Uncertainty hangs over the fate of the manager of Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo in Akwa Ibom State due to a purported query over what was seen as ‘a breach of protocol’ to the state governor.
The manager (name withheld) is said to have been queried for allowing Akan Udofia, the Akwa Ibom billionaire to park his aircraft at the Executive wing of the airport without due clearance from the authority.
Trouble is said to have started when the manager as had been the practice permitted the supposed governorship aspirant park his aircraft and attended to guests and supporters at the wing.
Unknown to the manager, Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel who returned to the state after official trip landed at the airport to his consternation seeing an aircraft parked at the wing with a crowd of excited youths.
The manager, according to a source at the airport, was confused, thinking what to do to pave space for the governor to land and park.
”After some minutes of delays, the governor who landed at a section of the wing was infuriated. The governor might have seen the attitude of Udofia as ‘insulting’ and ‘rivalry’ to a sitting governor,’’ the source told Straightnews.
”When the heat came up, the Managing Director of the airport distanced himself from the breach of protocol,’’ an anonymous source told Straightnews.
According to the source, ”As a result, the Managing Director was directed to issue a query to the airport manager and he did.
Though the manager has replied to the query, it is not known what would be his fate as government is yet to take an action on the issue.’’
Another source reasoned that ”During the era of Governor Godswill Akpabio, Akan Udofia used to park his aircraft at the said MRO/ Executive wing. It was not the first time he parked there; after all he has been paying parking fees to the airport management.’’
”It could be the governor wanted to portray to people that there is a disagreement between him and Udofia. Both are friends and business associates. I do not think there is any problem between them, except the governor wants people to misconstrue the incident as one,’’ the source stated.
”Politics and power easily breed intolerance. The entrance of Akan Udofia, a. k. a AK47 into the murky waters of partisan politics may have ruffled a few feathers and so must be cut to size as the incumbent struggles to rejig his political succession permutation after he has just orchestrated the endorsement of a party state Chairman that would do his bidding.”
When Straightnews called on telephone Dr. Inibong Essien, Board Chairman of the Ibom Airport Development Company Limited (IADC) also known as Victor Attah International Airport on Sunday, July 4 to confirm the incident, he denied knowledge of the ‘sack’ of the manager as put to him by the reporter but said the slight issue that happened had been resolved.