I recently read Obong Umana Umana’s online publication in which he referred to me as a “tout”, apart from spewing several other vicious, but false invectives on my person. My first reaction was that of amusement; not just because Umana advertised his absolute ignorance, but also because I satisfied myself that true to type, he would employ no other weapon except his trademark, ignoble vehicle of falsehood to press home his ignorance and dishonesty. Honestly, Umana cut the picture of a very desperate man; a drowning man looking for straw to clutch on; and I wouldn’t ordinarily bother to dignify him with a response, but will inconvenience myself in this instance, for the benefit of the younger generation, who may be misinformed or ignorant of the pertinent issues. In the context, I will attempt a point by point rebuttal of Umana’s diatribe, with a view to buttressing the fact of his superlative desperation and depravity.
Umana referred to me as a “thug”. Well, this is contradictory; because he also referred to me as his “friend” and his “brother”. Now, how could Umana who wants the public to believe he is a noble man, befriend a thug? Umana seems to forget his long history of activity related to thuggery; and this I will highlight in the course of this publication. He also does not seem to note that I do not belong in his confraternity, cult, or whatever; and so I wonder what bond of brotherhood we share. Again, his reference to me as a “motor park boy” couldn’t be further from the truth; but then, it would have provided the perfect background for a ‘rags to riches’ story, if it had been so divinely ordained. Fortunately or unfortunately, it was not; and for the benefit of posterity, I will delve a little into history. Without meaning to sound immodest, I was born into a comfortable home; and enjoyed the benefit of a good education. I began my education at Jubilee School, Offot; from where I proceeded to Holy Trinity School, Mbiakong; and thereafter worked with Chie Diana Abasi Umondak at Dajucom Nig. Ltd. I later gained admission into UNIUYO where I graduated in Sociology/Anthropology; and subsequently bagged a Masters in Sociology of Development from UNICAL; and a Doctorate from the same University. Presently, I have just completed a course in ‘Leadership In Crisis’ at Harvard University. I lay no claim to being a saint, but in my imperfections, I have stood up for truth and justice; and for the records, at no time did I ever work in the motor park as Mr. Umana Umana has falsely and mischievously claimed.
Umana’s claim that I bought my degree from UNICAL is quite funny; small wonder GLOBAL CONCORD in one its past editions referred to Umana Umana as a “Funny Man”. If he claims I bought my degree from UNICAL (his own alma-mata), then, he is simply telling the world that he could have bought his as well. So Mr. Umana, how much did your own degree cost? Again, for the records, I am well informed of the fact that Umana was a dull student who always rear-ended his class academically. He alludes to having been an exceptionally bright student, but then certain questions arise. In 1980 when he graduated from UNICAL, multinational companies and banks often visited the Economics Departments of Nigerian Universities to interview bright students for employment. If Umana was as brilliant as he wants us to believe, then how come he ended up in the classroom, as a teacher in School of Basic Studies Akamkpa, where his only known achievement was to marry his student? This is no attempt to downplay the importance of the teaching profession, which I acknowledge to be the ‘pillar’ of formal enlightenment, but then, most of Umana’s mates in UNICAL were employed in the Civil Service, and in large companies; so what initially happened to that ‘very bright’ Umana?
Umana described me as “uncouth”. I wonder what his rationale for this description was. The great William Shakespeare once said: “There is no art to find the mind’s construction on the face”. The renowned author was as philosophical as he was factual in this submission, because the face does not necessarily describe the individual; just as Umana’s (sober-as-a-monk-in-meditation) face, belies the fact that he possesses the heart of a savage. Remember that it was this same Umana who was the “engine room” of Godswill Akpabio’s administration between 2007 and 2015; and that the administration recorded an unprecedented number of incidences of kidnappings, murders, assassinations, grand theft, injustice, judicial emasculation, impunity, and sundry other ills. I was even a victim of that callous and insensitive administration, when I was falsely charged with treason, murder, arson, etc; and so wonder what gives Umana the moral audacity to refer to me as a “thug”. His claim that I have also “insulted” elders is also very baseless because Umana needs to acknowledge the fact that all over the world, politicians agree to disagree and vice versa. It is time he realizes that the language of politics is ‘Conflict and Resolution’; and its motto is ‘No Permanent Friend and No Permanent Enemy’. If there were no differing views in politics, then it would not be Politics.
