Home Uncategorized I’m Raring To Get To Work, Says Umana 

I’m Raring To Get To Work, Says Umana 

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Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana

By ETIM ETIM

A cross section of Akwa Ibom people and other Nigerians gathered in an upscale event center in Maitama, Abuja this afternoon to eat and drink with the new minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, in celebration of his   appointment. There were fine wines, good food and witty speeches laced with political insinuations. And of course, there was music. Guests were mostly civil servants, politicians, businesspeople, deal makers, friends, family and old schoolmates, among many others. The event lasted just about two hours after the freshly minted Minister arrived with his wife, Pastor Florence Umana, at about 2pm. But a lot of people have been waiting since mid-morning. Trust Nigerians!

Among the guests that I could easily recognized were Atuekong Don Etiebet; DIG Ekpo Ekpoudom; Obong Nsima Ekere; Senator Bassey Albert; Dr. Efiong Akwa; Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke; Dr. Ita Udosen and Chief Soni Anyang. Others are Chief Bassey Dan-Abia; Mr Austin Ekanem; Senator Ita Enang; Rt. Hon. Nse Ntuen; Mr. Michael Etim (McJoe); Mr Solomon Umoh (SAN); Chief Victor Iyanam; Rt. Uwem Udomah; Dr. Amadu Attai; Dr. John Harry; Mr Akan Udofia; Chief Ben Ukpong;  Hon. Pat Ifon; Otuekong Franklyn Isong; Dr. Emem Wills; Rt. Hon. Engr. Anietie Umana; Deacon Eno Efiong (Rice City) and Hon. Ekerete Ekpenyong. There were many other guests from other parts of the country – well dressed and good-looking. It’s clear that they represented the top middle class who are not easily worried about the price of cooking gas.

It was indeed a bipartisan collection of the best of Akwa Ibom and other Nigerians. I’m sure that Senator John James Akpanudoedehe would have been there but for his political engagements in Akwa Ibom. We missed his effervescent presence.

When it was time for goodwill messages, three people were called up the podium to speak in this order: Atuekong Don Etiebet; Senator Bassey Albert and Obong Nsima Ekere, all three representing the three senatorial districts in the state.

Atuekong went into history, recalling his first meeting with the Minister in 2006 and the Minister’s brilliant public service career. Atuekong touched on the politics of 2015 in the state, the betrayals, the disappointments and the pain. He paid tributes to Mr. Umana, describing him as a man of character, integrity, honour and competence. As Atuekong was digging deep into the past, linking it to the present and pontificating about the philosophical underpinnings of life, someone leaned over to me and whispered into my ears, ‘’Atuekong is a credible Witness to History’’. I chuckled. My mind went straight to a BBC programme so titled. It’s one of my favourite programmes.

Senator OBA who played a commendable role during Umana’s confirmation hearing in the Senate, noted that whatever role he might have played in the Senate was his own modest way of paying Umana back with the same kindness he had extended to him earlier in his career as a banker and commissioner in the state. The audience applauded.

Obong Nsima Ekere was obviously in a cheerful mood. He recalled his days working with Umana during the administration of Gov. Godswill Akpabio – Ekere as deputy governor and Umana as SSG. He noted that Umana’s capacity is in no doubt. ‘’Sir, you were the engine room of that government. You worked hard and contributed a lot without seeking adulation. Infact, you were humble enough to step back and allow another person to take the credit’’, Ekere said. Again, the audience liked that and clapped. As the speeches were going on, more and more guests were arriving, getting the stewards to work increased tempo.

It was now time for the celebrant respond. Those who were looking forward to a long winding speech were disappointed. Typically, a man of few words, UOU thanked all guests for coming from Akwa Ibom, the South-South region and other places. He particularly asked Senator OBA to extend his gratitude to the Senate and its leadership. The Minister appreciated his Permanent Secretary and the management of the Ministry for ‘’getting everything ready for me to hit the ground running’’. He then closed with these words, ‘’I have noted all the speeches with all the political contents therein. I will not make any political statement. For me, I’m raring to get to work’’.

With that the party ended, and the other party commenced.

Etim is an APC chieftain in Akwa Ibom State and Media/Public Affairs Consultant

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