By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
What appears as a cold war is brewing between government of Akwa State and Mr. Akan Udofia over ownership of Ibom Airlines, with both parties laying claims.
While the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Uko Essien Udom, SAN has declared that Ibom Air is owned 100 per cent by Akwa Ibom State Government with Mr Akan Udofia having no proprietary interest whatsoever in any of the aircrafts in the fleet of Ibom Air, Mr Akan Udofia on his part, said the Idea of Ibom Air is his own.
To justify the state government’s claims and debunk Mr Udofia, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice issued a statement in Uyo, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday.
The statement reads in part, “It is necessary to notify the general public and Akwa Ibom State citizens in particular that Mr Akan Udofia has no proprietary interest whatsoever in any of the aircrafts in the fleet of Ibom Air. All the aircrafts in the fleet were acquired directly by the airline.
“The idea of Ibom Air was conceived and executed by His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel who worked with aviation consultants, led by Captain Mfon Udom to birth and sustain the operations of the airline to this day. The Airline is owned 100% by Akwa Ibom State.
“Any claim contrary to the above is false and fraudulent and this office will not hesitate to file appropriate sanctions against the perpetrators.” Udom stated.
In a collaborative position, the Management of Ibom Airlines Limited, operators of Ibom Air has debunked claims by Mr Akan Udofia that Ibom Air was his brainchild.
In a statement by its General Manager Marketing and Communication, Mrs. Aniekan Essienette, made available to newsmen in Uyo on Tuesday declared Udofia to have been completely unrelated to the airline’s founding.
It stated that Ibom Air was founded upon the direct vision and creative thoughts of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel who had approved the Business Plan for execution in 2016.
“Upon his approval of the Business Plan, it took about two years of painstaking and thorough work by a team of first class aviation industry professionals to put the start-up requirements together and almost another year of careful preparation, before the airline commenced operations on 7 June, 2019.” Mrs Essienette added.
But Mr Akan Udofia, a businessman cum politician has recently during a political campaign in the state told the public that the idea settings Ibom Airlines was entirely his own.
Udofia claim was produced in a short video, circulated on WhatsApp groups and social media platforms that the idea settings Ibom Airlines was his own.
Until recently challenged by the state government, Mr. Udofia has been quoted in the past where he also claimed that some of the aircrafts in the fleet of Ibom Air belonged to him yet government did not debunk it.
Recall also that prior to Mr Udofia recent romance with All Progressives Congress (APC) where he was given a ticket as the governorship candidate for 2023 in the state though lost his candidacy having been disqualified by the Court this week, he was in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where he contested last PDP governorship primaries and lost to government preferred Candidate, Pastor Umo Eno.
During his political sojourn in PDP, before decamping to APC early this year to seek his governorship aspiration ticket, Mr Udofia was among Governor Udom Emmanuel’s right hand men and friends.
Within these periods, emanated the romour mill in the state that he owns Ibom Air in partnership with Akwa Ibom state government, yet no statement was issued to counter the rumour and claim.
It is feared that Mr Udofia would take further step to claim his right in Ibom Airlines Management, except or otherwise stated. Information from his political camp has revealed.