Umana’s Loyalist Clashes with A News Editor Over Akpabio’s Overture to Ditch UOU

31 Aug

 

A certain story captioned “2015: Akpabio woos Umana Umana’s loyalists, foes”, written by Nigeria’s Youngest Editor, Ifreke Nseowo and published on Community Pulse newspaper has created much ripples in the Umana Okon Umana camp. Below is the story, Michael Bush’s response and Nseowo’s defense of his story.Image
 
 
2015: Akpabio woos Umana Umana’s loyalists, foes
 
By Ifreke Nseowo (Managing Editor)
 
Community Pulse investigations reveal that Governor Godswill Akpabio is currently wooing staunch loyalists and sworn enemies of his former close pal and ex Secretary to State Government, Obong Umana Okon Umana in a bid to stop him from realizing his ambition of getting into the Hiltop Mansion as the Executive Governor of the state come 2015.
Government House sources informed your soar away tabloid that after ousting Umana in an eye-brow-raising fashion, the state’s helmsman is in a mission to render Umana politically irrelevant and this he intends to do by speaking to his strong loyalists one-on-one.
We learnt recently that, Akpabio had put a telephone call through to one of Umana most trusted loyalists, Akparawa Michael Bush and urged him to ditch Umana and start working against him. According to those close to the Uruan born broadcaster, Akpabio promised that he will reward him (Bush) in no small measure if he succumbs to his offer. Bush, we understand had thereafter laughed off the offer and immediately informed his principal, Umana about the latest development.
 
Also, Akpabio had wooed some of his cabinet members who are known to be political allies of the 54year old Nsit Ubium technocrat. The state governor made several enticing offers to them, telling them to work against Umana, and also threatening to show them red card if they refused his proposals.
 
Chief Akpabio has also sworn to turn to perceived enemies of the former Commissioner of Finance, begging them to antagonize and rattle Umana so that he could surrender his governorship dreams.
 
Among Umana’s foes that Akpabio has sweet-tongued is Senator Effiong Bob whom many believe would happily jump at any offer in a bid to pay Umana back in his own coin for frustrating his 2011 senatorial ambition. It is no secret that Akpabio recently met Senator Bob in Abuja during the Eid-El-Fitri holidays and according to sources, Umana was top on the agenda of their tete-a-tete. The paper learnt on good authority that many politicians have given in to Akpabio’s advances while few have declined, maintaining that, it must be Umana or no one else.
 
Akpabio’s body language shows glaringly that he is desperate to stop Umana from succeeding him in 2015 and the state’s ex scribe is furious that the governor has reneged on almost all the agreements they earlier had.
 
 
  
Open Letter To Community Pulse!
 
Subj.: 2015, Akpabio Woos Umana Umana’s Loyalists, Foes
 
1.0 Community Pulse on Sunday carried the above banner headline on the front page of its 25th August, 2013 edition. Naturally, I was alarmed when the story written by Ifreke Nseowo suddenly branched off to me!
 
2.0 First, I reached out to the writer, who incidentally is the Managing Editor of the paper. He could not explain to me how he managed to concoct the story, especially the bit about me being wooed by Gov. Akpabio. Rather, Mr. Nseowo apologised for not calling me beforehand, and promised to carry the rebuttal!
 
3.0 Permit me not to repeat the total mischief here, so as not to spread it any further. However, from my own end, let me state that the story as it relates to me is F.A.L.S.E: false. Well, except if the writer is privy to imminent plans for me to be approached. The foregoing is important as I do not know what the intention or sense of the story was/is. Worse, Mr. Nseowo insists that he thought the story was good PR for me. Does he know something that I don’t?
 
4.0 But, here is it: the media and our people must exercise caution in the way stories are relayed about innocent persons. We should not be so malicious, so unprofessional, so careless, so inhuman in disseminating information. Above all, we should desist from weaving gist around people who are alive without first running it by them!
 
5.0 Finally, just to be sure; it is my belief that just as he did on telephone, Mr. Nseowo will not only apologise to me in the next edition of his paper but will also give it and this as much prominence as he did the original, fake story. That said, I like to plead with our people to channel their energies at praying for Akwa Ibom rather than at seeking to stoke real or perceived inter-personal fires. As for 2015, everyone knows I am a UOU man both in the day and at night. At 42, I know and I know that I know what I want. Is that too much for a newspaper to allow me in peace, if it cannot help me, to achieve it? Jesus is Lord!
 
Michael BUSH (Akparawa)
Director-General
Ibom Medallion
 
 
Re: Open Letter to Community Pulse by Michael Bush!
 
