Former Petroleum Minister Atuekong Don Etiebet, has said the death of a popular businessman, Dr. Ime Umanah, was a big loss to Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria.
The late Umanah was a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State.
He reportedly died in an auto accident.
Etiebet said: “The news, last night (Monday), that Dr. Ime Umanah was dead hit me so severely that I lost my senses, developed a headache, runny stomach and refused to believe it.
“I embarked on verification investigations till midnight when finally Hon. Akanimoh Edet, his close ally, said he had actually seen the body at an Owerri hospital and was arranging to take it home.
“It was shedding of tears, very devastating, hurtful and incomprehensible that Dr. Ime Sampson Umana should die in an accident. It is one too many of our revered leaders and frontline outspoken politicians, particularly from Abak-Five, who have died within a year.
“As a great and pioneering businessman from that part of the country, he did everything to serve his people, bring recognition to Annang from different capacities and angles. Those of us from Annang, Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria have lost a gem, an outstanding international businessman and a philanthropist, popularly known as Ufan Ndito Ubuene (Friend of the Poor).
“It is a big loss to all of us. We shall surely miss him in our endeavours. He was a pillar of strength, an inspiration and emulation to all of us.”
Another APC chieftain, Mr. Ita Awak, said Umanah was killed.
Awak, a former Commissioner for Information, alleged that the death was an organised accident similar to that of a former Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Oyong Asuquo, on April 13, 2012.
He added that every death in Akwa Ibom, which is calculated to have been politically motivated, would be investigated.
APC’s Assistant Publicity Secretary Etim Etim said Umanah was in the court on Monday for a case he had been having against Governor Godswill Akpabio since 2011.
He recalled that after the court session, he wanted to travel to Lagos by air but because of aviation fuel shortage, decided to go by land.
Umanah’s vehicle was involved in an accident between Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and Owerri.
Also, APC governorship candidate, Umana Umana, last Friday at the burial of the party’s chieftain, Mr. Okon Uwah, who was killed by suspected Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) thugs during a door-to-door campaign, said his death would be investigated until the culprits were brought to justice.