Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has abruptly terminated the appointment of Prince Uwem Ita Etuk as Chairman of the board of Akwa Ibom Water Company. This happened after the former state chairman of PDP gave an advice to the governor which was considered to be insulting.
Prince Uwem Ita Etuk was first appointed Chairman of the Board on 23rd June, 2017. Appointments of chairman and members of boards of Akwa Ibom State Road Maintenance Agency (AKROIMA) and that of Akwa Ibom Water Company were announced same day (23rd June, 2017) via a press released signed by the then Secretary to the State Government, Sir Etekamba U. Umoren.
Tenure of both boards elapsed earlier this year. Government House sources informed TheMail that the governor had renewed the appointments of Messers Uwem Ita Etuk and Godwin Ntukudeh, the latter being the chairman of AKROIMA.
The Governor, we learnt had directed the SSG, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem to issue the appointment letters to both Prince Etuk and Dr. Ntukudeh.
Though not officially announced via a press release, fresh appointment letters were issued to Etuk and Ntukudeh in May 2021. Both had upon receipt of their new appointment letters had returned to their duty posts. They were to operate without board members for the meantime as appointments of members of the boards who served between 2017 till 2021 were not renewed.
But in a sharp twist of events, Prince Uwem Ita Etuk angered the governor on June 28, 2021 during the enlarged State Caucus meeting of the PDP held at Government House, Uyo.
As earlier reported by TheMail in our first edition in July, during the meeting, Prince Etuk had advised the governor to pick any of the quartet of Senator Bassey Albert, Akan Okon, Onofiok Luke and Mike Enyong as his successor. He stated that any attempts by the governor to import a successor who Lagos or any other part of the country would not fly.
Prince Uwem Ita Etuk also known with the aliases ‘Isong Adot Ukana’ and ‘Edidem Mme Jew’ told the governor that Akan Okon, OBA, Onofiok and Baba Ntan are home-grown politicians which is one of the criteria party delegates and Akwa Ibom people desire from their next governor. Etuk also stated that the above named politicians have been strong supporters of the governor who stood firm and supported the governor to win the herculean second term election. He stated that OBA, Akan, Onofiok, and Baba Ntan have all it takes to lead the state, urging the governor to consider picking one of them as his successor.
Ibesikpo Asutan born politician told the governor that he has seen governments since the return of democracy in 1999, telling Udom that he is not the first governor and won’t be the last the state would produce, hence he won’t shy away from saying the truth when necessary. He said he has seen a lot of things in his political life and in the state, stating that there is nothing special the governor will do, urging him to do the right thing by allowing a level playing field for all the aspirants or endorsing a popular candidate who has overwhelming support from the party delegates.
With rumours of a possible defection of the governor from PDP to APC still hovering around political circles, Prince Etuk told Udom to tell them (the party caucus) if he is joining APC, saying the governor should not play games with them.
He went further to tell the governor to spread appointments into important party committees instead of recycling some names he views as his favourites.
He specifically mentioned that it is not only Obong Paul Ekpo (former state chairman of the PDP), Enobong Uwah (former commissioner and current Chairman of UCCDA), and Emmanuel Enoidem (National Legal Adviser of PDP) that exist in the state PDP as they have always getting appointed as Chairmen or Secretary of important boards or committees.
According to close aides and appointees of the governor who confided in our reporter, Udom was very livid when Uwem Etuk, while trying to draw home his points, made an analogy using an Ibibio proverb that contained words that could be considered vulgar. Though it is very characteristic of Uwem Ita Etuk to use Ibibio local proverbs while speaking, this particular one which mentioned the female private part was seen by the governor as a “handshake that has passed the elbow region”.
After the said caucus meeting, the governor is said to have directed that his reappointment be terminated immediately over the “insulting advice”.
Uwem Ita Etuk having learnt of the governor’s anger is said to have tried meeting the governor in his office on three different occassions, all without any success.
At the third time of trying to meet with the governor, Government House sources told TheMail that the former party chairman dropped a message for Udom. Before leaving, he is said to have told those around to inform the governor that election is just one year and few months away, that he (Uwem) would soon be needed.