He is one of the biggest boys in Akwa-Ibom State’s politics.
But for his 54th birthday, erstwhile Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, Obong Umana Okon Umana hosted few friends and supporters to a small dinner in the state capital, Uyo on Tuesday, 20th August, 2013.
We gathered that the birthday bash was without the loads of friends and well-wishers that used to throng such occasions in the past and devoid of the usual pomp associated with his previous birthday events as SSG.
It must have been a sobering reality for the former strong man of Akwa Ibom politics, as many people in government circles shunned the event for fear of being caught in the cold war between Akpabio and his ex SSG, our source hinted.
However, in a bid to honour their benefactor the management of E-101, a Lifestyle magazine in the South-South geopolitical region embarked on a charity tour around the three senatorial districts of Akwa Ibom State visiting Government Children Home, Ikot Ekpene, the Motherless Babies Home, Eket and the Ndipmonguwem Special Children Centre, Uyo.
This was a clear departure from his 53rd birthday when Obong Umana was treated to a lavish birthday bash at the prestigious Monty Suites, Uyo in addition to gracing the cover of the August edition of E-101 magazine.
A few of the people present at the event said Umana was in good spirit in spite of the poor attendance at his birthday party and appeared to have put behind him the shock and embarrassment of his unceremonious sack by a man he helped to become governor in 2007 and 2011.
The self-styled “choice of the people for 2015” who had served in several key positions in the state recently lost his plum job as Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government in the aftermath of his open declaration of intention to run for the office of governor.
Miffed by Umana’s excessive display of bravado, the state governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, had ordered Umana to resign and has since appointed Mr. Emmanuel Gabriel Udom as the new Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government.
In spite of the dust raised by his gubernatorial declaration, Umana has vowed that only death could prevent him from realising his long-held ambition of becoming governor in 2015. It would appear that the battle line has been drawn between the two former friends and political associates.