Concerned members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State have raised the alarm over an alleged plot by some chieftains to hijack the chairmanship primaries in the state.
This is coming against the decision of the state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, for a level playing field to be provided for all intending persons to stand for the election.
Mr. Emmanuel had in a stakeholders meeting advised party leaders to desist from imposing candidates on the electorate, saying PDP would not repeat the mistakes of the past.
However, two groups in the state insisted some chieftains of the party were manipulating the process to favour their candidates.
The groups warned if the current level of impunity is allowed to prevail the party’s chances of organizing a successful chairmanship primaries would be jeopardized.
On its part, the Emancipation Group petitioned Mr. Emmanuel over unwholesome political developments in Etinan Local Government chapter of the party.
The group fingered the state PDP Chairman, Paul Ekpo, for allegedly manipulating the electoral process in favour of his brother, Cletus.
“The entire party structure in Etinan has been misled to believing that the governor at the stakeholder meeting instructed the people of Etinan to adopt the state party chairman younger brother, Cletus Ekpo as the sole chairmanship candidate of the party,” the group said in a statement.
Another group, the Idoro Community Development Association (ICODA) condemned the exclusion of Idoro indigenes from Ward 8 in Ibiono Ibom Council Area from contesting the chairmanship election on grounds it would resurrect communal clashes
The group, in a protest letter to the governor, his deputy and arms of the party responsible for the primaries decried the exclusion of the ward from the electoral process.
It warned that the action could reignite crisis in the area, which has known peace since the intervention of the state government in the crisis that rocked the communities.
By excluding the ward from the primaries against every known democratic norm, the group said Idoro indigenes feel Ekim Mbuk and Ibiaku group of villages were not respecting government’s position in the crisis.
It also argued that Ibiaku group of villages were undermining the peace process and thereby trying to rekindle the hostilities between Ikot Mbuk and Ekim Mbuk villages.
“We received the sad news of the exclusion of all Idoro aspirants and by extension Ward 8 from the forthcoming chairmanship election by your committee based on these two conditions:” the group stated.
“That by your Committee considering such protest letter from Ibiaku group of villages instead of reporting to security agencies shows that your committee is supporting the agitation and hostilities between the two villages.
“That by Idoro indigenes and by extension Ward 8 being excluded from participating in the forthcoming 2017 local government chairmanship election, your committee is indirectly fanning the flames of war between the two villages,” part of the statement reads.
The group appealed to the organs of the party to intervene to ensure eligible members of the party from Idoro were not excluded from the primaries.