Umana said I was removed as Chairman of Uyo Local Government Area. This lie can be disproved by the facts, as I am about to relate. I am a principled man; and resigned my position as Chairman on grounds of personal principle. On account of the proliferation of parks in Uyo Metropolis, I exercised my power as Local Government Chairman, and closed down the parks, with a view to relocating all the transport companies to a central location. The Military Administrator at the time differed with me and directed me to open one of the parks (The Young Shall Grow), for reasons best known to him. I considered that as an affront on my authority and good intentions, and decided to resign. My resignation letter is still in the archives of the Uyo Local Government. So Umana’s claim lacks any modicum of truth. When he also claimed that I was suspended from the National Assembly; he didn’t state the full facts. The issue in the Senate is clear. I went to court to challenge the National Assembly for not observing its own rules, by overriding the veto of the President by a sitting quorum, instead of the full house. I won my case in court, and my suspension was lifted within two weeks. If anything, I set a precedent in the matter; and I am happy that at the national level, I performed well-enough; in cognizance of which I was nominated by ‘This Day’ newspaper, among the Best Eight Performing Ministers in Nigeria, under the President Umaru Yar’adua administration.
It is absolutely ridiculous and misplaced for Umana Umana to say that I (Distinguished Senator John James Akpanudoedehe) need prayers; and that he is praying for me. How would I need prayers from an irresponsible man; who himself needs prayers of deliverance from the spirit of serial philandering? This is no attempt to besmirch Umana, but I am simply stating a fact. I have evidence to the fact that Umana Umana engages in illicit affairs with, and has fathered children from other peoples’ wives. If he wants to dispute this, I dare him to challenge me directly, and I will prove this by going public with the facts (including medical evidence obtained through DNA) from at least two other women. I know a lot more than Umana would ever believe I do; and dare him to challenge me on this score; and be certain to be disgraced.
Akwa Ibom people should not be deceived as to who Mr. Umana Umana really is. Contrary to the picture he paints of himself in the political and other fora, he is a mean man, versed in guile, duplicity, and treachery, who has betrayed most, if not all the people who have ever helped him. He began his history of political betrayal with his first political benefactor (and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah). It was Obong Attah that promoted Umana from the position of Assistant Director in the Budget Office, to that of Deputy Director; to Director; then Permanent Secretary; and finally, Commissioner of Finance. But then, Umana after enjoying all this favor from Attah, used the resources (material and otherwise) at his disposal (earned from Attah’s magnanimity), to secretly finance the campaigns of Godswill Akpabio against Attah’s preferred candidate (Dr. Udoma Ekarika), during the 2007 elections. Umana is free to campaign for, and support anyone he elects to, under our Constitution; but the fact that he carried out his campaigns, and funding secretly, and without his boss’ knowledge indict him for high level treachery.
It is common knowledge that the late (murdered) Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium (Edidem Robert James Obot) was the man who ‘rescued’ Umana Umana from his teaching job after the scrapping of the School of Basic Studies, Akamkpa; and secured his posting to the Akwa Ibom State Budget Office. This means that, but for Obong Obot’s intervention, Umana would have been posted to some other secondary school (like most of his fellow-teachers were). But when the same Obong Robert Obot was brutally and gruesomely beheaded, and fingers were pointed at the government, Umana who then served as Secretary to the Government, kept mum. Whether he was simply being timid (as usual), or feeling guilty of any sort of complicity in the matter, only God knows. But then till date, no meaningful investigations, prosecutions, or convictions have been concluded on the dastardly crime. It is a widely held view in Akwa Ibom State, and beyond, that now that the Federal Government; the law enforcement and security agencies; and the Judiciary are controlled by the APC government, Umana Umana should initiate the reopening of that case, at least to overturn the verdict of “Betrayal” which a majority of the public may have entered against him in the case of the death of Obong Robert Obot.
