Godswill Akpabio, the Senate minority leader and immediate former governor of Akwa Ibom State, was privy to the selection of the new Akwa Ibom State secretary to the state government, Emmanuel Ukuwem.
According to multiple sources with intimate knowledge of the selection process, an intense horse-trading took place in the process that led to the emergence of Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem as the new secretary to the state government.
The new SSG, a technocrat who is nationally and internationally recognised as a foremost telecommunications genius and had served as a former president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, president of Nigerian Internet Group, the immediate past board chairman of the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) and until his appointment, the president of the Teledon Group, hails from Ofi-Uda in Mbo Local Government Area of the Oro Nation.
Our source revealed that the deal to appoint the new SSG was brokered sometime last year, “the last quarter of last year to be precise”, a top inside source said, at a high-powered meeting which took place at the A-Line, Ewet Housing Estate residence of the Senate Minority Leader, Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio. In attendance at the meeting were the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Hon. Nse Ntuen, and the House Member representing Essien Udim State Constituency, Barrister Ibanga Akpabio, the current Commissioner, Ministry of Labour, Productivity and Manpower.
At the meeting, it was agreed that the immediate past SSG, Etekamba Umoren had stayed beyond the initial plan which was for him to occupy the position for two years and would be replaced afterwards.
“The deal was brokered, where the senate minority leader, in filling the vacuum to be created by the exit of Sir Etekamba Umoren was asked to nominate his cousin, Barrister Ibanga Akpabio for appointment into the State Executive Council,” a top government source told The Trent.
“Akpabio, thereafter, nominated his cousin, Barrister Ibanga Akpabio and he was subsequently appointed a commissioner by Governor Udom Emmanuel.”
Contrary to the reports in a section of the media that Sir. Etekamba Umoren was sacked as a result of the so-reported “face-off” between Governor Emmanuel and the immediate past governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, the emergence of the new SSG was negotiated and Akpabio was a central figure in the process.