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Umana Umana, N64b debt, and the aphorism of pot calling kettle black

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Umana UmanaThe expression “Pot calling Kettle Black” is used when someone accuses another person of that same thing he is equally guilty of.  Many years ago, people

used to cook over an open flame using copper kettles and iron pots. The copper kettles were usually polished after every use whereas the iron pots were not and remained blackened from the soot from previous cookings. 

Therefore, the idea erupted that if the iron pot were alive and it looked at a nearby copper kettle, it would see a black image. The iron pot believes it sees the image of the copper kettle when in reality, because the copper kettle was polished, what the iron pot was seeing was a reflection of itself, black. 

In all, this symbolic phrase is associated with hypocrisy: an accuser blames someone else for having a fault when the accuser has the same fault. For instance, the APC has accused former governor Godswill Akpabio and the PDP for obtaining fraudulent loans and superintending a wasteful government but the State APC leader and governorship candidate was a cardinal member of this same cabinet who partook in all the decisions to acquire these loans. Troubling!

One may be tempted to overlook these accusations by the APC knowing full well that they live on propaganda and would want to let the whole world know that Akwa Ibom finances were mismanaged from 2007 to 2015 by the administration of Chief Godswill Akpabio Administration. And that the former governor unilaterally pocketed trillions of naira and got the State deliberately into debt: “Story for the gods”, apology to Nigeria’s popular music star, Olamide.

Before the State governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel wrote to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to approve the conversion of the commercial bank loans to Federal Government bonds, the APC has continually looked for anything worth the ears to discredit the PDP administration, both past and present. However in doing so, they have directly shot themselves in the leg because the major players of the State APC; many of them who today has thrown caution in the wind, accusing the PDP which has transform the state in the last 8 years of financial recklessness were former members of the PDP who played active roles in the PDP government. Wonders they say shall never end. 

Take for instance, the current leader of the APC; Mr. Umana Umana [pictured above] was the Secretary to the State Government, SSG for six years between 2007 to 20013.  According to a press release signed by the party publicity secretary, Mr. Ita Iwak on behalf of the party leadership headed by Umana, questions on how the loans obtained during these periods were obtained. 

Umana who spoke through Ita Iwak said that the total revenue accruals to Akwa Ibom State between May 29, 2015, from the Federation Account, Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission, and Internal Generated Revenue was in excess of 3 trillion Naira, so they want to know how much was negotiated and collected from commercial Banks in the country between May 29, 2007 and May 28, 2015, what purpose was each of the borrowed loan targeted and what is the current level of achievement by the PDP led by former governor Akpabio.

Ironically the answers to these questions can be better answered by the State’s APC leader himself. This is because Umana played key role during this period and was part and parcel of everything that transpired during the period stated by the APC spokesman. For Umana to sanction that self-incrimination press release by the party shows that he is becoming more desperate by the day.

Apart from being part of the loan arrangements, Umana led major committees that were responsible for implementations of the Akpabio transformation agenda with most of the goodies emanating from his office. He was chairman, FGPC, and was either chairman or secretary of major committees set up to implementation the numerous projects that spread across the length and breadth of the state. If he is today accusing the administration which gave him much leeway to operate like a Prime Minister of being financially irresponsible and corrupt, then he should be ready to face probe.

Umana who has been variously described as being wealthier than Akwa Ibom State cannot claim that he does not know how the allocation received and monies borrowed were judiciously utilized by the Senator Godswill Akpabio Administration, else one may be tempted to ask him where his deep pocket emanated from.

With the construction and take-off of the Ibom Airport, the Akwa Ibom Independent Power Plant at Ikot Abasi, the Gas Processing Plant, the dualized Federal roads – including the over 500 kilometers of internal roads in the state which were constructed by Construction Giant, Julius Berger, the e-library, the Silverbird Cinema which has become a cynosure for tourist who troop in and out of the State many among them are families and members of the APC, only the blind will say Akpabio did not utilized the monies accrue to the state well.

Lest we are accused of amnesia I need to mention few other projects such as the Specialist Hospital, General Hospitals that is spread across the three senatorial districts, the renovation of classrooms blocks across the state, the new governor’s lodge and office, deputy governor’s lodge, the exceptional Press Centre, the Bouquet Hall, the Pipe Jacking drainage, the Remodeling of Uyo with water fountains, the Hatchery at Uruan, the ongoing Permanent Airport Terminal, the Ikot Ekpene Prison, the 2,000 Housing Unit in Uruan, the four-point Sheraton Hotel, and the big one described as the best in West Africa – the International Stadium are some among the lofty projects executed by the Godswill Akpabio administration which has the stamp and insignia of the office of the former SSG, Umana Umana.

So at what stage did the PDP become financially irresponsible? At what stage did Akpabio become corrupt? It is a public knowledge that Akpabio, Udom and the PDP became the alleged fraudsters immediately Umana ambition hit crescendo and was kicked out of office. No matter how one may want to polish lies, lies will always remain lies. If Umana and his co-travelers in APC say that Akpabio is corrupt, and should be tried, Umana should first walk up to the EFCC and surrender himself for probe.

After all, he is the State leader of a party whose new motto is “Probe”; he should therefore lead by example and stop hiding behind his agitation for power to smear the reputable name of Senator Akpabio.

Akwa Ibom people are wise and should be conscious that no state can achieve the desired development at a time when revenue was dwindling without borrowing. Udom has chosen the right path by requesting that the House of Assembly approve the transfer of the loans to bond. Akwa people should not panic and listen to the false alarm being paddled by the APC. The rescheduling of the commercial loans will ease the State the burden of paying back the loans at source and in bulk. This is to ensure that governor Udom’s promise of empowering and creating wealth for the teeming Akwa Ibom people is fulfilled.

According to a staff of the Debt Management Office (DMO), the repayment of the debt will lapse for about 240 months instead of 12 months with 97% of burden taken off the shoulders of the state each month. Only a little fraction of about 7% will be paid by the State monthly. This way, repayment will not affect the state income or expenditure till the loans are completely paid. Simple!

The alarm and subsequent panicking by the APC is abysmally hypocritical knowing fully that these same “wailing wailers” shouting “crucify him, crucify him” were the same persons who oversaw the expenditure of the monies they are today questioning: if you ask the kettle; the pot is darker than itself.

Tom FredFish is a public policy analyst and media consultant wrote in from Uyo.

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