For the records, Akwa Ibom people should also know that it was Mr. Umana Umana that introduced Mr. Godswill Akpabio to me as a better candidate than Attah’s son-in-law, and preferred candidate for the office of Governor of Akwa Ibom State, before the 2007 elections. As proof of his treachery and clandestine politicking, he (Umana) told me that Attah and his son in law would destroy the State, and urged me to lend Akpabio my support. I was taken in at the time, convinced that no one had the right to foist a blood relative on the people as Governor; which is why I supported and subsequently endorsed Akpabio’s candidature. But I soon identified Akpabio’s mission to emasculate and annihilate the Ibibios soon after his swearing-in, and promptly turned against him; while Umana stayed on with him. Together they bought several properties either jointly or with each other’s knowledge; and built up business interests and concerns; etc. As a result of this, I state unequivocally, that as Governor, Umana Umana can never probe Godswill Akpabio. Note that at the electioneering, he never indicated such a course of action, because too much binds both men (Akpabio and Umana); and the weight of their joint holdings and commitments can never be severed by any political inclinations, ideologies, or opinions. Umana and Akpabio are one; irrespective of party or other affiliation. That is a fact that Akwa Ibom people have to come to terms with; and so his (Umana’s) foray into the APC should provoke every degree of caution, because this leopard can never change his spots. Any attempts by Umana Umana to tie me in with Godswill Akpabio, apart from the facts I have stated above, are lies. I strongly suspect to the point of near-certain conviction, that Godswill Akpabio sponsored Umana Umana’s bid for the APC ticket, and ultimately the Governorship ticket in the 2015 elections; and that any future bid by Umana would be sponsored from the same coffers. I have very strong reasons to believe Akpabio and Umana are in a conspiracy to thwart my governorship bid, by using Umana to negatively influence the traditional rulers and institutions; or to compromise the loyalty of core APC supporters. I believe Umana and Akpabio know that (as I have always said), if I am Governor of Akwa Ibom State, I will probe both of them for all the evils that befell the State between 2007 and 2015. I am convinced that this is what this evil duo are afraid of.
Umana Umana is directly responsible for betraying and subjugating several other prominent Ibibio people, in his sick bid to emerge the worthiest Ibibio successor to Godswill Akpabio. To assuage his master (Akpabio), he framed me and indicted me for killing Elder Paul Inyang by writing a letter to the President accusing me directly of this crime. But in his heart, he knew I was innocent. At the time, he did the dirty job of laundering the image of Akpabio’s government, in several instances, on AKBC; AIT; in newspapers; and in other local and national media. In all these episodes, he acquitted Akpabio’s government in positive and excellent light.
It was Umana Umana that conspired to sell off the Cooperative Development Bank (the only viable financial institution owned by the State, to FCMB), for which he negotiated and got a percentage. When he refused me a Sovereign Guarantee Letter, when I sought to purchase the NNMC Oku Iboku, he was simply betraying his selfish motive in office to empower no one except himself. He and Akpabio later purchased the company; and today the company is of no use to Akwa Ibom State. Even ex-President Obasanjo claimed to have created billionaires during his tenure as President; but who did Umana and Akpabio ever empower? Theirs was a government that left no positive legacies (not even one industry), but a cruel testimonial of blood-curdling savagery; mindless impunity; large scale theft; and economic woe.
