A’Ibom H/Assembly PDP primaries: Kinsmen accuse Udom of gerrymandering, nepotism

abda emmanuel udom x
abda emmanuel udom x

JOE EFFIONG, UYO

There is palpable tension in Onna LGA of Akwa Ibom State following attempts by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to take the primaries of that state’s constituency to a police barracks.

Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Udom Emmnauel is from Onna and fingers are pointing in his direction that the maneuvering of the primaries is done through his directives and to favour Sunday Johnny, his cousin, who is the race.

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Daily Sun learned from reliable sources that the plan to move the Onna State Constituency primaries of the PDP from Onna council secretariat to the Police Special Protection Unit, Awa, or Awa Primary School, was perfected on Thursday, May 12, 2022 at a hotel along C Line, Ewet Housing Estate in Uyo.

Some chapter executive members who attended the meeting told our correspondent that the plan also included using Option A4 instead of the secret ballot system, so that people would be intimidated to vote for the governor’s cousin.

“The governor has insisted on using Direct Primaries (Option A4) where delegates will queue behind him, rather than Indirect Primaries (Secret Ballot system) as prescribed by the Electoral Law.”

“The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has concluded plans to impose his preferred aspirant and cousin, Mr. Sunday Johnny on the people of Onna local government area in the forth coming PDP State House of Assembly primaries scheduled to hold on May 18, 2022.

“The Chapter Chairman of PDP in Onna LGA, Barr. Ubong Adiakpan was quoted as saying that, ‘All delegates will queue behind the governor in support of Mr. Sunday Johnny.’” A source said.

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Onna has about the highest number of aspirants with eleven persons so far cleared by PDP Screening Committee to contest Onna State Constituency primary election.

A chieftain of the party in Onna who pleaded anonymity accused the governor of trying to use the same method he used in 2015 House of Assembly primaries and in 2020 to impose an unpopular local government leadership on the people, saying such “outdated tactics would not work this time around.”

“Governor Udom is fond of fronting unpopular candidates in every election. Just a few days ago, those that he ordered the PDP Screening Committee not to clear to stand nomination on frivolous reasons, were all cleared by the national leadership of the party. This development has caused the governor to lose the respect people have for him as a father.

“The governor is supposed to be a father to all aspirants in the state, but he has chosen to toe the path that is dishonourable, not befitting of him as a deacon of Qua Iboe Church.

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“With the way the governor is handling political issues ahead of 2023 general elections, by insisting on fronting unpopular aspirants, he may end up surrendering the state to APC which is alleged he would join immediately the election is over.” The party chieftain lamented.

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Another stakeholder of the party described Gov Emmanuel’s action as selfish after having served in office as a governor for seven years and still wants to impose his cousin, Mr. Sunday Johnny as State House Member, not considering the fact that the sitting House of Assembly Member, Mr. Nse Essien and House of Rep Member, Hon. Patrick Ifon are all from his Awa Clan.

He alleged that the governor does not want anyone from the other two clans to rise politically so that development would start and end only in his Awa home.

He expressed regrets that the governor’s hatred for Oniong and Nung Ndem clans was glaring, hence he abandoned the Ndon Eyo-Odio Road of just 15 km that passes through the local government Secretariat at Abat.

A youth leader, Otobong Ntiense, said they will not close their eyes and watch the governor building fortunes for himself and family members alone, while Onna youths are begging to survive, vowing that they will resist any attempt to impose another unpopular candidate on them after the leadership..

But defending himself and the governor, the PDP chapter chairman for Onna, Mr Ubong Adiakpan, a law practitioner, said the meeting at the hotel in Uyo was at the instance of the aspirant, Mr Sunday Johnny, who came to consult different sets of delegates from Onna but never dropped the name of the governor at the event.

“After he had appealed to delegates to stand by him, I even jokingly said if the governor would queue behind him, that all of us would also queue behind the governor; so he should pray for that to happen.

“I also told him that the governor had told all the party elders from Eket senatorial districts that he has no hand or anointed aspirant in the house of assembly election.

“As I’m talking to you now, I don’t know the format the primary election would take; whether it would be by Option A4 or secret ballot. We are still expecting a briefing by the state chairman of the party. It is the party that would decide where the primaries would be held. So I take directives from the state.” Mr Adiakpan said.

He admitted that Sunday Johnny is Gov Emmanuel’s relative, but added that there was no place in the constitution that deprives anybody related to the governor from contesting any election.

The coordinator of ward secretaries, Mr Atat Atat, who also attended the meeting, said the issue of location and format of the primaries was not discussed when the aspirants met with the ward secretaries, even as he said it would wrong tamper with already format and venue of the party primaries. ENDS

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