My attention has been drawn to a Facebook post by Michael Bush concerning a story captioned “2015: Akpabio woos Umana Umana’s loyalists, foes” written by me, Ifreke Nseowo and published on the Community Pulse (which I’m the Managing Editor) of Sunday 25thAugust,2013.
 
In the dying minutes of Sunday 25th August, 2013 I was already deep in sleep when I woke up to see a barrage of missed calls from several friends and colleagues. I wondered what was happening to warrant such litany of calls.
 
But immediately, a call came in from a very good friend and brother. He asked “Nseowo did you have any telephone conversation with Michael Bush? Have you read his post on Facebook?”. After dropping the call, I logged onto my Facebook timeline only to see a post by Mr. Bush that was directly targeted at ridiculing me and the newspaper house.
 
It is on this note that I wish to join this issue and state as follows:
 
1.0 I’m always guided by the ethics of the noble profession when I’m doing any story and would not in any way concoct a story as alleged by Michael Bush. That a story appearing to be controversial does not mean it is not true.
 
2.0 The banner story on Sunday Pulse of 25th August, 2013 captioned “2015: Akpabio woos Umana Umana’s loyalists, foes” is one of such true but controversial stories.
 
 3.0 Yes, I received a call from Mr. Michael Bush at 9.38pm on Sunday, 25th August, 2013. Bush had asked why I had to publish the story without his consent and that I should have called him first before I go to press with it.  He said as his friend, I should have protected his interest. He had asked me if he is the only Umana Umana loyalist that has been wooed? “Why is it that it is only my name that was mentioned in the story”, he asked.
 
4.0 I kept mute, listening to him. And so when he pressed on just to get words from me. Since he was angry from the tone of his voice, I decided to show him deep respect like a very senior colleague, big brother and friend. At that point I told him “I’m sorry sir”.
 
5.0 My apology to Bush was not for publishing the story but as a mark of respect and to allow him the confidence of communicating further with me at that time.
 
6.0 For the avoidance of doubt, I had actually sent a call across to Michael Bush at about 2.30pm on Saturday, 24th August, 2013 but  I was told by the network providers that the number I was calling was out of network coverage. After getting the same response over and over again from the network providers, I then decided to put a call across to one of his close friends to know Bush’s whereabouts and he told me Bush was in Calabar. The friend also informed me he has been trying to get across to Bush but his number was not going through.
 
7.0 On the manuscript of the last paragraph of the story, it was indicated that all efforts to get Mr. Bush to comment on the issue proved abortive as I couldn’t reach him for comments as at the time the paper went to press but during the page planning process, the last paragraph was mistakenly not included by the graphic designer on duty.
 
8.0. Again, yes, as a friend of mine, I told him I thought the story was not going to harm him, and in the other way round it was good for his PR. I said so knowing that Mr. Bush is a die-hard UOU loyalist. But as a UOU loyalist that does not mean that the opposing camps will not reach out to him. And more in this case a state governor. Except Bush was lying to one of his friends that the governor had reached out to him.  But if I may ask, is Mr. Bush considering ditching UOU for the governor’s enticing offer? Why is he denying that the governor called him?
 
8.0 Mr. Bush said that Ifreke Nseowo couldn’t explain how and why he “concocted” such a story he (Bush) claims to be false. As at the time Mr. Bush called, I was having dinner with two friends of mine at an eatery and music was being played on the background. There are certain conversations you can’t engage in at a particular time and mine with Bush was one of such. I couldn’t speak more with him because I was at a public place and I didn’t want to divulge sensitive information at that material time. And of course, the music played at where I was eating was disturbing our conversation. If Bush plays back the conversation he recorded, he will hear when I directed the waiter to go reduce the volume of the music.
 
8.0  For the records, Mr. Bush begged to know what could be done to remedy the situation. He asked if I could handle it, I told him to issue a press statement that I will help him publish it. Yes, I would have done it for him not because the story is false but because he is entitled to a rebuttal if he feels otherwise.
 
9. I was however surprised why he had to take to social media in a friendly discussion we had already concluded. It is on these grounds that I have to put this record straight because my silence on this matter would have been misconstrued to mean stupidity, cowardice and accepting all Bush wrote as true. Let me add that we won’t be deterred in our determination to inform and educate the people.
 
10. I still hold Michael Bush, my big brother, senior colleague and mentor in highest esteem. Thank you all.  
 
Ifreke Nseowo (Connoisseur)
Record holding Nigeria’s Youngest Editor/Managing Editor, Community Pulse

 

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