Ahead of the 2023 guber, crisis is brewing in the College of Personal Aides (COPA) over the disposition of some of the governor’s aides towards their boss’ preferred aspirant, Pastor Umo Eno.
The crisis took a fresh twist on Monday when the group’s leader, Elder Ufot Ebong was removed as Dean.
Ufot Ebong is the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process.
Despite serving ask Dean of the College, he is said to be one of the strongest allies and supporter of Mr. Akan Okon, the immediate past Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport and aspirant for the Hilltop Mansion under the Peoples Democratic Party.
TheMail Newspaper gathered that trouble started when Mr. Udo Ekwere, a Special Assistant to the Governor on Transport, reportedly confronted Ufot Ebong in the group’s WhatsApp platform, over his political stance as regards the 2023 gubernatorial election.
Following the confrontation, a source disclosed that Ufot Ebong had in a leaked WhatsApp voice note, allegedly threatened to deal with Udo Ekwere.
A statement signed by the Chairman of the Advisory Council, Isantim Kenneth Okon, on behalf of the group’s leadership, said the threat was purely a security issue.
“In view of the prevailing impasse that has rocked the College of Personal Aides of the Executive Governor, the Executive Committee and Advisory Council of the College, at a meeting yesterday deliberated on the immediate and remote causes of the imbroglio.
“In line with the thoughts of Edmund Burke, the triumph of evil over good, arises when good men do nothing. To this end, the leadership of the forum has decided that the Dean tows the path of honour by humbly stepping aside until the lingering issues arising from the threats to a member of the forum, which is purely a security matter, and other related issues are amicably resolved”, the statement read.
The statement further nominated Rt. Hon. Anthony Akan “as Acting Dean of the College, pending a final decision by the forum.”
“As foot soldiers of the Governor numbering well over 400, we are expected to provide utmost backings to His Excellency and add impetus to the completion cum succession Agenda, with maximum support to the aspiration of Pastor Umo Bassey Eno.”
Ufot’s alleged threat to Udo Ekwere might be a smokescreen for his removal as we learnt that his sack as the group’s leader is not unconnected to his support to his friend, Akan Okon’s guber ambition. Okon, a personal friend of Udom for about 4 decades was snubbed by the governor in the choice of his preferred successor. The governor rather picked Pastor Umo Eno, his immediate past Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources.