He was certain that he would be the next governor of Akwa Ibom State. He had what it takes to manipulate the voting process to his favor; money, thugs, guns, influence, and a whole lot of sycophants. He also had the privilege of being an insider, who had mastered the intrigues and the crooked ways of his god-father, Godswill Akpabio, though what he did not know was that it was this same crooked man that would ruin his political ambition.
Umana Okon Umana thought because he was a ?house Jew,? the noose could not fit around his neck. Since 2007, when Akwa Ibom State was unfortunate to have a mad man as a governor, Umana Okon Umana collaborated with him to ruin hundreds of his own people. And it did matter who, especially if that person was considered by Umana as a threat to his quest for a higher office—governorship. In order to be the only tree standing in the forest, Umana ruined the future of many people, from deputy governors all the way down to his own driver.
Even after several warnings from some concerned indigenes, Umana was still blind to the truth that Akpabio was not the only one who did not want him as his successor; Akwa Ibom people do not want him as a governor, too. On July 16, 2013, I wrote: ?The problem is Godswill Akpabio does not want Umana to succeed him. And the problem is compounded further by the fact that Umana himself has refused to acknowledge the handwriting with visible signs on the wall that Akpabio does not want him?. Sources say at the end, Akpabio will find a way to get rid of Umana Okon Umana, no matter what.?
Few weeks after my proposition, Akpabio locked Umana out of his office. And to make Umana know that he was nothing, Akpabio sent a woman to do the hatchet job. Umana Okon Umana, the lion, who until then was the only one to roar and groan, became a sissy, disabled, impotent, and powerless to fight Akpabio. His sycophants went into hiding, the guns he had piled up to fight anyone whom he perceived as a stumbling block to his political ambition went dead. On that day, and it was a matter of seconds, Umana Okon Umana went from grace to grass, with the prefix of “ex” or “former” added to his name.
In all fairness, Umana Okon Umana had what it took to be the next governor of Akwa Ibom State, except one thing; integrity. While in the affairs of the government, this one quality was like the proverbial small-still-voice, which, unfortunately, was as elusive as the man himself that Umana found it difficult to develop. To Umana, the ultimate in life was to be a governor, even if that means killing people, framing up people for arrest, seizing of newspapers, and ruining the careers of many.
The annoying part to the entire saga is that the man who has caused his downfall is the very man Umana Okon Umana could have or has killed for. In order to please Godswill Akpabio, Umana had to trample on the leaders of his own ethnic group. He became the house-informer,?who had to tell on and turn-in anyone who dared forgot to say good morning to Godswill Akpabio. What eluded Umana were the truths that as soon as there were no Jews to kill, the sword would turn to the only one left behind the throne.
Sometimes when I hear that Umana Okon Umana is still planning on succeeding Akpabio, I would feel like sending the best psychiatrist in the world to examine his head. Even after all the disgrace he has endured, it is appalling to know that Umana Okon Umana is still running after Godswill Akpabio for anointing as his successor, and that makes me wonder about the emotional stability of the man.
Beside the disgrace from Akpabio, when Umana was removed from office, thousands of Akwa Ibom people rejoiced by dancing in the streets and drinking in bars in celebration. So what would it take to convince Umana Okon Umana that he is the governor of Akwa Ibom State that never will?
Written by ?Thompson Essien, Portland, Oregon