Another aide to Akwa Ibom governor resigns, says more people likely to leave

Udom Emmanuel
Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel

Another aide to Governor Udom Emmanuel has resigned his appointment with the Akwa Ibom State Government.

The aide, Anietie Ebe, until his resignation, was Mr Emmanuel’s special assistant on project investments and industries.

He was working at the state’s Foreign Direct Investment office, Uyo.

Mr Ebe told the governor in his resignation letter dated September 1 that he had been denied “basic work tools and other fringe benefits” since his appointment in 2015.

“This situation, I do not think will ever improve. It is barely a couple of months to the end of the tenure,” he said.

Mr Ebe, who is the son of a former deputy governor of the state, Valerie Ebe, also informed Governor Emmanuel that he was leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

His mother, Mrs Ebe, defected a few days ago from the PDP to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mr Ebe told PREMIUM TIMES, Monday, that he and other officials did not visit a single project site throughout his three years or so in office because, according to him, the government refused to mobilise them for such visit.

“I have never been mobilised to visit investment sites.

“We had meetings with the governor and he told us it wasn’t possible for him to provide those things we needed. They are running government as if it were a private thing,” he said.

He added, “A lot more other aides of the governor are agitating to leave. They are only hanging on to get their salary and would likely leave towards the end of the governor’s tenure.

“A lot of them have hope in the salary, you know how difficult things are.”

Mr Ebe, who said Akwa Ibom needs a leader that means what he says, weighed in on Mr Emmanuel’s experience in the banking sector, and said the governor would probably have been better off if he had had the experience in the public sector, as well.

“Anyone who works in the bank could grow probably because he has been able to source enough funds to the bank, and that could push you up the ladder.

“Exposure is actually serving in different sectors, especially the public sector so that you would know how to handle public issues.

“You don’t run the public sector like a private sector,” he said.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the head of the Foreign Direct Investment, Gabriel Ukpe, he said Mr Ebe was just a “lazy man”.

“All the things I gave him to do, nothing came out of it, and at some point in time I shut him out because I am a professional, I came from the private sector, having worked with pwc for about 34 years.

“The governor put me there for a purpose. It is either you want to work or you don’t want to work. If you don’t want to work, I’ll just leave you and work with other people who want to work. We don’t have time for people who are lazy. Maybe to him, it’s was a political appointment.”

Mr Ukpe said it wasn’t part of their department job schedules to go on project inspection.

“We operate as a one-stop-shop. When investors come, let’s assume they want to go into agriculture, we would bring in the commissioner for agriculture to discuss with them and agree on certain terms, we draw up MoU and then agree on the land size and allocate land to them and give them the certificate of occupancy. If there’s need to form a joint venture company, they form one.

“Once the investors start work, they go to the ministry, it is the ministry that would supervise them. Most of those investments are private sector-driven.

“You see, people misunderstand this; when they hear of industrialisation, they think the government is carrying money to go and throw it in, somewhere.”

Mr Ukpe said Mr Ebe was a low-level staff in his office, and therefore he did not want to engage in any argument with him.

Before Mr Ebe, at least two of the governor’s other aides have resigned their appointment with the state government.

Chris Okorie, who was a special assistant to the governor on electoral matters, had defected to the APC after resigning his appointment in June 2017.

Mr Okorie, a former chairman of Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, had similarly complained of “lack of basic work tools”.

Five months ago, another aide to the governor, Ibanga Etang, also defected to the APC after resigning his appointment as a special assistant to the governor on projects.

The governor’s adviser on politics, Ekong Sampson, however, told PREMIUM TIMES, Monday evening, that there was nothing to worry about since those who have resigned are “very few” when compared with the number of aides working for the governor.

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