Stunning revelations have trailed the recent nomination of Senator Udoma Udo Udoma as minister of the Federal Republic by President Muhammadu Buhari. A close source at the Presidency reveals that it was the recommendation of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel that secured a ministerial slot for the oil rich state currently controlled by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
The source disclosed that previous names submitted by the All Progressive Congress caucus in the state did not meet the high standards set by the president who was keen on appointing a very credible minister from the state.
The initial names sent to the presidency included the APC govrrnorship candidate Mr Umana Umana, the state chairman of the party Dr Amadu Attai, Umana’s camoaign manager Mr Sunny Udom, Chief Don Etiebiet and a former deputy governor Mr Nsima Ekere. The president apparently rejected Mr Umana’s name since he was a guber candidate and was yet to round off his case at the tribunal. The other names were either not familiar to the presidency or did not pass the anti-corruption test.
Similarly, the president also received a parallel list of nominees from an APC faction in Akwa Ibom State which projected the names of Senator John Udoedeghe, Chief Ime Mbatessien, and Group captain Sam Ewang Rtd. According to the source, due to the lingering impasse between the presidency and the national Assembly leadership, President Buhari had to reach out to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel for his opinion on who should make it to the cabinet from Akwa Ibom State.
According to the source, in doing this, the president also considered that to scale the Senate nomination huddles, he will need the nod of at least two of the three PDP senators from Akwa Ibom State. Subsequently, Governor Udom Emmanuel recommended Senator Effiong Bob, Senator Udoma Udoma and Mr Udom Inoyo.
However, Udoma’s appointment has received mixed reactions from the people of Akwa Ibom State. In a swift reaction, the APC Governorship candidate Mr Umana said through his press secretary Mr Iboro Otongaran that although Udoma is not an APC member, that it was the prerogative of the president to appoint whoever he wants in line with his vision for the development of the country.
On his part, a PDP chieftain and former military Governor of the state, Idongesit Nkanga commended President Buhari for choosing excellence over party affiliation. He described Senator Udoma as a fine technocrat and ambassador of the party who can hold his own anywhere.
Udoma, a former two term Senator is presently serving as the Board Chairman of both the United African Company (UAC) and Union Bank. He is the third son of the first African Chief Justice of Uganda, Late Sir Egbert Udo Udoma.
Tayo is a freelance Journalist based in Abuja