Wed, 24 Jul 2024

 

Uncertainty in Akwa Ibom as ‘Obidients’ plan vendetta against PDP
 
From: Agency Report
Mon, 6 Mar 2023   ||   Nigeria,
 

Before now, the slogan “Akwa Ibom is PDP, PDP is Akwa Ibom,” was freely used by Governor Udom Emmanuel, as well as other Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, faithful in the state.
Since the inception of democratic government in 1999, PDP has not only remained in power successively in Akwa Ibom state but has been able to deliver its presidential candidates in the state even in 2015, 2019 and 2023 elections that its candidates failed at the National level.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, on the other hand was the main opposition party in the state but has not been able to give PDP a good fight as there were cases even the governorship candidates of the party failed elections in their wards.
Before now, the slogan “Akwa Ibom is PDP, PDP is Akwa Ibom,” was freely used by Governor Udom Emmanuel, as well as other Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, faithful in the state.
Since the inception of democratic government in 1999, PDP has not only remained in power successively in Akwa Ibom state but has been able to deliver its presidential candidates in the state even in 2015, 2019 and 2023 elections that its candidates failed at the National level.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, on the other hand was the main opposition party in the state but has not been able to give PDP a good fight as there were cases even the governorship candidates of the party failed elections in their wards
However, the introduction of a third force, the Young Progressives Party, YPP, has changed the status quo in the Akwa Ibom political space as the gubernatorial candidate, Senator Bassey Akpan, who was a PDP bigwig until his defection, has garnered a lot of followers, especially the youths in the state.
The rumoured merger of the APC governorship Campaign structure with that of the YPP to form a formidable force that would give Gov Udom Emmanuel’s PDP a bleeding nose at the March 11 elections has become of so much concern to the PDP.
Recall that before the PDP primary, both the governorship candidates of YPP, Bassey Albert and that of APC Obong Akanimo Udofia were strong members of PDP but sensing the impossibility of getting the party’s ticket, they ran to different political parties where they clinched the various tickets.
The duo in different ways had stumbled on a lot of studs on the road to the polls. First was Senator Akpan who was committed to prison for receiving exotic car gifts from a contractor, Jide Omokore while he was a Commissioner about nine years ago, a case which is still pending at the Appeal Court.
Akanimo Udofia on his own was dragged to court by one of the aspirants in the party, Senator Ita Enang who claimed that Udofia while being a member of PDP contested in APC and urged the court to nullify the election; the case is at the Supreme Court.
It was gathered that Senator Godswill Akpabio, who has long ago fallen out with his god son, Gov Udom Emmanuel is allegedly orchestrating the merger so that Senator Akpan who was his then Commissioner would emerge victorious at the March 11 polls against PDP’s Pastor Umo Eno.
But Senator Ita Enang in a statement entitled “Beware of imposters using non-existing Akwa Ibom APC governorship ticket for negotiation,” chided the whole arrangement, saying that APC does not have a guber candidate in the first place.
The statement which was signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Uduak Ikpat read thus, “It has been brought to the notice of Senator Ita Enang Governorship Campaign Organization that individuals purporting to represent the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State are negotiating to surrender their ambition and campaign structure to another opposition party in the state.
“They have promised to surrender the non-existing ticket, collapse their structure and mobilise support and votes for the other political party ahead of the March 11, 2023 governorship election.
“We are not against anyone negotiating for personal interest but we have to remind the public that as at today, March 4, 2023, the APC in Akwa Ibom State is yet to have a governorship candidate. This can be verified on the INEC website.
“Anyone planning to merge his campaign organisation with another, does so as a person, and not as a governorship candidate, since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to fill in a governorship candidate for APC in Akwa Ibom State.
“The fraudulently conducted APC governorship primaries birthed a legal tussle which is still subject to litigation in the court of competent jurisdiction.”
Meanwhile, the Spokesperson of PDP in the State, Mr Borono Bassey in an interview described such a coalition as a mere conspiracy that would not stop the PDP’s candidate from winning the governorship seat on Saturday.
He stressed that the PDP is not threatened by such an alliance as it remained a party to beat in Akwa Ibom state.
But, even if the merger never came to fruition at the end of the day, last Saturday’s event at ‘OBA event centre’ where the “Obidients” formally declared their support for the YPP governorship candidate should put PDP on its toes to re-strategize on how to win more votes of the Akwa Ibom people.
The Obidients’ support was a big boost for the YPP as it emboldened the party to fight the PDP headlong in the next five days.
The Obi/Datti Movement is a coalition of over 100 support groups across the 4,354 polling units in Akwa Ibom State.
Though the groups in a statement signed by their leaders, Otoabasi Asuquo and Engr Otoabasi Ntiah claimed their decision to support YPP’s guber candidate was based on his competence, character, compassion and capacity, it is obvious that they were doing it out of vendetta against the governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, the leader of PDP in the state who has been accused of denying Mr Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate of his victory at the February 25 presidential election.
The movement also claimed that since Senator Akpan of YPP supported their principal, Mr Obi during the presidential election and delivered his local government for Obi, that they would reciprocate his kind gesture by mobilising Obi/Datti structures in all the polling units for him.
“YPP deserves all the support from the Obidient movement in Akwa Ibom state because they showed us so much love by standing with the Obidient Mobilizers to deliver our principal Mr Peter Obi in the 4,354 polling units in Akwa Ibom state. In life, one good turn deserves another! Even when our people voted for Peter Obi, the PDP manipulated the results to ensure that Obi, our own in-law, lost in Akwa Ibom,” the statement issued by the Obidients read in parts.
However, Reverend Richard Peters, the Special Adviser to governor Udom Emmanuel on Media and diehard defender of the PDP governorship candidate, Pastor Umo Eno in an interview said the YPP’s guber candidate was “just looking for survival. He wants to come under the umbrella of Obidients to bury his dubious character”.
He said the Obidients, known to be defenders of uprightness and honesty, would not desecrate their ideology by rallying round a man who according to him has been convicted of a crime by a court of competent jurisdiction.
According to him, “The ideology behind the Obi/Datti movement was borne out of passion to lead, so if the Obidients are aligning with a criminal, that means the aim of the movement has been defeated.
“It is very unfortunate that one man who has shown a high level of dishonesty in public office would be endorsed by groups who were seen as impeccable, it is sad and disastrous.”
He said that the PDP was not threatened by the endorsement, adding: “we are gathering support and I’m confident that PDP will win by landslide. Every political party has its way of campaigns, PDP is going back to the grassroots.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Akwa Ibom state, Dr Harry Udoh said the Obidients have the right to support whoever they want in the March 11 polls.
He said the Obidients and other people in the State can vent their anger over the outcome of the Presidential election in the state by using their thumbs against anyone or party that stole their mandate.
“A lot of results we have seen from Akwa Ibom state showed that HE Peter Obi won overwhelmingly in the state. We saw videos showing how the ruling party  changed the results. Some of us had the opportunity to discuss  with some of the adhoc staff, they  attested to that, that the ruling party  upturned the result, so for me it’s ok for the Obidients’ to take their supports to wherever they want, you cannot steal peoples’ votes and come and do anything of benefit to them.
“The voters have the power and the power is in their thumbs and they have the right to put it wherever they want and that is why I’m calling on the INEC to ensure that there will not be a repeat of February 25. People will show their anger with their thumbs on March 11,” he said.

 

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