Ministerial Appointment: Etiebet, Umana Fight Dirty Over Position… – By Effiong Essien

**Ita Enang Intensifies Lobby
All is not well in the Akwa Ibom State
camp of the All Progressives Congress
(APC) as the former minister of
Petroleum, Atuekong Don Etiebet
engages the governorship candidate of
the party in a dirty fight on who
emerges as minister from the oil rich
State.
Our correspondent gathered that horse-
trading over ministerial appointments
from the President-elect General
Muhammadu Buhari has severed the
relationship between the two fair
weather friends and neither of them
now sees eyeball to eyeball, after getting
into a broil on who should be presented
as ministerial nominee to represent
Akwa Ibom State in the Federal
Executive Council.
Sources said the position would have
been Mr Umana’s for the pick if not for
multifarious reasons that have dogged
his path as a politician.
Firstly, General Buhari is said not to be
disposed appointing those who
defected to APC on the eve of the
election to use the party as a platform to
achieving their ambition.
Apart from that, General Buhari is also
said not to be comfortable with the
profile of Mr Umana who having spent
all his life as a civil servant is said to be
richer than the former head of State.
General Buhari is said to perceive Mr
Umana as a very corrupt public servant.
During the last Gen Buhari’s visit to Uyo
for his campaigns, he was said to have
bemoaned the extravagance lifestyle of
Mr Umana Umana, and even accused
him openly of being corrupt, a situation
which contributed to Buhari’s refusal to
accede to Umana’s subsequent
desperate campaign plea.
Our checks also revealed that Mr Umana
may also miss out of the ministerial
appointment due to his expression of
intention to challenge the election of Mr
Udom Emmanuel at the tribunal.
Our source said: “Umana cannot aspire
to be the Governor and a minister at the
same time. If he goes ahead to
challenge his defeat at the election
tribunal, he has to wait for the verdict of
the court, in this case the Supreme
Court, and if the case of Frank Okon is
anything to go by, you know it might
take UOU up to four years,” the source
said.
It is also on this last note that former
Petroleum Minister, Atuekong Don
Etiebet is also laying claim to the
ministerial slot of the State. Our
correspondent learnt that before the
former Minister recently travelled abroad
after the election, he had reached out to
APC big wigs to be considered for the
slot.
Our source said Atuekong Etiebet went
into a rage when he was reminded that
the position should be reserved for the
gubernatorial candidate of the party in
the state, Mr Umana. Etiebet is said to
have carpeted Mr Umana as greedy. He
told close associates that Mr Umana
cannot seek to be Governor and Minister
at the same time.
But Atuekong Etiebet also has his own
baggage. The albatross on Etiebet’s neck
is the $180 million Halliburton scandal
which he was clearly indicted.
In 2009, the former Oil Minister was
quizzed over allegation of having
received $50 million as his share of the
Halliburton bribe, a situation that has
made inner caucus members of the
Buhari Campaign Organization to be
skeptical about tar on his image.
But making a strong case for his
appointment, Atuekong Etiebet is also
said to have carpeted Umana for
seeking to emerge a Minister when he is
Ibibio as the Governor-elect, Mr Udom
Emmanuel. “We cannot have an Ibibio as
the Governor and another Ibibio as the
minister.
Throughout the eight years of Godswill
Akpabio as governor, no Annang person
was appointed as a Minister so it should
be the turn of Annang now,” Etiebet is
quoted as saying.
However a source close to Buhari
confided in us that neither Etiebet nor
Umana may get the ministerial slot for
Akwa Ibom as both of them have
corruption baggage perceptions that
may dent the image of the new
administration.
However, one person who may benefit
from the scenario is Senator Ita Enang,
who has commenced lobbying of highly
placed former colleagues in the APC to
curry attention. He is allegedly banking
on the fact that with neither the
incoming governor nor deputy from
Uyo senatorial district, it was logical that
his district produces the Minister.
Beyond that, Ita has made it clear that as
a senator, it will be easier to scale
through the senate hurdles, a feat
which he claims cannot be actualized by
either Etiebet a could easily be stopped
by the three senators from the State on
the floor of the senate.
“You can see how Senator Obanikoro
took a bow and sailed through on the
floor of the senate even though his state
senators refused to clear him, and to
avoid such scenario, it is not advisable
for our party to send a greenhorn for
that position to avoid unnecessary
embarrassment,” Senator Enang
confided with our source.
Currently all the three men are busy
trying to outdo each other to impress
General Buhari by engaging in resolute
open media wars against the
government of Chief Godswill Akpabio
and by extension the incoming
governor Udom Emmanuel.

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