently bemoaned that their members have been neglected by the President Buhari administration.
According to a member of the group who divulged to TheMail, the group feels Ekere has not made efforts at recommending their members for federal appointment because he feels they are loyal to UOU. They said the dichotomy Ekere is creating in the party will affect his chances at the primary and election proper if he eventually gets the ticket.

Culled from TheMail Newspaper.

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