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Leading Akwa Ibom PDP governorship aspirant, Umanah, set to defect to APC

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A leading governorship aspirant of the Peoples
Democratic Party, PDP, in Akwa Ibom State,
Umanah Umanah, says he has concluded plans
to defect to the opposition All Progressives
Congress, APC.
Mr. Umanah served as the Akwa Ibom
Secretary to the State Government, SSG, until
July 2013 when he resigned his appointment
to pursue his ambition to succeed his boss
come 2015.
However, after his resignation and
declaration, it became clear that he did not
have the support of his former boss, who has
since made his preferred candidate in the
race known to the people of the state.
Apart from his interest to see his successor
come from Eket Senatorial District, Governor
Godswill Akpabio has also openly declared his
support for Udom Emmanuel, the immediate
past SSG, who succeeded Mr. Umanah after
the latter’s resignation.
Mr. Emmanuel also resigned from office last
month to contest the governorship race.
With such open support by the governor,
followers of the politics in Akwa Ibom say it
was becoming pretty obvious that aspirants on
the platform of the PDP in the state from
other senatorial districts (Uyo and Ikot
Ekpene) would not stand a chance of realizing
their aspirations.
Mr. Umanah, who comes from Uyo Senatorial
district, is said to be one of the prime targets
of the governor’s decision.
But, determined to realise his ambition, Mr.
Umanah told PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday in a
telephone interview that he was ready to
formally defect to the opposition APC in the
state.
He said a formal declaration of his
membership of the APC was scheduled for
Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Thursday
in a ceremony to be attended by all national
officers of the party, including one of the
party’s presidential aspirants, Muhammadu
Buhari.
Others expected at the declaration include the
Speaker of the House of Representatives,
Aminu Tambuwal, who also defected from the
PDP recently; a national leader of the party,
Bola Tinubu; as well as Governors of Rivers
and Kano states, Chubuike Amaechi and
Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Giving insights to Mr. Umanah’s decision, his
media spokesperson, Iboro Otongaran, said
his defection to the APC has nothing to do
with Mr. Akpabio’s preference for another
aspirant.
“The decision to move does not have anything
to do with Governor Akpabio’s declaration
about his preference in Udom Emmanuel or
anybody,” Mr. Otongaran said. “It does not
matter who the governor prefers. As a citizen
of the state he has a right to prefer one
person over another.”
Mr. Otongaran, however, blamed the decision
on the National Working Committee, NWC, of
the PDP, which recently issued a statement
through its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa
Metu, barring Mr. Umanah and other aspirants
from Uyo Senatorial District, except those from
Eket Senatorial district, from contesting the
governorship elections in the state come 2015.
On his chance of realising his ambition under
APC, with array of contenders already lined
up to slug it out for the party’s ticket, Mr.
Otongaran said Mr. Umanah remained
unaffected, as he was the “real issue in the
politics of Akwa Ibom State.”
“Whether Umanah Okon Umanah is in PDP,
Labour Party, APC or Accord Party, he will
still be the issue. In fact, even if there was a
provision in the constitution for an
independent candidate, he will still be the
issue.
“The issue is not which party would brighten
or dim his chances of winning the elections
in Akwa Ibom State, because the Umanah
brand is the real issue. People are interested
in him irrespective of the party he is flying
his flag,” he said.

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