By Lawrence Olaoye
A leading governorship aspirant in Akwa Ibom and former Secretary to the state Government (SSG), Umana Okon Umana, has said that he is contesting the governorship election in the state so that he could share the wealth of the state equitably among those he described as hard working people of the state.
Umana said the resources God had lodged in the state are so enormous that those in the working class and their dependants in the state have no business to be poor.
He made this known in Abuja at the Sheraton Hotel when indigenes of Akwa Ibom state held a formal meeting with him yesterday.
According to him, having served in the government of Akwa Ibom for close to two decades, he was well familiar with the huge deposits of resources, both tapped and untapped in the state, vowing to manage them every effectively in the interest of the people.
“God has blessed me and I believe I want to be the governor because I want our people in the state to have a good feel of what they want. Akwa Ibom people with our growing population have no business to be poor and God willing, they will get their due when we come to power”, said Umana.
He said apart from oil resources, the next government of the state to be piloted by him would tap on the human resources in the state to brace education, science and technology, agriculture, health delivery, transportation, international trade and commerce and many more.
He said he would totally discourage the culture of self-aggrandizement and egocentricism in Akwa Ibom in which case the people of the state would be at the center of government business at all times.
He vowed to remove the offensive portions of the state’s controversial pension law if elected governor. The law, signed recently by state governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, provides for many controversial financial benefits to past governors and their deputies.
Some of the controversial provisions of the pension law include N100 million annual medical allowance for every past governor; N30 million for a former deputy governor; N5 million allowance (N60 million annually) to a former governor for his domestic staff and a 5-bedroom mansion in Uyo or Abuja for every former governor.
Umana described the pension legislation as “obscene, provocative and insensitive,”
He added, “it is surprising that in spite of a nationwide public outcry against the bill for the pension law, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly rushed to pass it within 11 days and the governor signed it into law with indecent haste within 24 hours without any inputs from members of the public who will foot the bill.”
He said the sections of the law which the people found offensive, insensitive and unacceptable include the provision of a ceiling of N100 million in annual medical allowance, which is about $700,000; N5 million monthly allowance for the domestic staff of a former governor and the provision on housing for the former governor.