Umana claims I have an array of cars. Yes, I may, but then I am a businessman; and earn my wealth honestly. Umana should however ask himself what qualifies him for the enormous wealth he parades. Umana is a civil servant and has been a civil servant all his life. His first entry into politics was after Akpabio had chased him out of office in 2013. Before then, Umana had lived in Osong Ama from where he relocated to a house built for him in Ewet Housing by the Italian Company ‘Gitto’. Where did he get the money to build that house? Where did he also get the money to buy a N2 Billion mansion in Maitama, Abuja; and other properties, including shopping malls in Abuja, Lagos, and elsewhere, (very many of them, in different names)? How could he also have conceived a scheme as fraudulent as the Civil Servants Pension Scheme, against innocent civil servants? He lost the 2015 elections and was later appointed Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone. His corrupt antecedents were to later show up when revelations emerged that he wasn’t appointed to the office by President Buhari (who knows that he is a very corrupt man). Remember that when the President visited Umana’s house during the 2015 campaigns, he was reported to have been baffled to the point of wondering aloud how a civil servant could amass such wealth to build such a house. Later revelations have now indicated that you paid handsomely to be appointed MD of the OGFTZ; and a probe is currently ongoing; which means Umana is certainly not sitting smug anymore. Very soon, he may have to tell Nigerians who he bribed to secure the appointment.
When Umana says he will not join issues with me, he knows I don’t belong in his class. When he says he can’t come down to my level, he provokes me; because I never belonged on his protocol level. How can a man who was an Assistant Director in the Civil Service of a State when I was a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic in 1999 compare himself to me? I contested for and won the Senate seat for the first time at the age of 37 (when he was a below-middle-level staff in the Ministry). I was a Local Government Chairman in 1996 (Uyo Local Government specifically), at the age of 36; and what was Umana then? He wasn’t even qualified to be a Local Government Secretary. I became a Minister as a youth, and opened the doors for other youths to come into elective offices in Akwa Ibom State. The greatest office Umana has ever risen to, is the appointive office of Secretary to the State Government; which he has only added corruptly to, through mind-boggling theft of public funds. I even ‘made’ the man to whom Umana owes a great chunk of his dishonest wealth (Akpabio). He (Umana) couldn’t ‘make’ Akpabio; and that is why he brought him to me. Umana should remember that he knew nothing; and that it was me (Udoedehe), who took him to ex-President Obasanjo, over the Resource Control issue; and so mine is a ‘Trail-Blazing’ Story which Umana or any other person cannot rewrite. God wrote my story, and no other person can change His signature.
Finally, the truths about Umama Umana are clear. He is an incorrigible thief; and a very big rat who has dishonestly appropriated what rightfully belongs to the citizens to himself. He should thank God that Akwa Ibom people are Christians; or else they would have stoned him to death. His dishonesty has robbed Akwa Ibom citizens of good roads, good medical facilities, industries, employment, etc. He has fed fat on the ‘good’ of Akwa Ibom, and impoverished its citizens. He is content with being the richest citizen in a State where students don’t have school chairs and desks. Akpabio afterall said that if he had stolen N5, Umana had stolen N10. That may have been why after his ouster as SSG, there was this boast that he could match Akpabio Naira for Naira; Dollar for Dollar; Pound for Pound. Umana is an inconsistent man; and has proved this on several occasions. There was a time he claimed I sold my APC ticket to him; and later denied buying the ticket from me in the presence of my Clan Head. Then, when he contested the 2015 elections and was a victim of his timidity and lack of political initiative; he didn’t admit his lapses, but blamed me for his loss, claiming I did not support him, but supported the PDP against him. Although his accusation was false, he at least acknowledged my relevance. After his loss, he proceeded to the Election Petition tribunal where he, his legal team, and supporters averred that there was no election. His inconsistency has even led to his decamping to the APC (a party he did everything to destroy from the inception) and seeking elective office. He has even brought his band of thugs on his bandwagon, including the likes of: Mac Joe, Sunny Ibanga, Nathaniel Uyoe (his PA, and a known thug and kidnapping suspect), and others who opposed APC. There is no better way to define Umana’s political legacy apart from being one of bewilderment, befuddlement, and lack of initiative; and his historical legacy as one of exploitation, deceit, and insensitivity. Except he surrenders his life completely to God, posterity will record this verdict for eternity against him.
Senator John James Akpanudoedehe.