The Senior Special Assistant to Akwa Ibom state governor on Research and Documentations Hon Essien Ndueso has described as false claims by critics to effect that former governor of the state Mr Udom Emmanuel refused to hand over the official private jet to his successor pastor Umo Eno even after leaving office.
The critics claimed that the official jet which was supposed to be used by pastor Umo Eno is still in the custody of his predecessor Udom Emmanuel since May 29 when he left as governor of the state.
Last Wednesday, the state Umo was sighted at Victor Attah International Airport in Uyo boarding Q10202 flight to Abuja belonging to Ibom Air.
This sparked controversy as critics queried the whereabouts of the state’s official jet raising speculations that the former governor was still in possession of the state-owned jet, forcing the governor to use Ibom Air for official duties outside the state.
Reacting to the incident, Special Assistant to the Governor on Research and Documentations Hon Essien Ndueso said by boarding Ibom Air’s flight Umo Eno is living up to his promises of encouraging Akwa Ibom State Government’s investments to thrive and expand to meet up the demands of the present economic realities in the country.
This, he said was one of the reasons the governor used the State-owned airline, Ibom Air, during his recent trip for official engagements outside the State.
He made this known while speaking during a radio interview in Uyo, Ndueso, who was reacting to a series of negative criticisms trailing the decision by the governor to patronize the state-owned air carrier, said it was rather unfortunate that the good intention of Umo Eno in having first-hand experience with the State Airline, was misinterpreted by critics.
Ndueso hailed Governor Umo for being down to earth in his leadership style since he assumed office on May 29 and reminded critics that Umo had during his campaign tour promised he would occasionally be flying Ibom Air to have the same experience as every other passenger, to guide his decision making.
He said the governor used the opportunity of patronizing Ibom Air in his official capacity to share in experiences of other passengers and wondered why some people would rather misinterpret that action with unsubstantiated claims.
“Remember His Excellency Pastor Eno said he is not a Governor who sits in his comfort zone in the office to receive reports from the fields, but one who will go out to feel and experience the realities of investments and public utilities funded with public funds.”
Ndueso, who had previously served as a media aide to the former Governor, dismissed rumour making the rounds, that Governor Eno resorted to flying with Ibom Air because his predecessor was still keeping the Governor’s official private jet.
Ndueso described the allegation as a frivolous beer parlour gist aimed at tarnishing the image of the former governor Udom Emmanuel and urged the public to discountenance such allegations, as they were with no iota of truth.
He explained that Mr Udom Emmanuel, despite being the immediate past Governor and former boss to pastor Umo Eno has not shown any overbearing attitude to his successor, but even came to declare during the state dialogue that there can only be one leader at a time in the state in person of Governor Umo Eno.
“Recall that Mr Udom Emmanuel was the one who told everyone to support the Governor as the new leader of the State. Others would be coming to the government house every day, or even lodge in the Government House guest house, but the immediate past Governor has kept his promise by returning to his private practice, allowing His Excellency the incumbent Governor to freely run the business of government.”
The Governor’s aide further explained that Eno’s decision to fly Ibom Air was a simple way of telling the story of Ibom Air and rumour peddlers to desist from it.
“The entire country has come to appreciate Eno as a simple and down-to-earth leader who has not allowed the aura of his position to have a negative influence on his humble nature.
“The Governor has told his people that in appointing aides, he is not appointing aides that will carry his umbrella and phones since he is carrying them himself, but he would rather appoint people with capacity to add value to his administration.
“Even at the airport, you could see him subjecting himself to thorough checks and other airport procedures, and that is because he wishes to lead by example. Such actions should not be misinterpreted, but seen as actions that make him more connected to his people,” he said.