From Joe Effiong, Uyo
Condemnations have continued to trail the alleged suspension of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana Okon Umana, by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Nsit Ubium Chapter of Akwa Ibom State.
The chapter, which ironically, is the local government chapter from Obong Umana comes, had issued a notice of suspension to the minister for some alleged anti-party activities, one of which was that he was sponsoring the PDP gubernatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom State, who is also from the same local government.
The state chairman of the party, Obong Stephen Leo Ntukepo, had fired an immediate disclaimer calling the suspension notice fake and the act of those who seek unnecessary attention.
Further giving a fillip to the disclaimer, Obong Umana’s home ward, the Ndiya Ward of Nsit Ubium chapter of the party, also said the purported suspension was crafted by “some elements who seek to attract attention.”
“To set the record straight, the Hon Minister, Obong Umana Okon Umana has never been disloyal to his party. He is a true party man and a great leader of our party in Ndiya Ward, Nsit Ubium Local government area and a strong supporter of a unified party in our local government and the state at large.
“To this end, we state with unequivocal authority, that the Hon Minster was not and has never been suspended in his ward or anywhere else. The general public and members of our great party should disregard the information as it is a blatant lie and misleading.
“We urge members of the party to remain focused and committed to the leadership of the Hon. Minister, Obong Umana Okon Umana.” The statement as signed by Udeme Sunday Asuquo and Mario Samuel Noah, ward chairman and secretary, respectively, said.
Daily Sun however learned that the purported suspension of the minister, which was backdated to 23 December 2022, was a scam concocted by the camp of a former minister from the state, who still wants to be recognised as the leader of the party despite not holding any political office at the moment.
“His personality clash with Obong Umana still continues from the time they both served and parted ways in an acrimonious fashion in the Akwa Ibom State Government.
“It is now playing out in the NDDC that both of them have been privileged to have oversight powers.
“But the scam suspension which the chapter officials in Nsit Ubium had since dissociated themselves from, is principally due to the presidential campaign coming up in Uyo on Saturday for which the sum of N200 million is said to have been voted and the ex-minister feels the money should be channelled through him and not Umana, who is currently the leader and highest political office holder in the state from APC,” a source in the party to Daily Sun.